First, the bad news: whether you want to get a promotion with your existing employer, or you're looking for a better job somewhere (anywhere) else, simply being good - or even great - at your job is not enough.
As Vicky Maxwell Davies, partner at executive headhunters Boyden and co-head of its CIO practice, notes: "A lot of people, particularly IT people, feel that if they just do a really good job that's enough.
"Unfortunately, life isn't fair - and you have to make sure people know you've done a good job," she said.
So if you're aiming for a new job, either in your own organisation or in uncharted waters, silicon.com has put together a list of the 10 must-dos for IT workers and CIOs wanting to stand out as the top candidates for that top job.
1. Work on the hot project
To get ahead in the careers race, job seekers need to manoeuvre themselves to end up working on the project that will be the most visible, in as well as out of the company, and bring the most value to the business.
Tim Cook, co-head of the information officers practice at executive recruitment firm Russell Reynolds, told silicon.com that if IT staff want to progress to senior levels, they have to avoid staying in internal consulting roles.
"If you are in an internal consulting role then at some point you have got to get off that role and into a role where you've got some hard-edged delivery that you are responsible for," he said.
According to Cook, in the process of delivering a major project, workers can demonstrate to potential employers that they have the necessary skills to hold a high-level role.
"You've got to be able to master lots of things. You've got to prioritise, you've got to be able to deal with setbacks and problems, you've probably got to negotiate with third parties both internally and externally," he said.
IT workers wanting to move up the corporate ladder need to work on a project that is going to show their ability to change the business, Boyden's Maxwell Davies told silicon.com.
"You need to do something that is going to look great on your CV. Often that is going to be a big transformation programme, something that is really going to impact how the business works," she said.
2. Speak to the head hunters
For IT staff that feel opportunities are lacking in their current organisation, contacting a head hunter could be a good move: Russell Reynold's Cook said that his firm receives CVs all the time and that even if IT employees just want advice, head hunters can be a useful resource.
"I do think it is important to keep an eye on the external marketplace just so that you can see what other people's perspectives on your career so far are," he said.
3. Polish your LinkedIn profile
Looking up potential hires on LinkedIn is now a mainstay of executive recruitment, so individuals looking for a better job should make sure their profile is up to scratch.
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