Senior level IT job searches - CIO, CISO, CDO, etc. - can be slow and frustrating, even for the most talented and qualified of candidates. In her latest guest blog, career coach Charlotte Weeks recommends some fresh tactics to speed things up.
While the United States is currently experiencing a historically low unemployment rate, that doesn’t always translate into an easy or fast job search for senior IT executives. Even though the overall numbers are great, it’s much more complicated when you’re looking for a specific role at a senior level – CIO or CISO, for example – a role you WANT, at a company that interests you, a position for which you are qualified, meets your compensation requirements, and is located near where you live.
Though it’s generally recommended to be focused in your job search, sometimes it helps to cast a wider net. If you have been networking, speaking with recruiters, and reviewing job postings, but still aren’t finding opportunities that appeal to you, it may be time to explore different options.
8 ways to uncover more good job opportunities
- Look outside of your geographic location: This can be as drastic as moving across the country, but it doesn’t have to be. Is there another business hub located in your region? Even if taking on a longer commute is not ideal, you may find the distance acceptable if you don’t need to go into the office each day.
- Consider a new industry: It’s typically easier to change industries than job functions, and in this digital era, technology is a critical component of every organization. What sectors are in demand where you live? What types of companies have you previously worked in that you might want to revisit?
- Go beyond job titles: While job titles can be extremely helpful in narrowing your focus and communicating your goals to your network, they don’t always tell the whole story. If you’re pursuing C-level positions in small companies, an SVP role at a larger company could be comparable in terms of pay and responsibility, and could even offer better growth potential.
- Take a second look at a company: Sometimes we KNOW something won’t be a good fit. However, things also change over time. If there’s an organization you passed up earlier in your career, or didn’t even consider, they may be worth revisiting. The company could have different leadership, they might have merged with another organization, or they may have adopted a completely new strategy.
- Make a lateral move: Careers rarely follow the traditional corporate ladder anymore. In fact, it’s more commonly compared to a jungle gym! If your motivation to get a rewarding new position is stronger than your desire to advance upward at this point, going for a job similar to the one you’re currently in could give you more options. This is particularly true if you are changing industries or your area of specialization.
- Be persistent about your target companies: Even if you haven’t yet had luck yet, if you’ve been networking and applying at companies you feel are the right match for your abilities and interests, don’t stop! You’re becoming a “warm lead” and when an opportunity does arise, you’ll be the person that comes to mind.
- Try to make changes in your current job: Is there a cool new initiative starting that interests you, and for which you can raise your hand? If your commute is too hard, many companies are getting more comfortable with flexible work-from-home arrangements. Ask about it. If the issue is money, have you asked for a raise? Even if you eventually decide to leave, orchestrating some changes now can make your situation more tolerable in the meantime.
- Be patient: This is not what anyone looking for a job wants to hear, but there are times that a search can take longer than you’d expect. Even the most successful, highly marketable IT executives have commented to me that the job search process can be frustratingly slow. Reasons for this include holidays, vacations, and the fact that many of the hiring managers who need to interview you travel extensively and have much on their plates. But even if it feels like nothing is happening, keep up your search activity because you’re building a foundation that will reward you in the long run.
When you want a new position as soon as possible, you may be tempted to take anything that comes your way. There are times when this is not such a bad idea. If you need immediate income or health insurance, for example, you may decide the trade off is worth it for a year or two. However, if you are able to, take the time to make an educated decision so you don’t end up accepting a job solely out of impatience or fear.