by Mark Cummuta

Interviews A Function of Networking Effort

Aug 20, 20074 mins

I recently received my first negative comment on one of my blog entries. The author of the comment asserted that my job search wasn’t realistic. This person’s comment made me realize that I had neglected some information in my blog entries. With today’s blog post, I hope to clear up any confusion.

I have been a CIO, CTO, VP of IT, practice head, or similarly titled head of IT for nearly ten years now. When my first CTO position ended nearly ten years ago, it took me over six months to find a comparable position. I learned a great deal over those 6+ months. First and foremost was how much my family depended on me: My wife stays at home to take care of our triplets (and works harder than me at that job, let me tell you!). So I had to overcome my ego and take some lower-paying consulting jobs to pay the bills. I also learned the basics of networking: how it works, how each person plays their part, and more importantly, how vital networking is to finding jobs at this level.

Jump ahead ten years to 2007, I have noted in my other Job Search blog entries (1, 2, 3, 4) that in early June I had correctly anticipated that my position was likely to be either moved to Las Vegas or eliminated entirely. I also wrote about the soul-searching I did during the two to three weeks after I realized that my position was going to be eliminated. During those weeks I had already started networking with my closest friends and contacts, knowing how important networking is to any job search. Then in late June / early July, I made this job search my full-time JOB and put myself into “Mission Mode”. Finally, on July 16th, I landed my first interview, and with a firm in one of my primary target industries.

So, in one sense my critic was correct in that I did not truly land my first interview in only two weeks, since I had started networking before my last day. I was actually interviewing closer to three weeks after I officially started my job search in earnest, but, that was also four weeks before my last day, which was August 15th.

This brings me to another point that I neglected to note previously. At this level of senior management it takes most if not all of us time to find our next position. That could be weeks or even months. And yes, sometimes we have to take interim positions to pay the bills. Having learned that my ego heals faster when I am taking care of my family, I was able to focus on the positives of these interim positions. For example, as the old adage goes, it’s easier to find a job when you already have one. Also, look for ways to turn the short-term negatives into long-term positives. In my case nearly ten years ago, I turned a short-term Regional Practice Manager position into gold by successfully making that region the best in the company, setting new standards and earning awards for our team. Those publicly announced awards and recognitions caught the attention of an executive recruiter who then called me for what ended up becoming my next CTO position.

The purpose of this blog is to publicly show what steps I take through my real life job search, along with its highs and lows, triumphs and pitfalls. Further, I hope to engage in an open dialogue with all our readers with your tips and hints, so that together we all benefit from our collective experience. Because in the end, that’s what networking is all about.