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Targeting Your Next Career Move

August 26, 2008
by Tim Tolan
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Many CIO’s and other HCIT executives I speak to are looking for their next move in an effort to maximize their skills, reputation and earning power. While their goals seem logical and well thought out, many of them have no idea how to target their next opportunity.

I tell candidates to always look at their next job search like they would when setting targets and objectives of the department they currently manage. In other words, if it’s a goal that’s great! However, if it’s not a written goal with clear objectives on how you plan to get there, then it’s simply a wish or a hope, and as you already know “hope is not a strategy”.

I recommend that you inventory the following details to better target your next career move:

1. “Define Your Non-Negotiable’s”. This is the criteria you establish on the things that matter most to you! It could be the outline of the timing of when you would like to make your next move, a detailed definition of the type of role you are seeking, the geographical boundaries where you and your family want to live, the compensation package you are seeking and most important, the type of cultural organization where you feel you can make a difference. This is not by any means a complete list, but it’s a start.

2. “Leveraging Your Network”. You also need to identify key people in your network that you can begin to have confidential networking conversations with and that you know you can trust. Remember, you are simply engaging them because you trust their opinion. Who knows, their internal network may actually be where your next assignment could come from. You also need to grow your professional network by using web based tools like

LinkedIn. It’s a wonderful tool that really extends and takes your network of contacts to a whole new level.

3. Seek the Help of Professional Search Consultants.

I promise you this is NOT self-serving! Having a search professional in your corner that truly adds value can mean a world of difference in the outcome of your job search. Not only may such firms have inside access to companies and positions that you otherwise may not have even known were out there, but they can also really help you sell yourself to these companies. Work with firms that spend most of their time on retained search assignments. To locate the list of firms in the HCIT space, you should consider using

Kennedy’s Executive Search Directory.

4. Take Action. All the research and networking in the world will NOT matter if you do not take action to develop a plan to move forward. Period! Write down your goals and develop a timeline of action items you need to accomplish your objective. Talk is cheap. Take action and things will begin to happen for you. Finding a new CIO gig does not happen in a 30 day window. You need to be realistic about the time it will take you to find your next assignment, but you should know that it WILL take forever if you don’t have clear written goals on where you want to be in the your next assignment. So what are you waiting for? Go for it!

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