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8 steps to a new IT leadership job
An executive search professional shares candid advice on how to prepare and stand out in the competitive IT leadership market
5. Make connections, both old and new
It’s important to build connections with people who are in your industry and field. When you see a job posted at a company of interest, you may have a connection who works there now – or who used to work there – to help get you in the door. Maybe they know the name of the hiring manager or the HR person to contact so that you don’t have to apply via the dreaded online recruiting portal. Or you can have a quick call with someone before an interview to learn the challenges the company is facing, and what the culture is like.
In addition to new connections, don’t forget the power of your existing network – former colleagues, past bosses, people you met at conferences, even vendor representatives you worked with in previous roles. A great lead for your next job may be only one coffee meeting away. Reach out to people you have built relationships with over time and let them know that you’re embarking on a search and exactly what you are looking for. This is why it is important to have a job search strategy (see step one). People will be very eager to help you, but they can only do that when they know what opportunities to send your way.
6. Sharpen your interview skills
If you haven’t interviewed for a job in a while, it’s important to take time to prepare beforehand. You’ll want to be able to succinctly articulate what you’ve accomplished (in business outcomes terms), display executive presence, and show a company that you know the value that you could bring to them. Always be prepared to ask some questions during your interviews; it shows you’ve done your homework and have strong interest in the organization.
Companies evaluate and hire people based on many things, but a consistent factor is genuine interest and passion for the company and the role. Interviews should be conversational, so make sure to read the room and strive for a nice balance of give and take. Instructional videos can also help you ace IT leadership job interviews.
[ For more tactics and advice, read our related article, IT job interview tips: 12 ways to win in 2019. ]
7. Attend industry conferences
Sometimes we get very insulated within the companies we work for. If you’re in the market for a new role, now is the time to get out there to reconnect with your peers and build new relationships. Think about attending some local industry breakfasts or conferences. This will help you stay current on industry trends while meeting people and learning about what other companies are doing with new technology. (Read also: Business leadership conferences worth exploring in 2019. )
Volunteering to help organize events or be a speaker is even better. You never know who has heard about a job opening or may be making the hire herself. One former candidate told me that right after he gave a presentation at a cybersecurity conference, he was approached by a CIO of a company who later hired him as their new CISO.
8. Focus on your brand
This is a great time to build your social media presence. Write an article on LinkedIn or contribute to an industry blog, which will help to get you noticed. Having a LinkedIn profile is a must, but consider building your presence on Twitter and other channels as well. Recruiters are often researching thought leaders to identify candidates for their open positions.
[ Want to write for The Enterprisers Project and share IT leadership advice with your peers? Learn how to contribute. ]
Lastly, have patience. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a bit of time to find your next role. Looking for a new position, especially at a senior level, will most likely be a three- to six-month process. Maybe longer. You want to make the right long-term decision for your career, and that takes time.
Best of luck with your job search!
[ Arm yourself for IT job interviews with winning tactics and relevant data. Get The Enterprisers Project's new eBook: IT job searching in 2019: A practical guide. ]