Category: Personal Branding

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!

The Difference Strategic Networking Can Make

Meet Ally. Ally is a Program Manager for a midsize firm who would like to go back to a Senior Project Manager role at a Fortune 500. She would like to make this move for the simple fact that she much prefers overseeing projects versus project managers. Turns out, she’s very good at it and misses it. She’s even willing to take a pay cut to make it happen. Easy, right?

Well, something seemingly simple…a slight change in direction…caused Ally a lot of grief.

That is, until she started working with Sue, our Job Search Agent. Before then, Ally had a typical process. She either tried to reach out to recruiters or she applied on job boards. At one Fortune 500, she saw the posting of her dreams for the Senior Project Manager role. She applied. She waited. Then she heard back:

Overqualified.

But they would gladly consider her for a Program Manager role. Of course, Ally no longer wants that role. By the time she started working with Sue, she was starting to think it would never happen. But Sue, as always knew better (lol).

The first thing Sue did was work our ITtechExec network and connections to find an in at this Fortune 500. After a few tries and a few calls, Sue had her connection. She then introduced Ally.

Ally met with the connection, explained what she was trying to do and what her experience had been. The connection referred her to someone else inside the company who was in charge of hiring for the senior project manager position. Within a week, Ally was having a phone interview and is currently scheduled to go in for her first round of in-person interviews.

Sue showed us all the difference strategic networking can make.

It’s taken us ~10 years here at ITtechExec to build up a vast, active network of professionals across all types of industries and organizations who generally are willing to support and assist their fellow professionals. Of course, not every connection leads to this kind of response (if only!), but Sue continues to prove to us that the global world we live in can be pretty small at times, and even supportive; it’s really a matter of how strategic your network is and how well you approach them.

I, for one, am grateful for the momentum that the connections made through our network, and Sue’s efforts, make for clients like Ally. What happens from here, and how things turn out, are up to Ally and the interviews she has as a result. Of course, nothing is a slam dunk, and I have already told Ally, we shouldn’t stop here to “wait and see”…there are more connections to be made as things take time.

But, as Ally has already seen, it is a much more promising approach than hearing back from some automated system telling you that you are overqualified.

To find out more, email me at stephen@ittechexec.com, or if you want to know about our resume and job search support solutions, set up a time to speak with me below:

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede IT Job Search Tech Recruiter ExpertStephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. Some people just write résumés; he cares about the whole job search. Serving 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 him at 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free 30-minute résumé assessment:

 

Two Career Roads Diverged, and I Cannot Decide

In 2014, I wrote a blog post titled “Two Roads Diverged in Your Career Path Woods…and You?” in which I played off of Robert Frost’s famous poem to look at how often we get hung up in life (and thus career) on the ins and outs of making that next step when sometimes all we need to do is just, well, make a step, any step.

I was once again pondering all this recently when I was speaking with a college assistance planner in regard to my daughter, who is about to enter high school. I was discussing how as parents, my wife and I were findings our heads collectively spinning when it came to all the hoops that supposedly needed to be jumped through, and all the boxes that supposedly needed to be checked, when it came to improving her chances amidst college rejection rates that seem to be at an all time high. “How many AP classes can she handle over the next 4 years?” “How many times will she need to take the ACT and SAT, and should she take SAT subject tests?” “By age 18, will she have mapped out her entire life plan and seen enough of the world so she can write some highly philosophical entry essay?”

Yikes…

Obviously, like many parents before us, we want what’s best for our daughter. We want to believe that we are giving her the best guidance and the best opportunities. And, yes, obviously, we are willing to get educated on what’s happening out there and get advice. But, what we’ve found is that there is a point where knowledge and advice can only go so far and you have to stop and ask, “What is our end goal, really?”

In other words, you have to stop chasing and start building.

Of course, you don’t reject all the advice and ignore all the hoops. Some of it is practical, a necessity, a fact of life (SAT scores do matter, for instance, especially if attending a selective college is important to you), but you carefully begin to pick and choose the path you want to follow based on who you are, not on what others say you have to be.

If you don’t, you will go crazy competing against a scale in which you will never measure up.

Naturally, as parenting usually does, all of this got me thinking about my own life and career path. How many times have I just been chasing instead of building?

Over the years, I’ve written about the “rat race”…the allure of it…the constant worry that you aren’t checking off all the right boxes, that the image you’ve built isn’t quite what it should be. We all fall victim to it at some point. We end up on this never ending cycle of playing “keep up” or “catch up”, and it seems like we have little control.

We seem to be living in a world that is a bit out of control.

Certainly I’ve seen this with my technical management clients. They think of personal branding as a mold or structure that they have to squeeze into in order to be “accepted”. In reality, usually what makes personal branding effective is someone who knows how to crack the mold a bit, so to speak.

It’s a frustrating place for those who’ve spent a lifetime chasing the hoops and boxes, maybe even feeling a great sense of accomplishment in having done so. The structure is comforting. It gives you a formula, a direction.

The problem, of course, is that if you’re not careful, it can also make you somewhat indistinguishable from all the other candidates out there.

One role I see this happen with the most is in Project Management. There are so many project managers these days with PMP certifications, it can be tough to separate out from the crowd. Another is Engineers with PE certifications. I’ve often seen it in pharmaceutical and medical device sales as well. Pretty soon the market gets flooded with candidates who are well qualified, but on paper, they don’t stand out from one another.

Often, what has happened, and we’ve all been there, is that so much time was spent trying to be the very picture of PMP or PE that once we’ve achieved it, we’ve also lost any sense of individuality.

So at some point, a decision has to be made: How do I play this game while still building my own story? What hoops do I jump through, and what ones do I skip to forge my own path?

Without doubt, it is a delicate balance. But it is choice that can make all the difference.

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. Serving 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:

Career Management in a World Gone Rude

Career Management in a World Gone Rude

Parenting has never been easy.

Hopefully that statement isn’t too controversial these days. But no matter what political, moral, cultural, religious principles you adhere to, I would think one universal truth in all of it is that raising someone to go out into the world and contribute to it is daunting at best.

I would also think that there shouldn’t be much controversy in saying that in today’s culture, parenting is made even more difficult by the fact that, well, rudeness is everywhere. Again, it doesn’t matter where you live, which world view you subscribe to, or how much of a hermit you and your family have become:

We are surrounded by a general acceptance of rudeness.

Our morning and evening commutes are filled with rudeness. Our reality TV is, well, celebrated for being rude (if you’re a rich housewife AND you’re rude, even better!). And social media seems to be taking rudeness to a whole new level.

When we don’t agree with someone, we call them whatever vile name we can think of…publicly, in front of children, no matter where we happen to be. If we feel like saying it, we should just say it!

But it doesn’t matter because of course we’re right…and it’s our “right”…and politeness doesn’t matter.

We’re sick of being polite anyway.

And self-control? That old thing? That’s for chumps, right? Just tweet out whatever comes to mind, whenever it comes to mind. You can always ask for forgiveness and a book deal later.

In the suburban world my family inhabits, we’re on the edge of “Midwestern values” (we live in the western part of NY that thinks it’s part of the Midwest), which basically means people still don’t want you to think they are rude even when, no, especially when, they are rude. (After all, they were giving you their best smile when they stabbed you in the back.)

To call them out for their rudeness would be the ultimate in, well, rudeness!

As I mentioned, as a parent, this makes life particularly complicated. Asking your teenager to treat adults with respect seems like Parenting 101, right? Of course, that would be a lot easier if the adults in turn acted like fully formed adults, not like taller, fatter, more wrinkled versions of emotionally unfulfilled teenagers. Sigh…

But I digress. My point is not just to bemoan the hardship of parenting, but to look at the general hardship of frankly living in today’s rude culture.

And many times this rudeness comes out most prominently in our careers.

If you are in the corporate culture, or even out in the marketplace as an entrepreneur, business has always been business. If you don’t provide a marketable skill, you pay for it. And if you don’t keep up with the changes in the market, you get left behind. Some people may call this “rude,” but there has generally been an acceptance of economic principles at work and a certain level of personal accountability to them.

Now add in today’s hyper-rude culture to the mix.

It’s tough to manage a career when adults are no longer in charge, when people no longer bring professionalism to work (they might try but lack of self-control is hard to hide for long), and when people think they are educated because they read their news feed that day (you know, the one filled with only news that comes from people they agree with?).

In a world that keeps talking about our collective humanity, we seem to have a strange idea of what that is.

I’m pretty sure we care more about our dogs than we do about our fellow humans. After all, our dogs generally can’t offend us and they certainly never disagree with our religion or politics. Too bad they aren’t running our corporations!

When I speak with corporate executives, they tell me soft skills are sorely lacking. They have to spend a lot of time teaching people basic leadership and politeness skills. It’s exhausting. They feel more like parents than like bosses (and of course parenting is never easy).

(My wife, a freelance editor, had the lovely experience of working with a manager once who had to be sent to “be nice” school because she was inexplicably incapable of being nice on her own.)

It’s true that sometimes in our careers we have to make tough decisions and that sometimes no matter how we try, someone else will interpret our actions as rude or as insensitive.

My point isn’t to turn our culture too soft. It would just be nice if it could strive to be decent. If empowerment didn’t mean being vulgar just because you can be….if someone at the other end of the political spectrum from you wasn’t immediately vilified because of what you perceive to be true about all liberals or all conservatives. (Again, grown-ups usually know better than to rush to extremes…you know, that whole fully formed brain thing?)

Sadly, if you want to navigate through the murky career waters these days, you’re going to need to have a thick skin.

Much like in politics, anyone can spout off whatever they want to whenever they want to. You’re a member of the human race, so you’re fair game.

Whatever you do, though: Just leave the dogs alone. Don’t ever disparage the dogs. After all, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there…

 

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. Serving 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:

Resume and Job Search Strategy for an Aerospace Engineer Program Executive

Resume and Job Search Strategy for an Aerospace Engineer Program Executive

Every candidate faces some unique challenges, which is why it is so important to work with an executive resume writer and job search coach who have a deep understanding of the industry and the market. Let’s take a look at one client we worked with recently who had a unique challenge of her own. Suzanne is a senior executive in the aerospace industry, with quite a successful track record leading large-scale programs with the U.S. and foreign governments, the DoD, and major commercial accounts.

Suzanne’s Challenge

Suzanne’s problem was that she’d worked for several of the large players in the space, all within the past five years with each ending after a short period for various reasons. In addition, she wasn’t able to relocate to any of the major aerospace hubs, at least for another few years. Being bound by non-compete clauses and having a limited selection of opportunities within her geographic market made the pickings very sparse. Suzanne knew that she needed a new strategy.

Positioning Strategy

When we started working on the project to develop her positioning statements and marketing materials (Resume, LinkedIn Profile, Executive Bio, and PSR), my goal was to identify the attributes that would make her truly stand out in the market.

Her old resume was very focused on one of the big aerospace companies, whom she had worked with for nearly two decades. She had a ton of great material for that role; however, that job was five years in the past with four different jobs and four different companies in between.

This sent a signal to the market that her best work was well behind her. Of course, this wasn’t true at all, but reflected how she was feeling on the inside about the value she brought to the four short-term roles she’d held since then. So the initial challenge for me was to understand what she accomplished in each of these roles and affirm the value that she created. This took away any negative feelings associated with the succession of company changes in recent years.

Current Is King

Once Suzanne valued her achievements, we were able to build out the details for the four recent roles to give them some weight and significance. After all, we operate in a world that takes a “what have you done for me lately” perspective.

With the content we added, I focused Suzanne’s narrative on her experience leading and transforming programs, delivering within expedited time lines, and developing a strong customer relationship pipeline to fuel sales growth.

Job Search Strategy

The biggest area of opportunity for Suzanne was with her approach to the job search. Traditional channels just weren’t working because the recruiters she knew all recruited for past employers. When she responded to postings on job boards, she either wasn’t considered or they told her that she was overqualified for the roles, usually from recruiters or HR reps.

We not only created a strategy, but we helped Suzanne execute on a strategy that would connect her with senior executives in the industry. By interfacing with actual decision makers, she was able to talk through the constraints she was facing and make genuine headway in her search. The result was multiple offers that within the level and salary range she was hoping for while meeting the geographic requirement and offering schedule flexibility to suit her family needs.

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:

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

IT Director With Long Tenure at Same Company: Asset or Liability?

tech job search cartoon 15

Unlike Sam, whom we featured in our last segment as a Technology and Software Innovation Leader, Danielle is a Technology Director who has been with the same company her entire career. She started with them doing database work and hardware support before growing into development and IT operations roles. She wanted to position herself for managerial roles in application development and product management, but she had no idea if other companies would consider her qualified for these roles.

Titles Make a Difference

One major concern for Danielle was the fact that her company had never formally changed her title after nearly 20 years, even though the scope and accountabilities of her role had altered drastically. Did she really need to list that she was a Database and Applications Support Specialist on her resume and in LinkedIn?

No…you are afforded some flexibility with titles to ensure that they align with what the general market would understand based on your job duties. For Danielle, that meant we were able to tweak her title a bit to better communicate the level (Manager) and type of work (technical product management and development) she had been performing for the past 12+ years.

Is Only Working For One Company a Liability?

Danielle had received a bunch of calls and LinkedIn inquiries for Database Administrator and Technical Support roles. When sending her resume to recruiters, she got feedback that they didn’t think she was qualified for a Technology Manager role, and that being at the same company for nearly 20 years gave them concern that she couldn’t handle a change in environment.

Fixing the Problem by Reworking the Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Danielle explained how her position evolved over time, despite having no change in the formal job title. I did a resume makeover – and a LinkedIn Profile makeover too – that made Danielle’s progression come across clearly to even the most casual observer. A clearer presentation of titles that reflected the level of role she held and the duties she performed was also addressed.

The results for Danielle have been strong since we revamped her resume and LinkedIn Profile AND introduced her to some key players in her target market.

She quickly received calls for opportunities that matched her objective to be in technology management. She also got responses from recruiters and hiring directors when submitting her resume in direct response to open jobs listed on their website. Just as important, she felt better equipped to answer questions about her long tenure and why it made her an even stronger candidate.

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume 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 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 consult:

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

Executive Resume Strategy for a Technology Software and Innovation Leader

second-rightI recently had the opportunity to work with a technology leader – let’s call him Sam — who specializes in solutions architecture design, software development, and innovation, most notably in the areas of real-time Web and mobile solutions as well as business productivity tools. Sam’s company had recently gone through two re-organizations, and he was losing confidence in the direction of the firm, despite being elevated in the company during each restructuring.

Sam’s Challenge

Sam’s problem was that he’d been asked to establish the company’s professional services organization, and he was presenting most of his current information as project-based details. That would be fine if Sam wanted to pursue contract-based or project-based opportunities for his next role, but he craved being part of a larger organization that focused on designing and delivering solutions for internal use.

Thankfully, Sam’s experience included solution design and Web product development at multiple companies over the years, so we were able to successfully present his technical chops in the current role and all his previous roles.

Can You Have Too Much Leadership Experience?

The other factor complicating Sam’s profile was the executive leadership flavor that his current role entailed. Although he didn’t want to be an individual contributor, his passion was to be able to lead a team of engineers, architects, and innovators while being hands-on throughout the entire solution development lifecycle.

His old resume was portraying him as a hands-off business leader who oversaw a consulting group that happened to work in the technology/software realm. This was not getting him the type of calls from companies and recruiters that he was hoping for.

What’s the Solution?

Sam and I had some pretty in-depth conversations about the solutions he and his team actively designed, developed, and delivered. I have to say, some of them were pretty remarkable. I wasn’t the only one that thought so, as they have been implemented at some of the world’s leading tech product firms, insurance companies, and financial institutions, generating some very positive outcomes.

I was able to create a new resume that focused his story on solution design and development as well as on the business problems those solutions helped to address. This totally changed Sam’s narrative, gave him a lot more confidence when speaking with recruiters, and improved the perception that potential suitors had of what he offered to them.

The opportunities that Sam has entertained since our work together are all completely aligned with his passion for being that hands-on innovator and thought leader in the tech space.

So if you find yourself out in the wilderness, wondering where to even begin with your next career move, text “STUCK” to 866-294-1324 to start a dialogue OR click on the calendar below to schedule a free consult.

Stephen Van Vreede

About Stephen—-

Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical resume 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 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 consult:

Why CTOs Need a Resume Portfolio to Showcase Innovation

CTO Needs a Portfolio Infographic

Competitive Market

The funnel narrows considerably for jobs in the C-Suite today. In fact, when you’re talking about a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role, they are even more difficult to come across than their counterparts in IT (CIO), Finance (CFO), Operations (COO), Marketing (CMO), and Strategy (CSO). This means that a lot of excellent candidates with backgrounds in product development, solution architecture, engineering, and digital transformation will be in contention for these coveted few opportunities.

Differentiation is Needed

Making yourself stand out from the crowd is a must, but most candidates simply do what everyone else does: update the resume with some bland statements and trite descriptions, then copy it over into their LinkedIn Profile.

Sorry, but that just won’t cut it. If you want recruiters and decision makers to perceive you as innovative — you know, the type of person that they want to take over the chief innovator role for their company — than you have to show yourself to be, in fact, different and distinct, with a vision that is hyper-dimensional (sorry…HR types might say “out-of-the-box thinker” here).

Be Taken Seriously as a CTO Candidate

Do you want to be taken seriously? Then show it!

Present yourself in a unique way. Showcase the creativity that you helped to foster in an organization. Highlight the solution path you and your teams took to take a few novel products from conception through to new product introduction (NPI). Do it in a way that gets them thinking about the possibilities of you leading their organization to become an innovation engine.

Resume Portfolio Documents

The great part is, there’s no established standard or “rules” for how to present your record of innovation beyond the resume and LinkedIn Profile. However, I strongly encourage that the presentation be separate from the traditional resume. For example, you can create a detailed innovation timeline, a one-page visual (like an infographic), or an extensive write up on some high-profile innovations that you helped to deliver.

Writing and Creating Visuals Isn’t Your Strength?

No worries…we’ve got you covered. That’s a specialty of ours. I am passionate about connecting with innovators and helping them to position themselves effectively for these roles in the market.

  • To schedule a free consult call with me, click on the link for my online calendar.
  • Check out the video on this post on YouTube.

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 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 (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!

Becoming a Highly Sought-After Candidate in the War for Tech Talent

Becoming a Highly Sought-After Candidate in the War for Tech Talent

As a professional in the world of technology, you don’t have to agree that there is an aggressive “war for tech talent” as so many companies and media outlets claim. Heck, it can be a total fabrication! Bottom line, though, is that companies truly believe that they will gain a competitive advantage in the market by winning this talent war.

The Race for Tech Talent is On!
The Race for Tech Talent is On!

On April 4, 2016, CIO.com published the article, The Race for Tech Talent Isn’t a Marathon, It’s a Sprint, by Diana Bersohn. In it, she cites an Accenture Strategy – Technology study in which 85%-plus of the businesses surveyed believe that they need to win the war for talent to be successful in the market. Additionally, 80% believe that the workers they hired 5 years ago do not have the skill sets required for success today, with 60% feeling strongly that the biggest organizational challenge for IT specifically is having workers with the right skill sets for today.

My initial response to those figures was “Yikes!” If you’re doing the same thing you were doing 5 years ago, you’re antiquated…outdated…a legacy employee ready to be sun-setted…? If you do nothing, maybe you’ll get lucky and be one of the workers that your current company chooses to invest in for the future. But seriously now, do you have any confidence in that? What has their track record been with investing in their technical staff previously? A select few companies do a great job of developing talent internally, but most are just terrible because it requires knowing your people, evaluating their capacity for growth, and taking the time to prepare a deliberate development plan for each employee.

Make Yourself Marketable

Whether you’ve worked for the same company for 20 years or you are a contractor engaging with a new company every 6 months, how you’re perceived by decision makers in the market is entirely up to you. OK…you can’t control everything (for example, you can’t fix stupid), but you can connect the dots for people to make it obvious how your experience, talents, and technical skills translate into something relevant in today’s digital market.

It Starts with Your Language

The language that you use, both verbally and in writing, make a huge impact on how people view you. Despite much thinking to the contrary today, perception does not equal reality. However, people’s perceptions drive their thinking along with their real-life actions. That translates into the decisions that they make when promoting internal candidates or hiring external talent.

You can shift the perceptions others shape of you starting right now by reconsidering your verbal and email interactions. Think about what CIOs and other tech leaders value today and shape your language accordingly. For example, you’re a senior engineer on a project that management has decided to take a direction to which you vigorously disagree. You’re not a go-along-to-get-along type. Great, neither am I! But instead of continually slamming the project or questioning the intelligence of the management team, shaping your argument so that it focuses on specific business objectives elevates the discourse and can get people thinking about things from your perspective instead of simply a pain in the backside that should be silenced.

Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Changing the focus of your language applies to your resume and LinkedIn profile, too. When you’re talking about external opportunities, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Even more challenging is the fact that your one chance gets squished down into 30 seconds or less. That makes the message you deliver in your resume and any online profiles of vital importance.

Are you an outdated employee with antiquated skills? Or, are you a fresh talent poised to help the company springboard into the next phase of the digital age? The answer to those questions has nothing to do with your age, gender, or your years of experience. It has everything to do with the identity that you present.

 

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!

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

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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!