If you're an IT professional looking for a more challenging career opportunity, it's important to join forces with a recruiter tied into the right networks. The good news? There's never been a better time for prospective CIOs, senior staff, and up-and-coming executives to make a career move. Investors are pouring money into start-up ventures, creating numerous technology and executive positions. Right now, a shortage of talent--in just about every industry--means recruiters can't find enough experienced professionals to fill these positions. Companies are scrambling to discover the next CIO-to-be with the vision and passion to catapult their ventures from start-up to profitability.
Some good ways to get your name noticed
Be a panel speaker at key conferences in your industry.
Participate at functions where you meet board members, key executives, venture capitalists, and angel investors.
Send useful information to your networks.
Write position papers about issues and trends in the industry.
Develop a meaningful direct mail campaign.
Get to know editors and reporters from national and international publications.
Partner with your company's public relations firm to write and circulate news releases.
Send articles about your activities to important leaders in your industry to boost your credibility.
So, what's the right way to put your name up in lights? Because companies retain search firms to find the best talent, recruiters focus on these clients in their daily activities. This means that recruiters don't readily accept calls from the individual candidates looking for a career move. Executives and IT professionals seeking new opportunities must get on the radar screens of both the search firm as well as the prospective company. Whether you want to make the leap to CIO or are interested in another position, you need to learn the necessary steps to be a recognized leader or an up-and-coming player in your industry. Of course, for the top positions, recruiters find few people up to snuff. As a prospective candidate, you have to understand that recruiters present only the best candidates to their clients. In my experience, clients are much more interested in "can-do" candidates, rather than "could-be" candidates. What's the difference between the two? In many cases, it's simply a matter of effective marketing, and that's where you have the power to make yourself noticed. Marketing 101 Think of marketing yourself as you market your company. If you want visibility in the right markets, brand equity, and tons of business, simply being great at your job isn't enough. You have to be known as the best, with a unique way of doing your job. You have to be proactive, so that people not only hear your name, but remember it. Make it your primary objective to circulate your name and ideas to the leaders you want to reach. Often, my clients will give me the name of someone they've read or heard about through the marketing strategy I mentioned above. In fact, our initial list of target candidates for any assignment begins with the client's wish list. Having the right combination of personal marketing and demonstrated leadership skills gives you a great chance to make this list. More than one way up the mountain In addition to marketing, make sure you shine at what you do best. Not all of today's CEO and CIO vacancies will be filled with former CEOs and CIOs. Boards are looking for executives proficient in many areas important to the company. They may be looking for experience in profit and loss, or they may stress the need for a significant strength in e-commerce. Generally, boards want individuals who are customer-centric, who have a knack for determining how to break into the right markets, and who understand how technology can help business.
Recruiters want people they've read or heard about as candidates. Get yourself known through a personal marketing strategy in order to get on their list. --Jeffrey Christian, search consultant
Here's an ironic twist--if you're happy in your current position and not interested in making a move, recruiters will want to know you. Good employees with a strong work ethic and a sense of loyalty are extremely desirable. Sure, it takes persistence and hard work, but for smart candidates, right now is a great time to find the IT career opportunity of a lifetime. Hundreds of great jobs are waiting to be filled. By making yourself, your talents, and your accomplishments known, you'll be on every recruiter's radar screen. // As the founder and CEO of Christian & Timbers, Jeffrey Christian launched the nation's first information-technology search firm for CEOs, board members, and senior-level management. For more information about Christian & Timbers, see www.ctnet.com.