CIO Job Search Advice - How to Know When It's Time to Move or start CIO job hunting.

Walk_out_the_doorThe first step in securing a new CIO role is recognizing when it is time to leave your current position. There are risks when leaving one company for another (out of the frying pan and into the fire), so you want to be certain that you are ready to leave before you start circulating your resume. Here are six signs that the time is right to make a move:

1. You’ve hit a ceiling

Maybe you’re a divisional CIO, but the global CIO isn’t likely to go anywhere for a while. Or perhaps you’re a VP of Application Development, and you just got a new boss. Rather than wait for an opening on the next rung up -- and risk stagnating in your current role -- it may make sense to look toward another company for job growth.

2. You’re a turnaround CIO in maintenance mode

Most CIOs thrive on leading change. If you were hired to fix IT, or to steer a corporate transformation, you may want to move when that journey ends. Ideally, once you’ve turned around an organization, you'll start to innovate and help the company grow. But not every company is able to invest in enough technology-driven innovation to keep you challenged. If incremental change isn't your thing, it's time to go out and find another big, hairy problem to solve.

3. There's a new reporting structure

If you've been reporting to the CEO, and he or she decides you should report elsewhere, that's a clear signal that the company's IT priorities are changing. If you suddenly find yourself reporting to the CFO, who is more focused on cutting IT costs than investing in IT to grow the business, it may be time to get out.

4. Your company is for sale

If your company or division is on the block, you may face one of the following three scenarios:

  • You'll be asked to downsize your organization to cut costs before the sale.
  • You will be offered a package and asked to leave.
  • Once the sale takes place, you will be replaced by the CIO of the acquiring company.

Although a sale could open up new opportunities for you in the new, larger company, it's best to have a job search under way while you wait to find out. Even if the acquiring company offers you a new job, you may not love the new culture or management style and decide to move on, regardless.

5. You don't like your new boss

When you first took your current job, you were probably excited to work with the person hiring you. If that person leaves, and you don't see eye to eye with his or her replacement, it may make sense to begin a job search. Perhaps you have thrived in a consensus-driven organization, and your new CEO’s command and control approach doesn’t work for you. As you spend the time doing your best to nurture the new relationship, you should also be evaluating new opportunities.

6. Your company or industry is failing.

Staying with a dying company that cannot reinvent itself to survive will give you valuable experience, build character, and teach you enough lessons to fill a book. But, you're not obligated to go down with the ship. Once you’ve gained all of the experience you can, it may be time to look elsewhere. If your whole industry is in trouble, consider moving to an industry in growth mode.

Keep in mind that a job search may take six months or more, particularly if you're limiting it based on geography, or you're targeting a specific industry or narrowly defined field. If signs point to a less than positive future in your current organization, start your job search now.

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