Be Ready for CIO Turnover: Cultivate a Professional Network

Ode to the Headhunter

Heller and other headhunters say CIOs shouldn't look at headhunters' calls as disruptive, one-way interactions but should tell the recruiter something about themselves, even if they aren't remotely interested in the job at hand. "If you talk to me and we have a nice conversation, or if you refer me to someone, you've done me a favor," Heller says. "You are then solidly in my network."

Job Search Tips
  • Have an updated resumé, ideally one that emphasizes how you as an IT leader helped the business save money, grow revenue or achieve any other business-related activity. Restrict your resumé to three pages.

  • When headhunters call or e-mail you, respond, even if it's just to say that you aren't interested. Headhunters remember who is helpful and will be receptive if you ever need their services.

  • Seek new positions that illustrate a logical career progression in terms of responsibilities and experience.

  • Keep an eye out for former colleagues as they move on to different jobs. For those with whom you worked closely, check in periodically just to find out how they are doing or what they are working on.

  • Don't limit networking to IT or even business professionals. Valuable contacts exist practically anywhere, including in your church congregation or children's school or -- naturally -- on the golf course.


Herman Nell, former senior vice president and CIO at Fiskars Brands Inc., a manufacturer of kitchen and garden tools based in Madison, Wis., has established a good network of headhunters and is now relying on them to help him out of a jam. Nell essentially eliminated his own job in June when he helped Fiskars restructure its IT department. CIOs, he says, have to get over viewing headhunters as a nuisance and instead treat them with respect. "You can help them do their jobs by returning their calls or e-mails and passing on referrals," he says. Those headhunters who are reputable, he adds, will be respectful of your time. And as Nell has discovered, reputable headhunters will reciprocate in kind when you need them to pass along job leads or information.

That's certainly the hope of a midmarket CIO in the Bay area who launched a job search in July. The CIO, who is employed and spoke on the condition of anonymity, has been actively but quietly looking for a new job, preferably with a Fortune 500 company. To get the word out, he contacted two firms that specialize in executive searches; he also speaks frequently at conferences and appears in the press, and he has let friends and select former colleagues know he is open to new opportunities. "You never know where the next job is going to come from, so it makes sense to cast as wide a net as possible," he says. This CIO even travels with a copy of his resumé on a memory stick.

Having an updated and well-written resumé sounds basic, but Beverly Lieberman, president of the search firm Hal-brecht Lieberman Associates Inc. in Westport, Conn., says it's a step many CIOs neglect to take. Of the 150 resumés she receives each week, Lieberman says less than half make the grade in terms of conciseness and readability. In recent months, Lieberman has seen more senior-level IT positions advertised on Web sites such as Monster, a trend that makes it all the more important for resumé to be well-written because the head of HR rather than recruiters will be the first to review them (see "Job Search Tips," above).

This was first published in October 2005

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: