Turning a Corner? A CIO’s Job Search

For those of you that read my blog regularly know that I have been out of work since September. I have been looking but there have been very few opportunities since the October financial meltdown. In fact, it has been dead. I liken it to being in sailboat with no wind-aimlessly drifting in a void.

That is until this week. There have been at least a dozen job postings for senior level IT people in the New York area. What has happened in the last few weeks? Is the economy turning a corner? Are firms beginning to hire? Who knows?

I got two interesting phone calls this week. One was from a recruiter, “Hello. I have a client that is looking to expand IT operations into the northeast. What do they need to accomplish this task?” Now you must be chuckling to yourself. Is this recruiter serious? Before I could even begin to answer this question, I had to ask for more details. Any good executive would. Of course, the recruiter could not provide much in the way of any useful details. In fact, I gave her a list of questions to ask her client. I said before you begin calling executives you should have a clearer understanding of what exactly the client is trying to accomplish. The talent pool in the NYC arena is large but you have to know what to ask. If not you would embarrass yourself and your client.

The second phone call was from a HR person. We all know HR people are more clueless than anyone on the face of the planet. So any HR person that calls me I am always weary. This was no exception. “We have a small IT shop and we had to let some people go, which caused service levels to deteriorate and now business is suffering and we need to bring service levels back up to acceptable standards. Where should we focus our efforts?”

I asked both the recruiter and HR person that if their client/company wants help to answer these questions and help guide them I am more than willing to come in even on a consultant basis to help. Of course I got the “We are just in an exploration phase and not ready to bring people in at this time” answer.

Am I disappointed? No. I am actually happy to see that the job market is starting to have a pulse. Even though it seems to be a very slight pulse it is a pulse none-the-less. Things are not totally dead and maybe things will continue to improve for everyone. So I am still keeping my fingers crossed….

Advertisements

Résumés – Are You Lost? Here Are Some Clues

As a follow up to my post “Resumes-Are You Lost?” I received some great comments. When I wrote the post it was more of a humorous look at resumes and the confusion around them.

Being confused about resume is part of looking for a job. There is no magic bullet when it comes to resume writing.

Chris Osborn wrote the following:

Does the advice help tell your story? For instance, does the advice relate to something significant in your background or qualifications that might help market you for the sort of role you seek? If the answer is “yes”, then I suggest following the advice. If the advice is more about format or the style of the resume, I suggest polite listening, and then take only the advice that makes intuitive sense to YOU.

It is your resume, so you need to own it. After all, you are the person who has to deliver the goods in an interview or networking meeting.

So – my advice (and take only what you want!) is to:

1. Tell your story. Make sure the resume makes the statement you want to make about your qualifications for the targeted opportunity.
2. Make sure your resume shows how and what sort of value you can add in your next role.
3. Use the stories you would most want to tell during an interview as guides for accomplishments.

Lui Sieh wrote the following:

The lesson(s) is that “our story” is complicated and so we’ll need to have different versions of it. I frequently had 2-3 resumes depending on the audience and my target role. For headhunters, it’s about the “key words” – because that’s how the HR system works. For personal networking with potential hiring managers, it was more about the experience and the story should fit more to how they would like to know/read about your story. Sometimes, I had to ‘dumb down’ my resume as well – just to get in the door.

To summarize…Resumes are about your “Brand”. Focus on what your strengths are and try to create a story about yourself. With this approach, your accomplishments, capabilities, and talents yield a resume that is very focused and direct. In today’s job market, that is extremely important because of the exact and specific requirements of the jobs available.

Good luck…

12 Secrets To Finding a Job in a Down Economy

Yesterday I attend my first TENG meeting. The Technology Executives Networking Group. LLC (TENG) http://www.theteng.org. TENG is a great group with various chapters across the country.

 Last night they had 3 speakers come to discuss recruiting and how best to market oneself.

Let me paraphrase some of what was said:

  1. Senior executives should not post their resumes on free sites like Dice, Monster. There are unscrupulous recruiters out there who will use your resume without you approving.
  2. LinkedIn should be used wisely and discretionarily. Do not add contacts for the sake of adding contacts.
  3. Keep your resume to one page (page and a half max). Senior executives by their very nature should be able to summarize information including their career history. This forces you to remove the fluff and keep your information current. Who cares if you interned at Company XYZ in your senior year of college. Other senior executives will be reviewing your resume. Their time is precious. 
  4. Your resume should be treated like a first date. Only provide enough information to get a second date. Anymore and you have the possibility of scaring of the other person.
  5. If you have been working for sometime, it is not necessary to provide college information. Use this space for details about your current position. Again, who cares about your GPA 15+ years ago. You are a senior executive with proven experience.
  6. Create an eye catching summary statement. You are selling yourself. SO SELL YOURSELF!
  7. Be creative. In this market, you have to stand out from the pack.
  8. Stay in contact with your network. Send periodic updates to them.
  9. Be wary of recruiters that cold call you.  They are just trolling for information or mining you.
  10. Job postings on web sites usually mean the position has been filled. Very few senior executives get jobs via free websites. They get them through senior recruiters and networking.
  11. Build relationships with some recruiters. Have a handful of recruiter names in your rolodex that you have met you and know your skill-set and experience.
  12. Take chances. In a down economy, those that take risks get big rewards. You have nothing to loose.

Today Was Not A Good Day – But It Is Friday

I am not sure if this is good or bad. But I do feel a bit disappointed today.

I got three phone calls from three different recruiters for three different positions.

The first was for a director of infrastructure. The position came to me through an IT organization I belong to. I was a little suspect of the recruiter but decided to send my resume in. To my surprise I got a phone call immediately there after. He wanted me to “tweak” my resume, send back to him and follow up. I did and the next day I followed up. I called and emailed but no response. I was able to get him on the phone. He did not remember me or the position. I spent a few minutes explaining everything again. He said he will send my resume in a follow up with me in a fee days. It has been a few days, I called and left messages and email but no response.

I got another call from a recruiter that I had linked with this week. He said he got a position that was right for me and sent me the job description. It was great. Everything I was looking for: good location, good salary, good description that fit my background. The recruiter will follow up with me the next day. I was a little weary based on my previous experience but I wanted to not come across desperate. So I waited and to my surprise I got a phone call the next day. The message was short but I felt something was wrong. So I called back. The firm wants a “hands on” person–very hands on; Cisco engineer, windows admin, dba, dmz, CIO experience — literally a jack of all trades. The job description and my research on the firm hinted that this was a large firm. Not a good idea to have one guy doing everything. I told the recruiter that I was hands on but with the sophistication of enterprise architecture, my skill set is not at that level anymore. I am more management with an understanding of how things work in an enterprise environment. The recruiter apologized for not having all the facts about the position. He will keep me in mind for other positions.

Last, I got another call for a VP of technology. The recruiter called me and asked how me how many people did I support in my last or any position. I told him the amount and said this position required someone who had supported 500+ users. It would have been easy for me to lie but my professionalism took over. Yet another position which I was not right for. I don’t understand if you support 50 or 5000 people it is the not quantity but the quality of the support you provide.

So I did not get an interview this week but I was called 3 times from recruiters. Are things picking up? If so great, I can wait for the right position to come along.