4 CIO Leadership Tips to Propel Your Brand in the Executive Job Market

In 2016, Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, spoke at the SIM Boston Technology Leadership Summit to a group of CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives. In case you didn’t know, Mr. Travis also served in leadership roles at Papa John’s, Burger King, and Blockbuster. Interestingly, his 4 CIO tips had nothing to do with technology directly. They all focused on leadership, and leadership tends to be the area that most CIOs, CTOs, and technology executives avoid when writing a resume or LinkedIn profile. So let’s take a look at the CIO tips, and then we’ll discuss how important each one is for the resume or candidate profile.

Invest in People
Recruiting, building, and retaining an elite team in IT is a constant challenge in today’s market. Most companies struggle to develop and retain their best people. Investing in training is important. Once you’ve identified the best people, it is cheaper to reward them financially than it is to replace them.

For the Resume: This is definitely important, as talent combined with good execution is really powerful in business. So what have you done from an organizational leadership perspective to win the day with the building and growth of your technical teams? Have you been able to get these people you’ve developed to stay and grow with you?

Effective Communication
An open and continual dialog with your team is critical. Travis cites his use of technology to stay in touch with his employees and leadership team; however, he also mentions that in-person discussions over coffee work well whenever possible.

For the Resume: Everyone knows that good communication skills are important. The problem is, if you just say “good communicator” or “excellent communication skills” on the resume, it comes across as trite. You’ll get a ho-hum response. What is an example of a communication program you’ve put into place or a business outcome that stemmed from excellent communications in your line of business?

You’ve got to overcome the dull, unexciting reputation that many IT leaders get pegged with. Sorry, but that’s the perception. Some of it has to do with the dominant personality trait that attracts people to technology to begin with: they prefer interfacing with the technology or solution more than with people. I get it, you can fix a broken gadget, enhance code, and come up with a more elegant solution to a problem…but when it comes to people, you can’t fix stupid, right?

For the Resume: As a technology leader, what have you done to inspire teams? Have you been able to steer the team in a common direction with a positive energy to deliver a solution?

Culture is the biggest buzzword of all these days, especially in technology organizations. Culture goes well beyond inspiration, which is great to get things kick-started. A culture is built over time and is something that requires continual maintenance. More importantly, culture is not something that can be faked.

For the Resume: Cultivating a vibrant culture is a huge deal! Technical deliverables are great too; however, I would contend that the IT organization that puts these four things together (Investment in People, Communications, Inspiration, and Culture) will deliver timely, high-quality, and innovative solutions.

A winning presentation today for a CIO, CTO, or IT executive must delve into what I call the “intangibles” like business and leadership skills, personal strengths, and management philosophy. That’s why providing a traditional resume with facts and figures is only a part of the picture, not the whole. Get out of that paradigm and discover what you can do to highlight your abilities to invest in and inspire people, communicate effectively, and build a winning culture. Think about it…don’t you want to be part of an organization that recruits you because they value these things highly as well?

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!