Tag: IT job search

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?

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 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!

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…


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!

The IT Job Search: 1 Year of Experience 30 Times or 30 Years of Experience?

The IT Job Search: 1 Year of Experience 30 Times or 30 Years of Experience?

older worker

Age, Experience and the Tech Job Search or IT Job Search… Does the number work for you or against you?

One of my favorite types of clients to work with is the more “experienced” professional, the one whose been around the tech/engineering fields for a while and has watched the evolution of technology and different trends come and go. It fascinates me that anyone (no matter how well intentioned) would suggest to these valuable professionals that they should:

1. Hide their experience


2. Ask them to pretend to be younger

Logic dictates that if you have 30 years of experience in your field (or 20 or 40 or whatever you have) and have been a valuable member of that community, it should be a source of achievement, not suddenly an impediment or something you have to change or hide about yourself (as if you really can anyway).

And in my mind as career strategists, we need to ensure that our industry STOPS reinforcing this notion.

It certainly doesn’t help these professionals continue to progress in their fields, and we aren’t sending an effective message, other than “there’s something wrong with you, which you can’t control, but you have to fix it anyway” and, my favorite:

“Compete with younger people as if you are younger too.” In other words, the message becomes “be hip”. And “sell yourself like a commodity.”

There’s nothing wrong with having 30 years of experience, and we need to stop acting like there is.

Instead, where there’s a problem that needs to be addressed is in how that 30 years of experience is presented.

All too often, there is a tendency to position more experienced workers as “stagnant” in which their education was learned once a long time ago and simply repeated throughout the course of their career. Or worse, their earlier education is tossed out and the focus is only placed on the last couple years.

So rather than demonstrate 30 years of accumulating education and experience, it comes off as much less, and it gives the employer an apples-to-apples comparison between the younger worker and the older one.

What we really should be doing is making an apples-to-oranges comparison.

In other words, when it comes to the two groups, there is no comparison. They each bring different types of business value to the organization, and the challenge for the more experienced candidate (as well as for the less experienced but in a different way) is to communicate how he or she does that.

For the professional with 30 years of experience, it is a matter of building a story of how that amount of experience culminates in understanding today’s business challenges and how you can leverage your background to solve those problems.  Any organization that wants to profit knows it needs people who bring business value because that value produces results, and like it or not, results are what organizations are after (private sector AND public sector).

Now, you might be thinking, “I have been doing that. I’ve been telling them how relevant I still am.” Chances are you’ve been telling them from a skills-based focus. You’ve been telling them how up-to-date your skills are. But that’s not really leveraging your background with your skills. In other words, it’s not really giving them the full breadth of what you bring, and it’s not being tied in to that bottom line business value.

We all have this tendency to think that hiring managers are good at connecting the dots…but they aren’t. No matter what age, we still have to do it for them.

We think that our latest credentials we paid handsomely for or our work history will just tell the story for us, but it rarely does. Instead, potential employers often just look at us and think, “is this person going to make my life easier or harder?”

And the more experienced you are, the more difficult it can be to show how your background can be leveraged to make life easier for the employer because it is, well, complicated…there are more dots that need connecting. Therefore, the focus by the older worker often dissolves into “defending” his or her experience.

Contrary to popular belief, most employers only want to do so much “molding” of younger workers. They might think at first that this will make their lives easier (because it is easier to identify with younger because you were younger once too; it’s harder to identify with older when you haven’t been through that yet) until they start trying to “mold” them. 🙂 So there are only so many of them they can realistically hire/promote. That can mean opportunity for those who are “different” (who are that “orange” and not another “apple,” so to speak). Unfortunately, though, most candidates believe that “difference” is really a bad thing and try to hide it, but that comes back to not knowing how to leverage it properly.

But difference has to “know” its relevance, not just “say” it’s relevant. (Think of how companies are continually looking to differentiate themselves.) And that “knowing” comes in understanding the results you can bring (or support) to the organization because of the amount of experience you have.

It’s funny. Communicating that is what makes you “hip” again….trying to act younger does not.




A Career in IT: Is It “All Ball Bearings Nowadays?”

A Career in IT: Is It “All Ball Bearings Nowadays?”

Today, I want to use it to talk about some changes occurring in the IT job market that are shifting the landscape of what it means to have a “career in IT.” Right now there seems to be two camps, and they aren’t necessarily opposed to one another. One says that the IT job market is ripe for non-IT people because soft skills are paramount. The other says those with true tech knowledge (and industry experience…and a desire to be more in “management”) will be moved into other business areas within the organization with a dotted line back to old “IT.” Together, these camps create a new image for the IT career path.

#IT Candidates Highlighted

#IT Candidates Highlighted

Technical job search

At ITtechExec, our goal is to comprehensively assist professionals in their tech job search or IT job search. This includes fine-tuning their tech resume or IT resumes whenever needed.

One of our goals here at ITtechExec is to offer a value-added service to our customization of a complete messaging portfolio for our IT/technical clients in their tech job search or IT job search. We want to do that by reaching out across our well-developed network of technical recruiters, HR personnel, and career services leaders to highlight the prestigious backgrounds of our clients.

Many a technical recruiter and employers come to us looking for specific skills sets, and it is our aim to match our clients up with those needs.

Therefore, toward that effort, we will be starting a new segment to our blog that highlights some of our clients each week. We will be sharing this post across all of our network.

Anyone interested in an introduction to one of these clients should contact Stephen at Stephen@ittechexec.com directly.

Sales & Ops Exec leads explosive growth/turnarounds for service biz, builds winning teams/pragmatic solutions (in Philly/Central NJ)

  • Transforms sales organization and team culture
  • Streamlines sales processes and uses technology to increase sales productivity
  • Directs M&A, divestitures, new business unit incubation, market entry/exit, and product/service development strategy
  • Reverses historical flat or negative performance into sustained and highly profitable top-line sales growth
  • Harvard Business School Strategic Leadership Executive Program Graduate
  • Technical sales resume available – tech resume – technical resume

IT Director optimizes performance for project management, operations, governance, applications, etc. (in Northeast TX)

  • 20+ years of experience in technology operations leadership
  • Large-scale project management and program management background
  • Data center and server consolidation projects
  • Compliance, IT service delivery, security, and governance programs
  • Manufacturing, supply chain, inventory management, and forecasting technologies
  • Technology M&A integrations, offshoring, PMO development, and Big  Data/BI reporting solutions
  • IT Director resume available – IT resumesIT resume

Click here for full profile.

EMEA Technology Director, concept to delivery of innovative tech products/solutions with Executive MBA (in the Netherlands)

  • Multi-cultural schooling and professional experience
  • Fluent in 3 languages
  • Fosters business transformation, technology optimization, cost savings, and revenue growth
  • 17+ years of excellence in product development and delivery execution
  • Leads breakthrough new products and programs
  • Resume for IT professional available – IT resumetech resume

Software Engineering Manager, tech product innovation in applications, embedded software, real-time IP (in IL)

  • BSEE from #1 ranked undergraduate engineering school
  • 13+ years of engineering management experience
  • Creates a sense of urgency to drive and empower teams
  • Develops a clear vision and sets a clear objective to get all resources aligned on the same path
  • Designs common solution architecture for cutting-edge new products
  • Leads development using traditional and iterative/Agile methodologies
  • Senior software engineer resume – software engineer resume sample – technical resume example available

Click here for more details.

Healthcare Equipment/Medical Device Sales Executive with 13+ years of healthcare industry experience (in VT)

  • Led growth of capital medical equipment and consumables manufacturer from $25M to $168M over past 7 years
  • Launched new premium products that gained market value through pre-assembled, sterilized, and FDA validated offering with full regulatory compliance documentation
  • Collaborated with medical device manufacturers to develop new products and applications for 3D scanning and tracking devices
  • Technical sales resume available – tech resume – technical resume
How to Write Tech Resumes, IT Resumes, or Technology Resumes

How to Write Tech Resumes, IT Resumes, or Technology Resumes

Are You Certain About Your IT Resume?

We’ve created a simple way to find out! (Take Our Quiz!)

NoddlePlace_2Dear IT Pro,

If you’re like most professionals today, the idea of making a career move is a bit daunting. The market is, well, uncertain. It often penalizes you for things you can’t control, like age, gender, too much experience, too little experience. And to top it off, corporate hiring practices are a bit of a mess, despite all the efforts to streamline them.

So it is no surprise then that most IT pros are looking for simplicity and certainty when it comes to their next IT job search, and they’re hoping the main document, the resume, is going to provide that. So they scour the Internet looking at resume sample after resume sample, and read up on all the latest resume gimmicks and trends.

Although all that is fine, after awhile it can make your head spin, and you often don’t feel any more certain than when you started.

What works, and why does it work?

Simplified. Targeted. Certain.

My name is Stephen Van Vreede, and I overcome uncertainty everyday for my senior-level client members as an Executive IT Résumé Writer and Job Search Specialist, as well as a Technical Career Adviser to several news/industry outlets, like TechRepublic, Dice, the Linux Foundation, and CIO.com. I’m also co-author of UNCOMMON with renowned speaker and career coach Brian Tracy (due out June 11, 2015).

uncommon the book with stephen van vreedeAlong with my team of writers and concierge job search agent, from established “techies” (15+ years), to those who lead software/systems development initiatives, to project/program managemers (PMP), to IT strategy visionaries like CIOs and CTOs, and many others in between, they all have one thing in common, most likely the same thing you’re looking for:

To feel certain when you conduct your next career move that you are ready for the market and well positioned to meet its demands (not to hope you are or think you are but to have a level-headed, frank understanding of the market and your place in it).

That’s why after working with hundreds of clients each year, and after reporting on the technical job market to several industry news outlets, my team and I have put together a very simple, anonymous, self-assessment quiz designed to determine whether the IT resume you’ve put together should bring you a level of certainty (or peace of mind) that you are well positioned for the market.

How can an 8-question quiz do all that?

Easy. It looks at a key ingredient in resume design: priorities. If you understand what the priorities should be for the technical job market, then you will build a resume that meets them. If you don’t, then you won’t. You’ll build it for a different set of priorities.

Based on our experience working with hundreds of technical leaders each year, helping them to craft resume and personal brand messages, as well as provide concierge job search solutions, if you can score 80% or better on our quiz, then you are on your way to a simplified, targeted, and certain career move. If not, then there’s some work to be done, no matter how eye-catching your IT resume is or no matter how much you like it.

So, give it a shot. Take the quiz below and find out. It’s free, quick (less than a minute), and anonymous.

#IT Job Trends and IT Employment Trends: Age/Generation Gap

#IT Job Trends and IT Employment Trends: Age/Generation Gap

IT job trends and the IT job search and tech job search

Do IT job trends and IT employment trends show an age and generation gap?

Many feel that there is a glaring difference between older and younger workers in the technology arena. At the two ends of the extreme you have:

a) Younger workers wanting to get an opportunity to prove themselves, helping their overall marketability for new positions in the IT job market and good pay increases.

b) Older workers knowing that they have proven themselves but concerned about their IT job security and their marketability in this challenging business climate and IT job market.

Either way, both groups are anxious about how they appeal to companies and the technical hiring executives during their IT job search or tech job search.

Join the discussion (Wednesday 9/19 on Twitter at 3pm Eastern). Simply follow and use the hashtag #TCFchat to be a part of it all.

If you’re unable to join us for the live chat, go to our Tech Career Forum LinkedIn Group page to post comments.

Or feel free to weigh in here. We’d love to hear from you.