Treasury Career Development (Treasury Webinars)
Register here for The Treasury Professional Development Virtual Forum on March 17, 2022.
Craig Jeffery, Strategic Treasurer
Ernie Humphrey, Treasury Webinars
Episode Transcription - Episode 180: Treasury Career Development
Welcome to The Treasury Update Podcast presented by Strategic Treasurer, your source for interesting treasury news, analysis, and insights in your car at the gym, or wherever you decide to tune in. On this episode of the podcast host Craig Jeffery catches up with Ernie Humphrey, CEO of Treasury Webinars on the importance of career development and brand management. They discussed the foundation of a successful job search, how to merge and build a personal and professional brand in today’s virtual environment, and how to create winning relationships in a changing world to make a positive impact. Listen into this lively conversation to find out more.
Craig Jeffery 1:03
Welcome to The Treasury Update podcast, Ernie, it’s good to have you on again.
Ernie Humphrey 1:08
Oh, Craig, it’s always it’s always a pleasure and I’m excited about our topic today.
Craig Jeffery 1:12
You know, this idea of not only career development, but personal brand is particularly interesting to me to find out, What are some of your thoughts on you have given a significant event plan and I want to get into that but I in terms of career development and brand management how do you describe to people how this matters, how it’s important to them, and I guess I always think of the content you know, the context of when people are looking for a job all of a sudden networking is important. Is this the same type of thing with career development, brand management, maybe you could start off there?
Ernie Humphrey 1:52
I think that something is not really spoken enough about is that the foundation of a successful job search is your professional brand. And it’s not something that you can develop on the fly. And so, I don’t think people talk enough about that. I also believe that your professional brand is more important now that we live in more of a virtual world. And now especially since we’re all in the midst of whatever they call the great job resignation or whatever they call it, migration, whatever everyone’s leaving. I think it’s also bad and then now people feel more comfortable that they can just leave their job and go out in the world, but you have to be ready for that and your professional brand is really about who you are. So, it’s about marrying your professional brand with your personal brand and being who you are at all times. And then you start to communicate the value that you offer without thinking about it.
Craig Jeffery 2:47
This merger of your personal brand and your professional brand. What’s your professional brand? How would you describe that part?
Ernie Humphrey 2:53
I would say there’s foundations I guess I should I guess people kind of marry a little bit more than normal. And we are professional brand with your virtual brand. So, let’s start, you know at the virtual brand. And so, the foundation of anyone’s virtual brand in today’s world, in business is going to be your LinkedIn profile. And that’s going to be that in your resume. And so how you communicate and those things that’s the foundations of that brand and also your brand is also communicated and really developed and nurtured through your network. And so, your professional network is a part of that brand as well. And then people have my I would call it not an invisible brand but you have a brand with everyone that you associate with whether you realize it or not your professional brand is being received by those who work with, those you work for, and with your colleagues and also in social situations when the time is right your brand is there but I think a lot of times people don’t have the courage they don’t really understand that valuable skills they have from their personal life and bringing into their professional life. And so, when people are looking for jobs right now, a lot of what people are looking for, especially in the upper management jobs, is the ability to collaborate, communicate, resolve issues and manage projects. Well, a lot of people are very successful in that they don’t realize it in their personal lives, right? They have kids, they manage sports teams, they coach, and so I think people are finally starting to realize the value in bringing those skills together and not having a wall between who I am as a person and who I am as a as a professional person. I call that the business switch. I don’t have one and some people do but I think marrying what you do best and what you’re all about, bringing in your professional life is where people can really take control of their careers.
Craig Jeffery 4:42
If part of your professional brand or your virtual brand is your LinkedIn profile, I know that’s where recruiters look and they search, you know, experience, expertise. The resume shows the history where you’ve moved and what’s gone on. Is there something more to it than that about your professional brand, I mean you talked about other people’s reaction to it, but anything else on the digital side?
Ernie Humphrey 5:10
Yeah, I mean, on the digital side, and the I think there’s a little bit too much. But there are classes and masterclasses and full courses on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t need to be that complicated, but there are ways to stand out. And so, there’s so much functionality there. You can communicate how you do it, as well as what you’ve done, and that’s really what people are looking for. So, there are areas in your profile that you can stand out, you can be searched. One of the things on my profile or I put right up at the top is I think it’s about you or something and I pulled up a recommendation that someone really got me in like three sentences and I couldn’t have paid in one a million dollars to do that. So, I often get the comment of, “Wow, that’s incredible”. The basic part of that was that became very professional and somewhat intelligent. But I also bring the humor in caring that people normally don’t find with their partners, and that’s exactly who I am. And so, which is what the cat’s meow is when you look at your LinkedIn profile when you look at your resume that reflects what we like to call your professional value proposition. And that’s kind of what you call your elevator pitch. And you can do that in five minutes. When people make that complicated, but having that thought, in your mind is like what is it about me that makes people want to work with me beyond what I’ve done, but how I do it and how I make other people around me better.
Craig Jeffery 6:36
That’s interesting, because more than just here are my accomplishments. But how I work I guess there’s a there’s a component on LinkedIn and then this other perspective that you’re talking about your colleagues, your other people you work with, that you collaborate with. How do you develop your brand with them? How does that work in your mind?
Ernie Humphrey 6:58
These things are kind of interrelated. So, you think about your professional network, and I coach it like this, who do I want to be connected with? Who do I need to be connected with? So, it’s more, who do I need to be connected with and how do I make those connections happen? And then, how do I communicate my brand and my value to those people? So, how do I build relationships with those people to communicate my brand? So, I put it in a couple different buckets. One is at work, who do I want to know? Who do I need to know? And then you say, okay, who do I already know? Or who do I know that can get me connected to that person? And then how do I build an actual relationship with that person? How do I communicate that I’m interested with them what they’re doing? How do I you know, ask them questions, understand how I can be valuable to them and how they can be valuable to me. And that can start in let’s say you’re in treasury within treasury. And then beyond treasury, right? If you want to build relationships in marketing, I have always have some ideas for how you build those relationships with your marketing folks. Learn what their language is, understand what their challenges are, and they maybe you just take someone out for lunch, maybe you want to connect with someone that might be a little introverted. Well, maybe you know, someone that is that person’s go to person who is not introverted. So, you ask them, how do I make a connection with John, understand kind of what John’s all about? You can do that with sales. You can also help people connect the dots. One of the things that I tell people, which I used to do is I would say, what is your what are your biggest challenges at work? What are the things that really annoy you? You know, I’m kind of halfway entertaining. So, I kind of draw that out to people. And then I will h, these guys don’t have the right data. Oh, well, that’s interesting–neither do we”. You know, I wonder how I can, you know, how I can help. It’s also just about paying attention. We’ve gotten away from where we all used to go play softball, right and go play volleyball and golf outings. But doing things like that, kind of can help you make a personal connection with someone or maybe your son’s a runner, my son’s a runner, they play football, they run track, but you kind of take those natural connections. And what you’re trying to do is kind of earn someone’s trust and they’ll come and kind of organically collaborate with you. So, that’s work and then beyond work, things like being in professional associations, being active on LinkedIn, speaking on podcast, right, you’re building your professional brand with your peers in that nature. And then you also need to build your brand and I wasn’t good at this younger, build your brand, with your banks and your FinTech providers. And so really try and be a good customer to them. And you can get recommendations on your LinkedIn profile. I have a few from my supplier, so show people that oh, it’s not that bad to work with me. So, you know, there’s, there’s all these dimensions to it. And I tell kids at Purdue, I gave a presentation to them and then we’re about bringing personal brand and the kid escaped was on his phone and I got on him right in front of everyone. I said, you know, put your phone down. I said first of all, you’re making a bad impression on me. I’m not that important, but I know a lot of people. Second of all, everyone around you in class there. They don’t you know; they’re probably think you’re not paying attention and those things matter. Right. So, kind of realizing that your professional brand is on stage. To me, you know your brand is working in some way like my brand and working for me when I’m getting like job offers that I never asked for. “I want to work with you”. These are brave people that want to work with me, but that’s when you really know that you’re investing enough time in developing your brand.
Craig Jeffery 10:41
So, is this investing in the brand? I think the answer is it’s more than just about getting another job or additional work, but maybe you could describe what else are you trying to do with that, take us take us from that point. So, someone who’s like hey, I’m already happy with my existing job. I don’t want to do this. I’m disregarding this conversation. Help us think through that.
Ernie Humphrey 11:06
I mean people are busy. You’re disregarding the conversation. You’re happy in your job though. The easiest thing to say to someone is well, just look at life has thrown at us right, look at COVID. Especially people that are kind of upper management, they get more comfortable but those are the people that are probably most at risk. It’s called you’re a fixed cost. And so, you know, you can get comfortable in that. Also, the world is changing. To be successful in any job the expectations are changing. Let’s just say you’re a CFO, you’re expected to be able to help everyone impact performance across the enterprise. It’s not just a job title, the technology you have to understand the whole technology strategy. And so, the world is changing around you. And so, part of your professional brand is developing your skills and knowing what you need to know but also being able to work with people that know what you need to know, right? So, I think that landscape is changing, but also if you do it, right it’s like a 401k like you said you’re investing in it, it becomes organic. So, let’s just say my brand grows without me doing anything so people reach out to me on LinkedIn, people reach out to ask me to speak, people reach out to ask me to connect with people and it also helps you feel like you’re making a difference as well. Hopefully that makes people feel good. So, you know, you get you get that thing of oh, I can see you’re not formally being a mentor or mentee but you’re doing that. You’re doing that by your actions. And so, what are the consequences if you don’t do it? You’re going to get fired. You’re going to retire if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine. But also, it opens a lot of different doors and allows you to kick down doors. So, what do you want to do when you retire me? I always have a side gig. This is your main gig everyone should have a side gig in their back or two side gigs or three side gigs. Having a good brand allows you to pursue those and allows opportunities to come along and allows you to let you embrace your journey because you don’t control your journey in your career or anything else. And so, take opportunities when they come, and you’ll get more often then you’ll be ready. I call it it’s like unemployment risk management. What’s going to happen when you become unemployed? Are you ready for that? People that have lost a job if you have done nothing, it’s not the end of the world, but you’re a little bit behind? Right? And so, you never know who’s going to help you. What’s going to come up like we spoke earlier I said the people that have been most valuable to me and helping me transition to wherever I am now, have been people I didn’t expect to reach out to me kind of pull me up along the strings and so that it’s not like get to think about all these becomes your comes your human nature. Like I just see oh, I might want to work with someone so they might not always like it but I’m always throwing I’m always trying and trying and trying and eventually they know that I care and then they reach back out to me and then that’s how the relationships really gained some momentum oftentimes.
Craig Jeffery 13:59
Unemployment risk management, I like that and may come back to that and some time elements, but I also wanted to talk about an event you’ve got a looks like a full day event. I think I’m registered for it already. We’ll share the link in the show notes so people can go to it. Tell us what this is, not a marketing pitch of course, and I know that’s not we’re going to talk about, but what what’s going to be covered there and why should people invest in their career and brand development and come to this event?
Ernie Humphrey 14:32
This is one of the big things for me and lot of people I’ve talked to, is a lot of the things we’re going to talk about are things that I wish I would have had more guidance on at any stage of my career. So, let’s just say we’re going to talk about what’s an impactful resume, especially if you’re in a job a long time and you’re a VP, you don’t know what that is you hate, I hate my resume. I still hate it, but I have to do it. And so, the things we’re going to talk about, kind of how we landed here, was during COVID I started thinking for myself I do all these webinars, I do content, I speak but am I really helping people in their career success, right? And I want to help people at every stage of their career, whether you’re a treasury specialist or analyst or whatever that is. How do you take control of your career? And there’s not enough resources out there for this particular space. And so, controlling your career is more about, “I’m a Treasurer”. So, what? What are you doing who do you know how are you becoming? How do you lead? And part of that is through your professional brand. So, what I did was I took a lot of sessions from my virtual forum, and I’ve been working with a colleague overseas. He has a recruiting company and I used to manage some recruiting in a professional association I managed the job site, but I wouldn’t do is make an impact on somebody’s career. And so, it’s more than just here’s a webinar on Cash Forecasting. Well, that’s not enough. So, I felt like I could do more in and then as I got to work with my partner, Mike Richards, I got to work with him. I got to see how much more there was and how much more I didn’t know, and how much more I thought was valuable. So, we’ll talk about one of the things is besides resume we’ll talk about how to do a virtual interview. A lot of people had to learn that the hard way. I basically it’s a lot of things are just the toolkit that people should have, right? And we’ll talk about LinkedIn profiles, and then again, I keep saying over and over which was fantastic to me soft skills are more important, right? Often you go to treasury and finance conference and get a session on that. I’m not talking about a session by some person that wrote this great book. I’m talking about someone that is a treasury person, is a finance person that’s going to tell you exactly you know how do I talk to my CFO? How do I talk to my manager? How do I talk to CEOs, how do I talk to finance? How do I do that? How do I make connections on LinkedIn? Show me a message, it’s more about how we do things right, rather than how the greatest people that doing it, they have done it. It’s like, how do I do it? How do we motivate you and communicate the value? To me, that’s a that’s a really important thing. You ask people do you own your career and they’re probably going to say, I never thought about it. Well, you should think about it. Because I would say you deserve to own your career. And I’m not talking about job hopping and we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about some things like, “what is a dream job?”, by the way, it doesn’t exist and help you kind of, you know, think through logically. So, I’m not telling people to quit their jobs. I’m like, you should think about oh, I’m thinking about I want to do something different. How do you prepare yourself to do that? How do you prepare yourself to talk to your boss if you want to do something different? How do you? How do you? How do you convince, if it’s not already done your boss, to your professional development matters? How do you manage your team? You should be invested in everyone’s professional development on your team. Why should you do that? So, that’s a long-winded answer, but it’s kind of a lot of things that I think people would like to know more about that they just don’t see it in other conferences. And if they do it something where they have to reach like if their treasure, they have a hard time reaching out to a different area because they’re uncomfortable. So, we’re putting it in a place, it’s easy. It’s a flow. So, one of the things I like is the content has a flow to it. Not do you have to stay all day, but it starts with oh, okay, first, what’s the foundations of my professional brand resume and then we work through it. And then we have a longer session that says, “Okay, how do I how do I build, manage and leverage my brand?” Right? So, it takes people step by step, and it helps people not be overwhelmed. So, that’s another thing. So, I see this every day. I’m so tired of this, like did it take so long and then all the and I’m good at keeping it simple. So, these things are really like simple things. And I’m also about helping people do what they want to do and finding a free resource to do it. And that’s kind of the other benchmark there that you can find these things. If you want to, that’s fine. You can pay 10, 20 grand for someone to write your resume but a lot of these things I don’t think are necessary and it makes me feel bad that I don’t want to put people out of jobs, but I also want people to realize that let’s make educated decisions on where we’re spending our money.
Craig Jeffery 19:21
You know, Ernie, some of your descriptions here and explanation, outline some of the concepts about taking ownership, figuring out what you need to do. From a, I don’t want to call it practical, but I mean, what does this look like from a time perspective? Should people, I know it can vary, but is this something you should factor in to do monthly, bimonthly, at least quarterly? To be intentional about this? What’s a general rule of thumb for let’s say, for a mid-level or a lower level, treasury executive?
Ernie Humphrey 19:56
It depends on how they work, right? Some people are regimented, they need to schedule things. So, you know, it depends. It’s all about how you work, right? So sometimes, you know, you’re not going to be someone that writes something down. It’s all about the self …. is about keeping it in your head, right? So, if you’re not like the write things, I need to check on what’s going on on LinkedIn and then that kind of spurns you right? Hey, look at that guy’s profile. That’s kind of neat. Well, I can I borrow that? You know, why am I doing that? At the end of the day? I think the foundation is for someone to take a minute to couple minutes to look in the mirror and say, you know, take stock, right? So, I always tell people, you look at these areas, you can break them down. Okay, my resume, where am I at? Where do I want to be? And then how do I get there? Right? Oh, my professional brand. Okay, maybe that’s too much of a chunk. What about at work? And then some people need to break it down a little actions. Maybe I want to add so many connections a week. Maybe I want to, you know, do these little things and compartmentalize it. So, I would say, it’s more of an individual thing, but I think it’s having a self-awareness that you need to do it. Be willing to look in the mirror and be willing to say that, you know, I’m not quite as bulletproof as I think I am. And my job and then especially over the holidays when people have more time to think about things you start thinking about, what would I do if I really could do whatever I wanted. And then you have to start to think well, why am I not doing that? Or can I make my job more enjoyable somehow? What if I reach out more, what if my colleagues what if we have more fun? What if we do this? And then you start to think about oh, okay, maybe if I reached out to people, we had lunch I understood what they did. You know, I’m just trying to make the world a better place you know that?
Craig Jeffery 21:45
I do. What if we had more fun? I love that question, but part of that too is you know, you talked about you know, controlling your own career, or taking ownership of it. And you also mentioned helping others. So, what might be a way that you help others in your company, peers, people that report to you, etc. To help them with their brand, their professional development.
Ernie Humphrey 22:14
Let’s talk about maybe you’re the treasury manager, right and you have your team and maybe someone asked you do you promote professional development your team and you say yes, because you’re supposed to, but do you really like what you do? So, one of the this was a CFO I had an interview with a while ago she told me she looks at all of her people’s LinkedIn profiles and they have to review it with her. So, you can communicate the importance of your professional brand. The leaders should be able to help their people promote their brands, right? There can be in there can actually be some sort of fun program. Oh, we’re going to have professional development lunch today. Okay, we’re going to talk about how do we work with marketing. It’s just a joke, you know, hey, hey, Joey in sales, he’s a little bit of a tough cookie. How do we who’s going to you know, who’s going to talk to Joe, and we need to build that relationship with sales. So, these are conduit with sales. With your professional peers I went outside of work, but let’s say you speak on a podcast, you speak on something and another treasurer, a person will reach out to you and say, “Hey, that was pretty interesting”. And then you say, “Well, we’re doing the same thing”. And so, being able to put yourself out there that you have knowledge and you’re willing to share knowledge, but almost as importantly, is communicating that there are things you don’t know and that you’d like to learn about them. And sometimes people feel comfortable, and then you can pay attention to not be stalkery, but what are other people doing on there? You can if they’re not communicate where they, maybe they’ll share on LinkedIn, maybe they’ll share at the watercooler. And so, it’s kind of a natural but start part of its conversational maybe it’s that say AP and air doesn’t report it the treasury, your treasurer say, “Hey, I saw this webinar on automation. It was kind of interesting. I really don’t know enough about what we’re doing, you guys, we do in that”. You know, those opportunities become natural.
Craig Jeffery 24:02
Yeah, Ernie, I guess we’ve talked through career development. We talked through you know, owning your own brand, soft skills and the event that you have, and that’s in the show notes. I encourage people to attend. Any final thoughts on this topic? For our audience?
Ernie Humphrey 24:18
Yeah, I think one thing that if I was listening, I would be thinking okay, would be great. But one of the one of the things that we didn’t mention we talked about is okay, one of the things we need to talk about is skills, right? What are the treasury skills that I need? How do I know what those are? Right? How do I develop those? And then what are the things that we’ll talk about is there are a few tools out there, there’s one of the one tool that my friend of mine about it, it’s called the treasury skills wheel. And so we’ll actually talk through that, we’ll look at research, we’ll teach people how to ask your boss. So, I did this a long time ago, I said, “What skills does the company need?” How can I develop those, how can I add value so it’s about conversation, but there will be things, you know, tactical things like your skills and things like that, that we’ll cover. And so, we will definitely cover on base but the other part of it is, this is an ongoing thing, not only for me of Treasury Webinars, my partner of Treasury Recruitment company, we’re gonna work to push. I saw a great analogy about your company can take the existing pie and try and own as much as possible or you can expand the pie and work with others. And so that’s really what I’m trying to do in my career a lot more is I want to make the pie bigger for everyone. And we can all kind of push in the same direction. I want to get more people that serve the treasury profession to push a little bit more on the professional development front. And I think that offers us all value, and that’s a niche where I think there’s a need and that’s where I know I can make a difference.
Craig Jeffery 25:51
I’m glad you’re talking about professional development and personal brand. I’m also glad you’re talking about pie, given where we are in the kind of season. Well, Ernie, thank you so much for your comments on this topic. Appreciate it.
Ernie Humphrey 26:06
Always a pleasure. Happy holidays, everyone.
Craig Jeffery 26:11
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The need for continuous learning remains critically important for treasury and finance leaders today. Host Craig Jeffery interviews Ernie Humphrey of Treasury Webinars on how virtual learning and networking is shifting in an era of social distancing with view to COVID-19. They explore what works the same, what works better and where are the gaps.