What every IT executive should do to be prepared at all times for unexpected career turbulence.

Life at work is never static. Like a fast-flowing river running to the sea, things are constantly in motion. You may be forging forward with your head down, doing the best you can, when you turn a corner and directly in front of you appears a rapid:wild, deep, and full of corporate boulders. An executive suite shake-up; a re-organization, perhaps. All of a sudden you are wondering about the stability of your position.

During these unforeseen changes, I’ve seen many a technology executive dive into the waters of the job market totally unprepared to do so.

Preparation Trumps Desperation

Hoping for the best, or a rope to be tossed their way, these executives throw together a lackluster resume, call a favorite recruiter or two, describe their situations and say something like: “I need something, anything, just get me out of here!”

However, rushing into job search without preparation is like drifting in a boat without paddles – you won’t land where you want to. You will probably land somewhere eventually, but you’ve left too much to chance to be confident of a smooth ride and a soft landing.

Often you can’t help the need to rush, especially when circumstances beyond your control present themselves, but with a little forethought you can be prepared – and preparation trumps desperation, any day of the week.

In fact, you should always be prepared.

“Procrastination is not only the thief of time, it is also the thief of opportunities.”


Being prepared will make all the difference as to whether you will secure the position you want, in the timeframe you want, or not. Trust me on this point. Over the years I’ve watched many of my clients close on new jobs in six weeks or less after launching their job search – compared to 26 weeks for executives that don’t prepare ahead of time. Why struggle for an extra five months to land where you want when it just wasn’t necessary?

Correct Job Search Preparation is Key

Some people do prepare, but incorrectly. As a result their boats are tossed about, or worse, are capsized, never making it to their desired destination. They end up swimming to shore, wet and worse for wear. All of which could have been avoided.

Every executive should have an up-to-date and well written resume ready to go at any time. Your resume should include powerful statements of business impact, quantified and highly marketable. It should also be branded; highlighting a personal brand and value proposition unique to you. If you cannot clearly articulate these, you are not properly prepared to compete in the marketplace, and this will put you at a disadvantage.

These are the paddles that will help you outmaneuver your competition and present yourself as the perfect candidate for the best positions. They will also direct your course toward those positions as they provide focus, and control of direction.

It takes more than a great resume, executive brand and value proposition, however, to find and secure the job you want. Most executive positions are in the hidden job market. You need a map and plan.

I call this S.M.A.R.T© Job Search – knowing and employing the right Strategies, Methods, Approaches, Resources and Techniques to uncover where the best opportunities are, and then being able to swiftly navigate, land, and cinch your mooring into the executive job you want.

Having the right job search strategy includes how to network naturally so that your network works for you to propel you forward. If you don’t know how to garner this type of support, it’s as if you are drifting alone.

Navigating the swift currents of job search necessitates a combination of strategy and execution. You’ve prepared, you have a map and a plan, next dip the paddles in and take the appropriate action (this is the execution of your self-marketing plan) to move quickly towards your goal.

Plan While Waters Are Calm

CIO jobsEven if you feel that your position is relatively safe, and that the waters are relatively calm where you are, seize the opportunity now to prepare yourself. Procrastination is not only the thief of time, it is also the thief of opportunities. Unbeknown to you there may be a fabulous opportunity about to open up, one that would be perfect for you if you are ready to go when it presents itself. Unless you’ve prepared ahead of time, however, you could miss out on it, while someone else – who had prepared - sails right in and takes your place.

As a Brain-Based Career Success Coach certified in neuroscientific approaches, I can tell you that preparation will flow for you when you are in a calm frame of mind. So prepare when you are not under pressure. Why wait until you cannot think straight and are in a fight-or-flight mode? It doesn’t make sense. You’ll feel out of control, as if you are trying to paddle in a whirlpool, and you won’t be able to prepare properly.

So, think ahead and begin preparing now for your next desired position, for the opportunity that’s about to open up, or for that corporate torrent of heavy currents and boulders that may be just around the corner.

Technology executives who do not prepare ahead of time find themselves tossed about in swift and changing waters and the storms of corporate weather that cause them to get off-course in their career. Those who prepare, however, are confident and ready to outmaneuver any boulder, anytime, and swiftly move into their next position, while their peers are head-first in a sand bank, wondering what just happened.

Before you launch, be smart. Be prepared and ready to go with the right map and plan.

Happy landing!

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