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Take stock of your CIO role: Avoid mistakes, get ahead in your career

You've risen to the CIO role, now what? Give your career an annual physical with tips for getting ahead in your organization and what to do when it's time to leave.

There's reason to be cautiously optimistic about an economic upswing. Our annual IT Salary Survey of respondents in the CIO role indicates that overall IT spending in the midmarket has increased, making it more important than ever to keep a close eye on your career aspirations and objectives.

The talent pool is ever-churning, and while there is more IT money out there, the opportunities for growth are sparse. Whether you want to do more within your current CIO role , are leveraging to move up in your organization or are looking for a completely new opportunity, it's the perfect time to do some personal career strategizing. We arm you with the tools to make a huge impact today while paving the path for success in the future.

Exceed expectations in your current CIO role

CIOs are inundated by opinions or advice on how they can succeed in their role, but few people are willing to point out when the CIO makes a mistake that can sink his career. When it comes time to walk into the boardroom, you want to be confident that you're not only able to relay the importance of IT but also demonstrating that your organization demands attention and respect from your colleagues. Don't derail all of that careful attention to detail by making a common CIO mistake.

Here are some of the latest CIO management mistakes that our stable of experts -- seasoned ex-CIOs, recruiters and the like -- are seeing as most lethal to CIO careers in these economic times, plus their antidotes to what may be afflicting you.

Learn how to avoid potential career pitfalls in Linda Tucci's article, "CIO management mistakes that can harm CIO careers, cause IT failures." Also:

Follow the money to a CIO job

We're starting to see some signs of improvement in the economy, and our most recent annual CIO salary and careers survey indicates that our CIO readers feel the same way, expecting to receive salary increases in 2011 as well as potential for incremental headcount.

Whether you're trying to improve your own role in the organization or build a strong foundation for future advancement, you need to understand what a CEO is looking for in his ideal CIO -- even if he doesn't really understand what he wants. We have insider advice and reality checks on how to market yourself for the new CIO role and what you can (and shouldn't) do to get the attention of a top executive recruiting firm.

Learn more in "The inside dope on what CEOs are looking for in the CIO role." Also:

  • Mergers and acquisitions can catapult CIOs to new career heights
    As chaotic and uncertain as a merger and acquisition (M&A) can be for an organization, the tumult doesn't have to be all negative. Career experts say an M&A experience -- on the buying or bought side -- can lever a CIO's career to new heights. If you let it.
  • The CIO job and age discrimination
    Is the CIO job more vulnerable to age discrimination than other C-suite positions? Ask an executive recruiter specializing in technology whether the CIO job is a young person's game, and the initial response typically comes in two waves: first, the slightly nervous laughter and a comment about the sensitivity of the topic, then the parsing.

Explore new CIO career paths

You know the signs: You start wistfully looking at other companies, wondering if it's time to retool your own role or to just pack it in and call it a day. The realities of today's business mean that it's a rare executive who ends up with the gold watch for 45 years of service at his retirement party.

Whether you've decided to look elsewhere or the realities of your position have made that decision for you, you'll need to assess your options, fine tune your resumé and start thinking creatively about your next step. Not every CIO moves onto another C-level leadership role. Some IT executives are finding it both personally and financially rewarding to switch to consulting. Others follow more traditional venues by working their network and inserting themselves into a headhunter's gaze.

Learn more on finding consulting roles in ""When your CIO career ends, what comes next?" Also:

Do you have tips for others in the CIO role? Email Wendy Schuchart, Site Editor.

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