What Does It Take for an IT Pro to Become a CIO?By Guest Author Print
IT pros with an eye on the C-suite must understand how tech can transform the business and increase shareholder value. They also need to develop these 10 skills.
Get into a networking mind-set—and stay there. Network internally and externally. Networking is a skill that can be learned and perfected, not only if you are looking for a new job, but also as part of your existing or changed job. Networking is really about forging and nurturing relationships.
Externally, attend meet-up groups, conferences and other industry events to broaden your circle of contacts. Internally, challenge yourself to meet business and team leaders of other departments and on other projects so that you not only raise your visibility within the organization and expand your circle of contacts, but also gain a broader perspective of what the organization as a whole is working toward.
Position your résumé for the job that you want. Look at job descriptions for the kind of position you’re seeking and make sure that your relevant skills and experience are reflected in your résumé. Don’t update an old résumé. Start it from scratch with the new position in mind, so that it speaks to a trajectory in your career directly related to the new role. If you’re looking for a management position, be sure to include skills and experience that are relevant for the role. On a senior-level résumé, add an objective. It should clearly delineate that this is the job you want.
Prepare yourself for a rigorous interview process. The more senior the role, the longer and more thorough the interview process will be. Know what to expect and how to nail the interview. Discuss the process with your recruiter and role-play the interview. You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but you want to have honest and detailed answers ready to share when appropriate.
Create a narrative that reflects your career moves. It is important to be able to present your career in a logical fashion from college to the present. Be prepared to share lessons learned, experiences and career highlights that relate to the position you are seeking. A true leader always talks in proactive terms, so be ready to share the positive takeaways from your experiences.
Ultimately, the greatest differences between being a team member and a department manager—all the way up to the CIO—lie in your ability to be strategic in your approach and effective in delivering results. CIOs must be strategic in how they approach and solve problems, in addition to being effective leaders.
The ability to see the entire field—your own team as well as your competitors—and develop a winning strategy is what separates those who code from those who lead.
Kathy Harris is the founder and managing director of Harris Allied, an executive search firm based in New York City. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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