Category: CIO

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

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

CIOIn 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?

Inspiration
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
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.

Conclusion
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 VreedeAbout 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!

CTOs and CIOs: Transitioning from Keeping the Lights On to Investing in Innovation and Disruptive Technologies

CTOs and CIOs: Transitioning from Keeping the Lights On to Investing in Innovation and Disruptive Technologies

realized-1238069When a senior technology executive (CIO, CTO, SVP of IT, Head of Development, etc.) talks to me, it’s because they are interested in making a job change or seeing what’s out there in the job market at the least. The overwhelming factor is the frustration they feel with their current company. After all, their passion is being able to leverage technologies to transform the business, revolutionize the customer experience, and deliver breakthrough capabilities that give the company a distinct competitive advantage. But many companies handcuff their CTOs and stifle innovation because they are not willing to invest or have assumed a completely risk-averse posture when it comes to technology. They’d rather do what everyone else in their field is doing and play catch-up, which reminds me of a story.

What’s Everyone Else Doing?

I have a close friend that is the head of technology for a mid-sized company providing professional services in the financial sector. He is a forward thinker and very strategic in the way he approaches technology acquisition. But he understands how the business leadership thinks, so he’s extremely pragmatic in what he recommends and presents for his technology roadmap. Even so, the rest of the executive team thwarts any attempt to be a leader with innovation. Many years ago, he delivered a detailed strategy to consolidate and virtualize their data center environment and to create a private Cloud for their business applications. No dice! But, three years later, when their buddies who were executives at competing firms talked about their plan to go to a virtual data center and put their applications in the Cloud, it was suddenly a top priority.

You’ve Heard This Story Before

Sound familiar? I thought so.

It’s time to do it right and find an organization that doesn’t just talk innovation but actually puts their money where their mouth is and invests in emerging technologies. Don’t get me wrong, running an IT operation that’s lean and stable is an admirable thing, but is that why you got into this business? To run a cost center with a shrinking budget, zero ability to contribute to the growth of the organization, and the scapegoat for most of the problems in the company?

You’ve come too far and have too much yet to give to simply sit back and just make sure that you keep the lights on in IT. There are plenty of aggressive up-and-comers at the next level down who are willing to take on these types of roles until they’ve arrived and been-there-done-that long enough to realize they’re not doing what they love either.

Protect Your Legacy

To protect what you’ve built in your career so far and to continue to fuel your passion until you retire, you deserve to discover the opportunities that are available. Despite what it seems, there are companies out there that are market leaders and willing to invest in the development or early adoption of disruptive technologies. It takes a focused effort to identify them, engage them, and present a brand image that is appealing to them.

Build Your Support Team

To be successful in this endeavor, enlisting a team of experts to collaborate with you and support you is a great approach. This includes building your brand message and articulating it effectively in your Executive Resume, LinkedIn Profile, Executive Bio, and other materials. But it’s more than that. These market leaders are going to be highly selective, so developing viable channels or inroads into these companies is vital.

 

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Servings as a Job Search Recruiting Agent, he provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (NoddlePlace) (5-15 years) tech and innovation 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. Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreedeTo see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

I can't believe it. I spent hours and hours trying to write my own resume. What you delivered is beyond my greatest expectations. I can't thank you enough!

Kevin K., Technical Sales Leader Atlanta, GA January 2, 2015

This resume is outstanding! You were able to pinpoint my key skills and present them concisely.

Peter A., IT Engineer Memphis, TN January 2, 2015

I think the resume and LinkedIn profile are perfect! I can't thank you enough for your hard work on this

Joe G., IT Data Center Director Long Island, NY January 2, 2015

3 Ways to Get Your First CIO or CTO Job

3 Ways to Get Your First CIO or CTO Job

Breaking into the CIO or CTO ranks is challenging. But people do it…the question most people have is “How?”CIO

To better understand how, it’s important to know why it is so difficult to land that first CIO or CTO position.

  1. There are a limited number of C-level opportunities (CIO, CTO, CxO)
  2. The number of candidates at the VP, Director, or Senior Manager level waiting to get their chance to head up the technology organization is at least an order of magnitude greater that the number of available roles
  3. Most larger companies expect to interview candidates who have already served as a CIO or CTO with another firm

OK, so that leaves out the possibility for jumping directly to a C-level role at a Fortune 500 company, but what about all those small and medium-sized businesses, start-ups, early-stage firms, and private companies? That certainly will be your target if you want to be successful. Now, let’s look at the 3 most common methods used to pursue one of these roles.

CIO Job Boards

There are hundreds of places to find CIO or CTO jobs posted online. These include Dice, LinkedIn, Career Builder, and Monster, as well as executive subscription sites like BlueSteps or Execunet. The paid sites offer the advantage of less competition, so there can be some value-add there. But C-level roles posted at free sites are highly competitive because of the sheer volume of people who respond…many of whom aren’t remotely qualified.

Recommendation: Join one premium site and use the public sites mostly for researching companies, their competitors, and the market in general.

Technology Recruiters

Recruiters are the be-all-end-all for senior executive roles, right? Not always. Only 4% of all positions are filled through recruiters (slightly higher for executives). Recruiters will typically not pursue candidates that aren’t already at the level for the role they are recruiting for. However, smaller companies will sometimes provide the recruiter with a desired candidate profile that includes people in the next tier down at a large corporation or working for a direct competitor.

Recommendation: Connect with recruiters, focusing on those that work with small and mid-sized companies. You can work with more than one recruiter at a time (and should). But don’t allow this to take up all of the time that you devote to the job search.

Executive Networking

You’ve heard it before…and I’ll say it again…networking is the most important thing that you can do to break into the ranks as a CIO or CTO, and it’s not even close. Industry research indicates that more than 70% of all executive positions are secured through networking. Here are the things that I hear most frequently when I tell candidates to network:

  • It’s too hard
  • It takes too much time
  • I can’t stand it
  • I’m introverted, so I’m not very good at it
  • I don’t have enough connections
  • I don’t have the right connections

Recommendation: Yes! Do it…but you’ve got to go about it the right way so that you don’t burn your network and ruin your opportunity to make a dormant network active for you.

Look, you don’t have to be a used car salesman type of person to make networking work for you. But there is a methodology that works, even for the most introverted person out there. If this is you, and you want help putting things into motion, schedule an appointment with me and we can get you on the path to success with networking.

But first, there’s one more thing that impacts your ability to land your first CIO or CTO role…

Positioning

No matter how you come across opportunities — job boards, recruiters, or networking — the manner in which you present yourself is a huge factor in determining where things go from there. That presentation has everything to do with positioning or a host of other terms that are used to describe it today (messaging, branding, etc.). The resume and LinkedIn profile are key, as they are typically the initial presentation of your skills and experience that people see. But it goes well beyond that to creating a portfolio that differentiates you from the pack…taking your candidacy from good to great!

Take Action

  • To schedule a free consult call with me, click on the link for my online calendar.
  • Learn more about our comprehensive U.S. CIO Recruiter Directory with 850+ names, emails, phone #s, and address…all instantly downloadable for just $49. Click here.
  • Check out the video on this post on YouTube.

 

Stephen Van VreedeAbout 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!

2 Resume Secrets for the Aspiring CIO or CTO

2 Resume Secrets for the Aspiring CIO or CTO

2014 CIO Resume Sample_Page_1The market is full of Technology Directors and IT Leaders hoping to break into the C-level ranks as a CIO or CTO. The problem is that demand far outpaces supply, making each CIO or CTO opportunity highly competitive. Naturally, every company wants “the best” candidate. But what does “the best” mean? And are you positioning yourself as the best possible CIO or CTO candidate?

The Secret Sauce for Your CIO Resume

There are many factors that go into how companies evaluate “the best” technology executives. It’s ok, you don’t need to guess what those factors are. You just need to consider what type of organization you want to be a part of and what type of leader you want to be.

Secret CIO / CTO Resume Ingredient #1

Call it “culture” or “environment” or anything else. Either way, the chemistry that you form with a company that employs you is important. No, really…it’s very important. Did you know that you can filter out a lot of opportunities that won’t be a good fit by how you position yourself in the resume or your LinkedIn profile? Well, you can. It’s not limiting either, but freeing.

Think about it. Have you ever gone through the hiring process with a company – dealt with the recruiter, completed several rounds of interviews, managed negotiations – before realizing that the culture isn’t what you’re looking for? Or even worse, you think everything is great and the company suddenly tells you they’re going to pass because you’re not a “good fit”?
That’s really frustrating…and your time is valuable, so don’t waste it.

Secret CIO / CTO Resume Ingredient #2

What type of leader are you or do you aspire to be? I speak with a lot of prospective CIO candidates that are tired of operating in a keep-the-lights-on environment that requires a command-and-control leadership style. Instead, they want to be a leader that builds a truly collaborative environment where people’s ideas and perspectives are valued.

That doesn’t mean the company chases down every stray idea each employee comes up with. But it does foster an environment in which employees understand how what they do impacts the business and encourages them to consider ways to improve how the business works.

If this is the type of leader that you are, don’t you think that it’s important to communicate that to your audience…executive recruiters, CEOs, and COOs? I do. In fact, using this strategy has helped the CIO and CTO candidates I’ve worked with be viewed as “the best” by many companies, including start-ups, mid-sized companies, and Fortune 500 corporations.

Take Action

  • To schedule a free consult call with me, click on the link for my online calendar.
  • Learn more about our comprehensive U.S. CIO Recruiter Directory with 850+ names, emails, phone #s, and address…all instantly downloadable for just $49. Click here.

 

Stephen Van VreedeAbout 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 (Nodd
lePlace
) (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!

How to Find 800+ CIO Recruiters in an Instant

How to Find 800+ CIO Recruiters in an Instant

NoddlePlace_2

Your CIO Job Search Can Be Simpler …

You Don’t Have to Do It All Yourself.

Recruiters may seem like they are everywhere, but finding the ones who specifically place CIOs like you (and in YOUR salary range) can take a lot of work.

So why not do yourself a favor? Save hours of research and frustration.

My team and I have already done most of the legwork for you.

Click Here to Learn How to Get Your U.S. CIO Recruiter Directory for $49

Better Yet, Why Not Get It for Free? Get a Free Consult, Get a Free Directory!

How’s that for simple?

uncommon the book with stephen van vreedeMy name is Stephen Van Vreede, and I am a Technical Résumé Writer and Job Search Strategist. I’m also a Technical Job Search Adviser for TechRepublic, CIO.com, and Dice, where I have been featured extensively, as well as a Co-author of the upcoming career/life development book UNCOMMON with business leader Brian Tracy (June 11, 2015).

After listening to my client members talk about their frustration in finding the right recruiters, and after hearing how much of their precious job search time they were squandering scouring LinkedIn to find a recruiter who places for the types of jobs they were looking for, I began putting together specialized directories for them, leveraging my large network of recruiters.

Now we offer those directories, such as the CIO directory, outside of our network. To top it off, we even give them away with a free 30-minute career move “prep” session with me.

You can also sign up to receive our complimentary brief called “How You Can Leverage Technical Recruiters to Build a Career Protection Pipeline” (see below).

No matter where you are in your CIO career move, we offer 3 great options:

  1. For only $49, you can get started with your CIO recruiter directory. Just click here.

  2. For 30 minutes of your time, you can have a 1-1 consult with me and receive the CIO recruiter directory for free.

  3. For a limited time, you can receive a brief presentation on “How You Can Leverage Technical Recruiters to Build a Career Protection Pipeline“:



When You and Your Technical Recruiter Aren’t a Good Match

When You and Your Technical Recruiter Aren’t a Good Match

Choosing – or finding – the right technical recruiter for you can be vitally important in your IT job search

IT recruitingWhether you love technical recruiters or avoid them like the plague, the fact is they do play a part in the IT hiring process. In fact, in today’s tech job market, they play an even bigger role than they ever have.
That doesn’t mean you have to use them, of course, but why not give yourself as many options as you can?
Where most candidates go wrong with technical recruiters is 1) they don’t properly matched or aligned with them, 2) they expect too much from them, and 3) they fail to nurture an ongoing relationship with the ones who are a good fit to create a potential pipeline of opportunity down the road.
I’ve witnessed many candidates waste a lot of time talking to the wrong technical recruiter for them, and then they can’t figure out what went wrong. 

Sue Sacco, our Concierge Job Search Agent, says that it all starts with a little research. When she is working our client members, she:

  • Prepares a list of properly matched technical recruiters with their contact info to save our members the time and energy of trying to find them on their own. With geographical restrictions no longer at play and the number of technical recruiters skyrocketing, it’s harder than it used to be to find ones that place for the types of positions you want to go for. That is precious IT job search time you have to spend. So Sue takes care of that so our members can focus on other aspects of their search, like networking with colleagues and decision makers (because you should never rely on just one type of job search method in today’s IT/tech marketplace)!
  • Then once Sue creates her list, she either guides the member in how to introduce themselves to these technical recruiters or she takes it a step further and makes the introductions on our members’ behalf, again saving a lot of legwork and freeing up time to pursue other options as well!

Furthermore, once our members do engage with a tech recruiter, Sue can then walk them through their discussions to make sure they stay on track and not waste time here either.

 This is what a concierge job search agent service does. It’s not that you can’t. It’s that you don’t have to.
Either way, though, whether you attempt to find and engage technical recruiters and headhunters on your own or you work with someone like Sue, first and foremost is ask yourself, “Is this technical recruiter a good match?”
If the recruiter can’t say that he or she has placed candidates with your background and your salary range, then don’t waste anymore of your precious job search time.
(Want just a general directory of tech recruiters? Download our directory of 1350+ technical recruiters or our directory of 800+ project/program manager recruiters.)
Kick in the Pants: 5 Ways You Can Start Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

Kick in the Pants: 5 Ways You Can Start Thinking Like an Entrepreneur

technical recruiter helps with IT resumeIf you’ve been taking a slow, leisurely climb up the career ladder, listen up: It’s time to stop being passive and start thinking like an entrepreneur.

These days, it’s no longer your employer’s responsibility to plan out the next 20 years of your career — it’s yours. Work is changing, and if you want to have a career you love, you have to change along with it. Entrepreneurial thinking is the new “must” for every employee, whether you’re the newest hire or the CTO, and it’s the way you’re going to make the most of your current job and your future career.

So how do you start thinking like an entrepreneur, even if you feel the furthest thing from it?

Trim the Fat.

Entrepreneurs are the captains of the proverbial ship, and dead weight will sink it. Toss inefficiency overboard so you and your company can get where you’re going faster.

Let Your Passion Guide You.

What part of your job inspires you and fills you with new ideas? Focus on what drives you, even if seems small at first, to ignite your passion and come up with creative solutions.

Banish Fear.

Take calculated risks to up your entrepreneurial ante. The movers and shakers of the IT world don’t move and shake because they play it safe; they have the confidence to take intelligent risks and to handle the consequences.

Share Your Vision.

Don’t save your brilliance for a later date, or somebody might beat you to the punch.

Be “The” Expert.

Are you the go-to person in your workplace when a problem arises? Aim to know more, work harder, and pitch in more than anyone else to be seen as a leader, not just another employee.

When you put these practices into play, you’re better equipped to be a knockout at your current job, but more importantly, you groom yourself for a future career that just might surpass your expectations.

IT Resume Makeover: Presentation Dictates Response

IT Resume Makeover: Presentation Dictates Response

What Is An IT Resume Makeover? For the IT Professional, having a properly constructed IT resume is vital. This story illustrates just how true that is in regards to the CIO resume…

Kick In the Pants: How to Navigate Workplace Politics

Kick In the Pants: How to Navigate Workplace Politics

toon476No matter how hard we try to get away from the drama of IT and tech office politics, they have a way of sneaking up on us. Whether you’re just starting a new job or you’re working your way up the ladder, it’s essential to know how to handle your specific workplace environment. No two companies handle their politics the same way. Fortunately, there are a number of best practices that can help you keep your head above water no matter where you work — the important part is to put them into play and avoid letting drama get the better of you.

Neutrality, Above All Else

The more important the topic at hand, the more things seem to devolve into an “us versus them” mentality. Your coworkers will want you to take a side and join them in their crusade. As enticing as this may seem — especially if you really do favor one side over the other — don’t give in. Sometimes staying neutral can strain certain relationships; as long as you feel confident that it won’t break them, stick to your guns. Make it clear to everyone that you understand where both sides are coming from.

**Of course, this doesn’t mean you lack the ability to be passionate or “fight” for what you believe in. The point here is to make sure you pick the battles worth fighting, and more often than not, the corporate “goo” is not the right battle.**

Do Your Recon Work

When you’re new to a job, one of the first things you should do is understand the workplace politics landscape. What topics, behaviors, and opinions are off-limits? A great way to crack this nut is by simply observing. Keep a close eye on what is causing stress or discomfort in your office, and take note if you see a pattern emerging. More often than not, a week or two of observation will give you plenty of information to go on.

Pinpoint Your Office Advocates & Adversaries

Everybody has them: your work friends and work foes. It pays to sort out who is who early on. The same way we have professional networks outside of our jobs, we have networks inside, too. Building strong relationships with your coworkers is a given. Pay attention to the people you’re unable to relate to on a personal or professional level, especially if you observe them involved in your workplace drama. Unfortunately, some people are naturally more drawn to chaos, and you will want to stay out of their path as best you can.

Be Forthright and Open

Mistakes happen. If you find that you’ve committed a blunder at your workplace, own up to it and make amends. Likewise, ask directly if there are any keys to preventing future gaffs. Show that you’re willing to learn from your mistakes and “play nice” in your office politics game.

Never Take It Personally

It can be a challenge to separate yourself from your job, and office politics do feel awfully personal at times. Remember that politics are most often the result of people wanting to do the best job they can, and that you’re all working toward the same goals. Even when it feels personal, remember that it’s your role — not you — in question.

When it comes to politics in the workplace, do your homework and choose to be the better person, and you’ll be on the right track for this and future jobs.

Protecting the Tech Career You’ve Built

Protecting the Tech Career You’ve Built

We get a lot of questions about what we mean when we say “protecting” or refer to “career protection.” The following presentation tells the story of how this idea of protection took root and how it has evolved into everything we do at ITtechExec and NoddlePlace. It is our sincere belief that in today’s market, whether you’ve been around a bit like our ITtechExec members have, or are just starting to climb the ladder, like our NoddlePlace members, that you do more than just toss out resumes and scour job boards. It’s time to protect what you’ve built so far: