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Expert-Driven Chief Financial Officer Resume Example & Guide

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Volen Vulkov Avatar
Volen Vulkov
8 minute read
Updated on 2021-03-10

You’re finally ready to apply for the CFO position you always dreamed of. Because you know you have the right experience and skills to overcome any obstacle.

Your expertise with equity and debt financing can help a company determine its value and gain access to more cash with less debt.

You provide stakeholders with a clear view of the company's financial health with your statement analysis skills. Which ensures that well-informed growth and investment decisions will be made.

You also assist in company growth with the recruitment, training, and supervision of new employees until they’re fully independent.

All things considered:

Your worth should be clear — but unfortunately, it's not!

You're stuck in a pool of hundreds of CFOs claiming to be as qualified as you are and giving the same promises as you.

That's not the best position to be in!

If you got an opportunity to talk to recruiters and tell them about your wide financial expertise, they’d hire you in a drop of a hat.

But that rarely ever happens…

In the real world, you’ll submit dozens of job applications to businesses including your dream company. Then you sit back and hope for a miracle to happen.

What if we told you there's a better way to prove your value?

Spoiler alert:

It's not through a one-hour-long interview.

The key to your puzzle is a stellar CFO resume that portrays your expertise and shows the great impact you’ve made throughout your career. That will put you ahead of other candidates and show headhunters why hiring you is the best decision they’ll ever make.

How do you write such a resume?

That’s exactly what you’re going to learn today.

If you already have a traditional CFO resume, there are lots of tweaks you can make to improve its success rate.

So keep reading...

This chief financial officer resume guide will teach you:

  • Best format and resume layout to structure a chief financial officer resume
  • How to draw attention to your relevant finance qualifications and expertise
  • Expert-driven tips to making an outstanding experience section that summarizes your vast knowledge
  • Most sought-after soft and hard skills to wow recruiters and prove your fitness for the job

Looking for Related Resumes?

CFO Resume Example

How to write a CFO resume that gets noticed

The resume format you choose needs to be professional to appeal to hiring managers. But it must also be attractive to get noticed and let essential details stand out.

We find that the reverse chronological format is the best fit for finance leadership roles.

Also, you should stick to a modern, HR-approved layout that encompasses your expertise and keeps recruiters glued to your resume.

Now…

There are two questions you need to answer before making a chief financial officer resume.

The “What” and the “How”.

Whenever you read a job offer for a CFO position, you’ll notice one thing:

The hiring company already has a vision of what they’re looking for.

They want a CFO with a certain level of experience — who can do X, Y, and Z. They need a specific skill set, an educational degree, and some finance certifications.

That’s the “What”.

What is the hiring company looking for?

Think of this as the first part of your job hunt journey. If you miss the road from the start, you’ll waste months on irrelevant job offers and never get hired.

In fact...

What most CFOs applying for the position fail to do is match exactly what the job opening asks them for. That’s why they find it hard to summarize their finance executive experience.

Now:

Many applicants know exactly what a company looks for in a CFO. And they have all the qualities necessary to excel at any organization.

Yet, they’re never selected for the job. Even worse, their resumes never get read, and it's all due to the way they were written.

That’s the “How”.

How do you write a CFO resume that sells your expertise and proves your fitness for the position?

So before we start, let's make a deal:

You’ll answer the "What" for yourself.

Read the job application cautiously to identify the hiring needs and requirements. Then find the overlap between that and your relevant work history..

After that...

We’ll teach you how to answer the "How" in this guide.

You'll learn the best ways to write and organize your sections into a one-page resume. You’ll also understand how to sum up your vast knowledge in a that conveys your best financial talents and expertise.

Recommended resume sections for a CFO resume

  • Header
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Certificates
>

What recruiters look for in a chief financial officer resume

  • High-potential leadership to supervise and evaluate others work and coach staff to ensure error-free operations
  • Experience in building and maintaining strong relationships both internally and with external partners or stakeholders
  • Ability to manage processes for financial forecasting and budget planning
  • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, business, economics, or other related fields
  • Technical finance skills including, GAAP, QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel, and data management
>

How to write an eye-catching header for your CFO resume

The header section is a small introduction about who you are that sits at the top of the page.

It provides recruiters with the following details:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Phone number
  • Location
  • Email address
  • LinkedIn profile

It may not be as important as other key sections. Yet, the header is the go-to section for recruiters once they decide to call you for an interview.

That’s why it shouldn’t be neglected.

Let’s look at an example of a CFO resume header:

Joe Morton
Chief Financial Officer

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

Indianapolis, Indiana, 46268
WRONG

At first glance, the example might seem okay. But if you take a few more seconds to scrutinize it, you'll spot some mistakes.

Here’s how to make your CFO resume header perfect:

Create a professional email address for your applications.

Not only will that make you more organized in your job hunt, but it also adds a dash of seriousness that makes you look more qualified.

Stick to popular email providers such as Gmail or Outlook. And use these professional formats to create your username:

  • first.last@gmail.com
  • last.first@gmail.com
  • firstlast@gmail.com
  • f.last@gmail.com
  • first.l@gmail.com

Next:

Add a link to your well-optimized LinkedIn profile.

Giving recruiters the chance to learn more about you is always a plus to your resume. They'll get the chance to view your application from a different angle and get answers to all the questions inside their minds.

But be careful...

More can sometimes bring less value if your LinkedIn profile is incomplete. So before you include a link, make sure you’ve fully optimized your profile.

Finally:

Don’t include your full home address.

From a privacy standpoint, you shouldn’t include your exact location just to be safe.

However, that’s not the only reason your full address is unnecessary.

Most job applications today are posted online, and the whole exchange between company and applicant happens via email. So, there is no need for a zip code and street address.

Joe Morton
Chief Financial Officer

+359 88 888 8888

help@enhancv.com

linkedin.com/joe-morton

Indianapolis, IN
RIGHT

The Right Way to Feature Your CFO Experience on a Resume

Job experience is the most tricky part of any chief financial officer resume. There are too many rules to keep in mind, and not playing by them could cost you endless career opportunities.

For example:

You may feature only basic finance duties that anyone can do, which makes your resume dull and uninteresting.

On the other hand, you could showcase too many relevant achievements and career wins. That will scare recruiters away because you'll look overqualified for the position.

So…

Writing a job-winning experience section is all about finding that balance in qualifications.

Here's another mistake we often see in CFO resumes:

Saying "I can manage budgets and financial plans" won't get you noticed because anyone can promise the same thing. What differentiates you from the pack is showing your worth through actual data.

For instance:

You need to demonstrate how you successfully managed budgets and financial forecasting processes in your past jobs. Then, you must quantify that with precise metrics to solidify your claims.

Beyond that...

Leadership is one of the most sought-after qualities in CFOs due to the nature of the role. Yet, most financial directors struggle with proving their leadership abilities.

The thing is:

"Leadership skills" has become a buzzword that many hiring managers hate. It says nothing about the candidate and makes everyone look the same.

Want a quick alternative to stick out from the rest?

Show. Don't tell.

You’re expected to guide others when they’re lost in the job. You need to hire and train new finance staff regularly. And you must make high-level financial decisions and ensure their proper application.

Show recruiters how you managed to accomplish these duties within context. Include your finance-related soft and technical skills to further prove your point.

Let’s look at some CFO resume examples to help you better understand:

Experience
Vice President of FinanceDealChair
04/2014 - 02/2021
Indianapolis, IN
A market leading e-commerce retailer of high-quality office equipment and furniture
Established new finance operational strategies and critical measurements
Responsible for recruiting and training new staff
Helped with financial performance monitoring by measuring and analyzing results
WRONG

As you may have noticed:

The previous example lacks proof of concept because it doesn’t highlight any actual accomplishments. There is nothing that inspires hiring managers to remember your name or learn more about you.

You need to quantify your achievements with tangible metrics that will bolster your claims.

Next:

Using weak language such as “Responsible for” or “Helped with” shows no direct causality. You must instead write in a powerful language with action verbs to demonstrate your impact.

Most importantly:

A great way to manifest your leadership potential is by including skills in your duties.

Can you present complex financial reports during meetings? Do you have strong strategic planning talents? Are you experienced in using QuickBooks to manage finances?

Emphasize that in this section to increase relevance and make your resume richer.

Experience
Vice President of FinanceCapitalDeal
04/2014 - 02/2021
Indianapolis, IN
A market leading e-commerce retailer of high-quality office equipment and furniture
Implemented a new accounting system and developed action plans that improved efficiency and reduced auditing errors by 80%
Conducted data analytics to assess organizational performance against financial objectives and recommended improvements based on results
Improved working capital ratio by 45% in 6 months by boosting cash flow and negotiating past due accounts payable with vendors
RIGHT

Most important skills for a Chief Financial Officer resume

The skills section is going to help you reflect your true potential even further and influence headhunters.

There are two types of skills recruiters look for when hiring a CFO.

Soft skills and technical skills.

Soft skills are non-technical talents specific to your character and personality traits. They include interaction skills that can help you advance in the position such as communication, decision-making, negotiation, etc.

On the contrary:

Technical skills, also called hard skills, are non-transferable qualities that are specific to finance leadership. Their presence is crucial to outperforming everyone as a CFO, yet they can't be leveraged in other job positions.

Your abilities should be a mixture of soft and hard skills that when interweaved together, will leave a stunning impression on recruiters.

Now... Here’s the problem with CFO resume skills:

It’s always the same five to ten skills featured by every candidate from the stack.

That gives recruiters the impression that all applicants have the same skill set and work experience, which makes you look a lot less interesting. Even worse, you might come off as lazy since the headhunter already knows you've copy-pasted those skills from the internet.

So although this is not the place to be creative in your resume, the skills you pick must be unique.

Be careful:

You don't want to look over-qualified by featuring lots of talents. Only include the best skills you have and avoid making it too long by keeping your list between 5-10 skills.

11 most in-demand soft skills for a CFO resume

  • Leadership
  • Analytical skills
  • Teamwork
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Active listening
  • Flexibility
  • Decision making
  • Negotiation
  • Empathy
>

10 best technical skills to feature in your chief financial resume

  • Financial reporting
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Cash management
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Strategic planning
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Finance and accounting software: QuickBooks, NetSuite, Xero, Sage X3
>

Key Takeaways: Writing a Chief Financial Officer Resume

  • Read the job offer carefully to understand the hiring company’s pain points. Then use your resume to address those challenges and promote yourself as the ultimate solution
  • Structure your resume into separate sections with a chronological format to inspire headhunters to keep reading
  • Showcase your biggest career achievements and best skills to outshine your competition. But always avoid looking overqualified to make your application more appealing
  • Feature a mixture of job-specific soft/hard skills and keep them unique to stand out from the crowd

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