Network Like A CFO

Survey: Financial Executives Favor Email for Professional Networking; Preference for Social Media Tumbles

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 15, 2015 -- When it comes to business networking, email is the communication channel of choice for busy finance executives. Half (50 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed recently said they opt for email correspondence to keep in touch with professional colleagues. Social media was a distant third place, after attending industry and group events.

The Robert Half Management Resources research shows evolving preferences for CFOs. In a similar survey three years ago, online networking was executives' top choice. As to what they hope to achieve through their outreach, respondents most commonly cited keeping up with industry trends, which ranked second in 2012.

CFOs were asked, "How do you prefer to network professionally?" Their responses:

 

2015

2012

Email correspondence

50%

22%

Attend professional events, meetings, conferences

25%

25%

Network online (social media)

18%

45%

None/don't network

7%

7%

Other/don't know

0%

1%

 

100%

100%

CFOs were also asked, "What is the primary purpose of your professional networking activities?" Their responses*:

 

2015

2012

Keep up with industry news and developments

46%

20%

Grow business

37%

60%

Recruit new talent

11%

7%

Find a new job

5%

10%

Other/don't know

0%

3%

 

99%

100%

*Responses may not total 100 percent due to rounding.

"Email allows busy executives to easily stay in touch with contacts and quickly receive feedback on a question or business request," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.

As convenient as email can be, McDonald advises professionals to avoid becoming too reliant on it. "Exchanging ideas over lunch or attending a conference with others in your industry is a more personal way to develop a rapport with colleagues. Social media offers a vehicle for quickly widening one's reach and gaining exposure to a broader range of news and insights."

Robert Half Management Resources highlights five professional networking tips for senior-level professionals to broaden their connections and visibility:

  1. Build a presence at industry events. Delivering a presentation or facilitating a workshop at a national or chapter meeting will introduce you to peers and other contacts. In addition, you'll establish yourself as a thought leader.
  2. Mentor others. By sharing the wisdom you've gained throughout your career, you can shape future leaders and gain the personal satisfaction that comes with helping them advance their careers.
  3. Volunteer with philanthropic and local organizations. While making a difference in the lives of others, you can also expand your network and gain insights into diverse perspectives by interacting with people from different backgrounds and fields.
  4. Serve in a leadership position outside the company. Taking on roles in business and community groups enables you to showcase your leadership skills in a different capacity. You'll also meet people with whom you can exchange business ideas.
  5. Engage with your alma mater. You will help prepare the next generation of professionals, while enhancing your firm's connections with professors and the school. Your contributions could build student affinity for your company as well.

About the Survey
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to business leaders and consultants at roberthalf.com/management-resources and on its blog at roberthalf.com/management-resources/blog.


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