Executive Job Search & Career Transitions

Whether you are already a Chief Technology Officer, or aspiring to become one, it is important to understand how an executive job search works for a tech position and the forecasts for the future of these positions. What opportunities, threats and risks face the technology industry?
All businesses, no matter the size, industry or corporate model, have been affected by the constant, rapid changes of the digital world and its impact on business. As an aspiring CTO/CIO, or as an already established CTO/CIO, this constant change is particularly relevant. It is paramount that you are up-to date with the latest innovations and certainly looking beyond these to embrace your own innovative ideas to share.

The opportunities for executive career transition have not diminished, regardless of what you have read in the media.  As the world shrinks and industries converge, a systematic approach to identifying opportunities can yield the best results. Based on my experiences over the years and seeing several senior executives make successful transitions, here’s an overview of five options that are available for executives seeking a career transition:

New Survey Shows that 62% of executives expect to remain in their current industry for the next four years or more, while 38% expect to be in a new industry within three years.
Are you being challenged enough in your work place? Have you become a bit complacent in your job? Should you consider whether the job you currently hold is pushing you to your full potential? Whether you have or have not contemplated a career move, join Joanna Miller, Career Transition expert and experienced executive search consultant for the ‘Career Transition: Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ BlueSteps seminar on Thursday, September 27th (click here to register).
  1. Dismiss Age Discrimination Thoughts - Flip that mental age discrimination switch to the “off” position. Think age-neutral. Focus on “connecting” to the interviewer before any real questioning starts. Banish any thoughts that reflect “reverse age discrimination” where you believe a young person can’t possibly understand you – get them to understand your enthusiasm, skills, interests and ability to contribute.
  2. Emphasize Capabilities, Not Experience - We have learned to equate experience to depth and strength of capabilities – don’t do it. It generally serves to de-emphasize duration of experience. Focus on the capabilities acquired during your executive experience.
A colleague recently suggested that we abandon the term “job search” because of the negative connotations it can have—such as desperately searching for something you don’t have and might find hard to get. In its place, he proposed the term “job-acquisition strategy.” Senior managers and executives certainly understand the concept of strategy—it’s practically part of their DNA!—so this makes perfect sense in many ways. Theoretically, anyway. But how does it play out in the real world?

Has it been more than 10 years since you launched an executive job search campaign? If you are among the few fortunate executives who have enjoyed a long, consistent career with the same company, an unexpected thrust in unemployment or career transition can really turn your world upside down.

Even if you are Internet savvy, you can easily become overwhelmed by the growing maze of job search boards, company databases, and online recruiting networks unless you have a solid job search strategy plan. It is essential to understand that while it is critical to engage in online job search activities, it should only be a portion—not the entire component—of your job search strategy plan.

There is the adage that the average person will change careers several times in his or her lifetime. Depending on where you get your information, the actual number of changes fluctuates between as little as three and as many as ten, but the message is the same, people do change industries and they do it successfully. Here are three important steps to take when planning and executing a career transition:

In their new book, You Need a Leader - Now What?, James M. Citrin and Julie Hembrock Daum present key skills that hiring organizations need in order to fill leadership positions. Based on decades of experience at AESC member search firm Spencer Stuart, Citrin and Daum offer valuable advice to help organizations assess the benefits of experience versus potential, and also talent from within versus talent from outside, in choosing leaders, all within the context of critical pressures such as technology, diversity, and economic forces.

With growth in the financial services sector expected to lag behind other industries, 2012 may be the ideal year to make an industry transition. There are a number of ways to clarify your career focus and create an effective strategy to achieve your goal:
  • Evaluate your strengths and identify transferable skills. Looking back on your professional path, consider career milestones and the key challenges you successfully confronted. What skills did you demonstrate? Practice telling your “career success stories” in a way that showcases those skills … and the results you attained. Hiring managers know that past performance is an ideal indicator of future success.