You might think that senior-level IT leaders have a lock on the art of landing jobs. After all, that\u2019s partly how they reached such lofty heights, right?\n\nBut you\u2019d be wrong. CIOs, vice presidents, directors \u2014 all make similar mistakes when they are on a job prowl, executive recruiters say. The two most common, and most fatal, are talking too much during an interview and resumes that are either too braggadocious or that go on and on and on.\n\n\u201cOur record was a 55-page resume,\u201d says Judy Kirby, CEO of Kirby Partners, an executive search firm. \u201cNot even their mother is going to read that.\u201d\n\nHere is a look at a dozen common mistakes even seasoned IT leaders make when looking to land new jobs, according to experts who can help.\n\nGoing grandiose\n\nCharley Betzig, managing director of Heller Search Associates, has seen two candidates in the past year lose out on opportunities because of too-grandiose resumes. \u201cThese were great candidates, and we did our darndest to try to work with them to rewrite their resumes.\u201d Both refused.\n\nBetzig suggests instead sticking to the facts and keeping your resume \u201cclean\u201d by eschewing trendy design and offbeat type faces.\n\nFinally, save your patents and published papers for the end of your resume and don\u2019t lead with this information, Betzig says. \u201cEmployers don\u2019t really care about that stuff,\u201d he adds.\n\nFailing to back up claims\n\nIn addition to holding your resume to a reasonable length, make sure it notes specific accomplishments. \u201cI am a visionary innovator\u201d doesn\u2019t mean much to anyone wanting to learn about your credentials. (What did you innovate? In what way was that visionary?) Instead, talk about what your team produced and how, exactly, this helped your company create a new product, save money or time, generate revenue, or enter a new market.\n\nShow, don\u2019t just tell, how you\u2019ve met specific challenges, whether strategic or operational.\n\nChoosing \u2018me\u2019 over \u2018we\u2019\n\nSimilar to going grandiose, too many IT leaders forget that leadership is often more about team accomplishments than personal accolades.\n\nBoth on your resume and during interviews, recruiters emphasize focusing on \u2018we,\u2019 not \u2018me.\u2019 Nobody wants to hire someone who sucks all the oxygen out of the room or doesn\u2019t play well with others. Make sure to share the credit with others on your team, and don\u2019t talk trash about any company or person you\u2019ve worked for.\n\nMisunderstanding what makes a good interview\n\nWhile you\u2019re interviewing, answer the questions as succinctly as possible. Remember you\u2019re not driving here; the interviewer is. \u201cBe a listener first,\u201d Betzig says. \u201cMake sure it\u2019s a conversation; listen and react.\u201d He says that candidates are often so excited about landing an interview \u2014 or want to convey all their experience during the time allotted \u2014 that \u201cthey\u2019re just bursting.\u201d\n\nResist that impulse, and keep each of your answers to five minutes, maximum. Recently \u201cwe had a guy we thought was a great fit,\u201d Betzig says. He had the qualifications and was a local candidate for the role. But the hiring company reported back that during the hour-plus interview, they were able to ask him only three questions because he talked so much.\n\n\u201cIt was tough for them to imagine putting this person in front of their executives,\u201d Betzig explains, and they wouldn\u2019t consider doing another interview with him.\n\nOverlooking the power of practice\n\nIf you\u2019re working with an executive recruiter, that firm will likely do at least one mock interview with you and will video you in the process. \u201cThat can be a very sobering experience, to see yourself in action,\u201d Kirby says. The recruiter will give you tips about how to improve your interviewing skills and resume because, after all, he or she gets paid if you do land the role, from the company that posted the job. It\u2019s wise to take their advice.\n\nAnd if you flame out after the first interview, you can often get feedback from the recruiter that you wouldn\u2019t be able to get directly from the hiring manager because of perceived or real legal constraints.\n\nIf you\u2019re looking for a job without the help of a recruiter, Kirby suggests you still enlist a trusted friend or peer to do a mock interview \u2014 and video it. Check to ensure you show enthusiasm for the job without being over the top, and make sure you answer the questions succinctly and without grandstanding.\n\nNot seeing yourself clearly\n\nSpending 20 years or longer at the same company isn\u2019t necessarily viewed as favorably as it used to be, says Shawn Bannerji, managing partner for the data, digital, and technology leaders practice at Caldwell. Back in the day, it was considered a sign of loyalty to stick it out that long. But these days, staying at the same place for decades can be a negative.\n\nThe question is whether a person who\u2019s been immersed in the same culture for so long \u201ccan be successful outside the norms of that specific organization,\u201d Bannerji says. Many of the traditional leaders in their respective industries \u2014 such as GE, IBM, Morgan Stanley, and P&G \u2014 have multiple systems and processes set up to ensure their employees\u2019 success, he explains.\n\nAfter spending so long in one place, IT leaders can perhaps successfully transfer their expertise and skills to another organization or industry. But some hiring managers feel this category of candidate should \u201cgo somewhere else and prove it first, and then I\u2019ll hire them,\u201d Bannerji says.\n\nIf you do find yourself wanting to move on after a long stint in one company \u2014 anything over seven years \u2014 spend time thinking through exactly how your skills are transferrable. And make sure that is reflected on both your resume and in interviews.\n\nFailing to have foresight\n\nIT leaders seeking to build their careers further need to take the approach of successful pool players and think at least two moves ahead. Where are you in your career, and where do you want to be? How do your pay and benefits compare to those of your peers? That\u2019s another strike against staying at one place too long; company lifers tend to miss out on the same pay jumps that more nimble IT leaders generally receive.\n\nCareer paths used to be more straight-line; \u201cyou\u2019d work hard, get good reviews, and assume that path would lead to recognition, rewards, and promotions,\u201d Bannerji explains. \u201cBut we\u2019ve seen a departure of this path,\u201d he says. People who want to rise in their careers need to acquire new skills and competencies, and \u201cdevelop a portfolio that\u2019s a professional calling card\u201d or else \u201copportunities can pass them by.\u201d\n\nHe advises you to find a mentor who can act as a career sherpa to \u201cadvise you how to invest your professional capital\u201d and to help you determine which skills you should be focusing on at any point in time. If, say, you\u2019ve spent a decade in infrastructure, try to develop more direct business acumen and broader management or strategy expertise.\n\nGetting rusty on tech\n\nConversely, a business degree and strategy proficiency alone won\u2019t cut it as a CIO in today\u2019s world. \u201cThe role is evolving to have more substantive technical dimensions,\u201d Bannerji explains. \u201cCybersecurity, AI, machine learning, the journey to the cloud\u201d are all important on a resume today. Digital supply chains and other areas also require technical chops.\n\nIt\u2019s also important to understand product development because IT is expected to help or sometimes even lead in that regard.\n\nNot honoring the job description\n\nIt can be tempting, and sometimes okay, to ignore some things on a job description\u2019s checklist that don\u2019t fit. But if you apply for a position that specifies an advanced college degree as a minimum requirement, and you have a bachelor\u2019s, don\u2019t expect to land the interview no matter how much experience you may have.\n\nAlso make sure the job is something you really can handle. If the organization wants an implementer, and you\u2019ve been mostly a strategist, \u201cthat\u2019s not the same thing,\u201d Kirby says. Even if you force-fit things and you\u2019re lucky enough to be hired, chances are good that the position won\u2019t be sustainable for very long and you\u2019ll be job-hunting again before you know it.\n\nAnd, if you don\u2019t calculate all the key elements correctly \u2014 position, company, pay, and location \u2014 you can \u201cthrow off the entire equation,\u201d Bannerji adds.\n\nLosing sight of the social-media details\n\nParticularly at the senior or executive level, you and your entire family are on view. Hiring managers routinely check social-media accounts for inappropriate photos or posts, especially regarding you and your spouse, for a clue about how you both might conduct yourselves at corporate events and how you represent yourselves in the broader world.\n\nIf you don\u2019t want people snooping, adjust your social accounts\u2019 privacy settings while you\u2019re job hunting \u2014 and suggest that all the members of your immediate family do the same. Something that\u2019s \u2018cool\u2019 or \u2018cute\u2019 or \u2018funny\u2019 might not translate the same to anyone who doesn\u2019t already know you.\n\nYou might survive an Instagram photo of yourself barbequing in your Speedo, if you insist on keeping that visible online, but make sure your LinkedIn account and other more professional venues don\u2019t show you in sweatpants or risqu\u00e9 clothing, or looking (or acting) inebriated. Vet your videos and invest in some professional photos.\n\nKirby recalls a situation when one company\u2019s internal candidate was determined to sabotage his closest rival, an external candidate. The internal person found photos of the external guy at a party with drinks in both hands and acting goofy, all while standing next to an X-rated cardboard cutout. Internal Guy emailed the photos to hiring managers, and in the process both candidates were thrown out of contention.\n\nYou can still be you, of course; just don\u2019t leave any potentially damaging documentation of your wildest moments in places where recruiters or hiring managers can find it.\n\nFailing to read the room\n\nTo survive executive-level interviews, you must hone your emotional quotient (EQ) skills, Kirby advises.\n\n\u201cOne of our candidates was showing off his deep knowledge of baseball and failed to notice that one of the other people in the room had her eyes glazed over.\u201d It cost him the job.\n\nForgoing leveraging your network\n\nJob hunters \u201coften don\u2019t want to be a bother to their contacts,\u201d Heller\u2019s Betzig says. \u201cBut that\u2019s a big mistake. Your contacts want to be there for you, to be the person to help you find your next job.\u201d Make time to network; he advises reaching out to five to 10 contacts each day.\n\nGet in touch with everyone you know from your former jobs and those you\u2019ve met in various professional organizations, explain what you\u2019re looking to do and ask if they\u2019ve heard of anything related to that and to let you know if they do. \u201cChances are that IT leaders\u2019 next jobs will come from their network,\u201d Betzig adds.