Taking Control of Your IT Career

Executive recruiting consultant John Lucht shares expert career development tips and strategies.
Posted December 12, 2000

Greg Pastrick

Whether you're seeking a new job outside your company or focusing on climbing the corporate ladder within it, the same best practices for advancing and developing your career apply. John Lucht, a well-known executive recruiter and author of Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+ . . . The Insider's Guide to Absolutely Everything about Executive Job-Changing and Career Progress, recently held a teleconference with 22 members of CIN--EarthWeb's members-free site for IT executives. During the course of this hour-long phone conference, Lucht shared career building tips and strategies such as, marketing your expertise, selling your successes, connecting to the right recruiters, and networking inside and outside the organization. Here are the highlights of his exchange with CIN's members:


  • Define and Publicize Your Role
    To get a promotion inside your organization, or even advance your career outside of it, you need to be capable of defining and communicating who you are professionally. This means detailing and demonstrating to others on-the-job challenges and the superiority of your performance.


  • Become a Resource
    Keeping your peers and managers informed on what you do and why you do it better than anyone else is one of the best ways to place yourself in the position of being seen as a reliable, respected resource. What's more, the person who can talk strategically to the CEO, so that every syllable, every word is understandable . . . that's the person who really excels.


  • Speak Plainly
    Being able to break down the complexities of doing business in the new economy providing information in a simplified form that allows CEOs to make intelligent decisions makes you the most likely candidate for promotion and retention within your company. In addition, it makes you a more desirable candidate outside of your organization.


  • Start Networking
    Because the CIO/CTO role in many businesses is moving away from strict IT management and support, networking is more important than ever. Building relationships with peers sets the stage for effective career networking within your company, and prepares the way for making a move outside of it.


  • Make the Right Connections
    Knowledge-based businesses are ripe with advancement opportunities for the CIO/CTO. Today such executives are highly valued, strategic members of the core management team in information-based businesses, most often a direct report to the chief executive. Because of this, IT executives at this level frequently find themselves considering and being recruited for new career opportunities. Effective networking means making yourself a referral source to chief executives inside your company, and prestigious retainer-recruiters outside your company.


  • Sell Yourself by the Numbers
    It makes no difference if you're exploring outside opportunities or remaining with your company, results matter most. And selling yourself to management is just as important as selling yourself to a possible employer. What's the solution? You want to make measurements of what you do and compare them favorably with what happens elsewhere. Performance graphs, comparative charts, and progress reports, can accomplish this goal no matter if you place them in your resume or on the desk of your CEO.


  • Ask for References
    Be prepared for the future, and place yourself in a position to be open for career advancing offers, by asking key contacts if they would be a reference for you. The best thing a person can do in any kind of networking is to ask for a reference, not for a specific job or position. It can open up unimagined opportunities.

    Greg Pastrick is the CIN site manager. He can be reached at grep@earthweb.com.

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