CXO

10 skills that can help you land an IT manager job

Your experience and tech credentials might make you a strong candidate for an IT manager position, but the CIO may be looking for something more. Find out how playing up certain nontechnical attributes can help you stand out from the competition and tip the hiring decision in your favor.

Your experience and tech credentials might make you a strong candidate for an IT manager position, but the CIO may be looking for something more. Find out how playing up certain nontechnical attributes can help you stand out from the competition and tip the hiring decision in your favor.


Maybe you have the skills and experiences that the CIO is looking for in a certain position — but there will probably be at least 20 other applicants with similar resumes on the CIO's desk. The 10 traits listed below extend beyond the required skills and can help set you apart from the other candidates. As you review the list, pull out your resume and try to correlate work and project examples that tie in to these traits so that you can introduce these added skills in cover letters and during interviews.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: A self-starter attitude

CIOs want employees who take initiative and want to do a good job. Being proactive is an excellent trait as long as it's consistent with the mission.

#2: Adaptability to change

Our IT world is constantly changing and those who are adaptable tend to achieve more. Managers need employees who can adapt to change and maintain high levels of productivity even in uncertain times.

#3: Appreciation for good customer service

People who understand the importance of client service know that clients, or users, are the reason we have an IT career. They also know how to take precautions when working on issues that can cause downtime and loss of productivity.

#4: Team player

Too many excellent technicians lose their value to an organization when they can't work effectively in a team environment. Demonstrating an ability to work successfully with mixed teams of IT staff and users is a tangible asset.

#5: Proven commitment

CIOs want people they know will go the extra mile when called on to take care of a situation — those who will do what it takes to succeed individually and for the team. True performers come through under pressure.

#6: A strong desire to achieve

It's hard to teach people to want to succeed if they don't already have the desire. Having such a desire puts an emphasis on getting important issues resolved, and CIOs need people who know when a situation calls for all hands on deck.

#7: Problem-solving skills

Putting out fires is a big part of any IT manager's role, and competence doesn't necessarily mean a manager has to have all the answers. Good managers are willing to work hard to find answers and enjoy the challenges that land on their desks.

#8: Solid communication skills

Having the ability to communicate effectively with others is necessary in most IT management roles. IT managers communicate with everyone these days — from the CIO to the internal user to the external client. Strong verbal and written communication skills can set you apart from many of your peers.

#9: Strong follow-up skills

Nothing is more frustrating for a CIO than to have a manager drop the ball by not following up on a commitment or issue. It probably harms the credibility of the IT organization more than anything else does. The ability to follow up shows commitment and an understanding of client service.

#10: Low maintenance

CIOs want managers who can operate individually and solve problems and who won't create unneeded personnel or workplace issues. No CIO wants a manager tapping them on the shoulder all day, double-checking things and seeking help. The manager who requires minimal direction and who can deal with issues while ensuring that the appropriate steps are being taken is a valuable asset.

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