by Meridith Levinson

Consultants Seeking CIO Job Should Think Small

Nov 28, 20072 mins

Landing a CIO job has never been easy for consultants. Companies, especially big ones, tend to shy away from candidates with consulting backgrounds, worrying that they lack the tact, political savvy, and ability to operate with an existing IT staff and within a limited budget necessary to be successful, says Steve Kendrick, an executive recruiter with Spencer Stuart’s global information officers practice.

So if you’re a consultant, your best bet is to market yourself to small and midsize companies. Smaller companies with growth goals often seek to leverage your experience working in different industries or with other companies in the same industry.

A number of consultants have recently bucked the trend and landed CIO jobs:

Brian O’Connell proved his mettle to The Hartford Financial Services Group after working on a project for the company while employed by Accenture. He was hired as CIO of Hartford Life in October.

Jeremy Gill had been advising $651 million engineering firm Michael Baker on its information security practices when it hired him as its vice president of IT, also in October.

Roger Johnsen provided executive IT consulting services to iTerra Communications and Google before being hired as $10.8 million Intraware’s vice president of IT in September.

Steve Dewsnap had been working for Mace Security International as an independent consultant for five years before the $49 million defense products company hired him in September.

Tim Kutz worked in Accenture’s global forest products practice before joining privately held paper and packaging distributor Unisource Worldwide in August.

So, consultants, don’t despair. There’s prejudice out there, but you can beat it.