Changing jobs can be one of life’s most traumatic events. When it comes at the end of the year and during the holidays, it can be even more stressful. Recently I talked with three health system CIOs who are looking for new opportunities. Their reasons for leaving varied, but their tactics for moving forward are similar. If you are in the job market right now, I want to share some insights into what you need to do to prepare yourself for a smooth transition. Here are their scenarios and my recommendations.
Scenario One: Resigned position
The first CIO I spoke with was at a large, independent faith-based hospital and had successfully implemented an electronic medical record system. He decided to leave his VP/CIO position because of drastic changes at the organization. The CEO was retiring, the COO left the organization, and the Board was playing a heavy hand. There were limited IT resources and no executive buy-in to make the EMR a success. He said he could not relocate due to family reasons, but he was open to travel. What should he do?
My recommendations to him included:
- Consider becoming an independent HIT consultant or look at HIT consulting or HIT vendor firms for opportunities
- Improve resume with a strong well-worded professional summary, brief descriptions of his employers, and include key accomplishments and HIT vendors utilized
- Update LinkedIn profile, include a professionally taken photo and expand networking and connections
- Communicate with business references and ask for recommendations
Scenario Two: Merged and let go
The second CIO I spoke with learned that after a year of merger talks between his six hospital system and another six hospital system, his role as CIO had ended. The other health system’s CEO and CIO would lead the newly formed health system. The laid off CIO said he was open to relocation and had a generous severance package. He had a strong track record as a CIO at a large, multi-hospital system with successful EMR implementations. What should he do?
My recommendation to him included:
- Reformat and reorganize resume for flow and ease of reading, separate each promotion and add accomplishments under each title
- Connect with as many HIT people as possible, attend networking conference, and expand writing and speaking
- Consider HIT consulting assignments in the interim, until another CIO/provider role becomes available
- Expand LinkedIn profile, add connections and more HIT groups
- Consider getting an advanced degree or MBA
- Communicate regularly with reputable retained executive recruiters, and offer your resume for their candidate database
Scenario Three: Eliminated position
The third CIO was laid off when her for-profit academic health system eliminated her CIO role after major cost cutting and organizational changes. She reported directly to the CEO and left with strong references. She wanted to stay in a certain region of the country, but could relocate in that region or travel. What should she do?
My recommendation to her included:
- Expand resume (it was only two pages), include demographics on employers — which would add credibility since her employers are top health systems, include EMR and CPOE accomplishments
- Attend HIT conferences, let your network know about your job hunt
- Improve LinkedIn profile by adding a professionally taken photo, more details of accomplishments, add more connections and recommendations
- Research openings in your desired location, apply directly
- Develop a strong list of business references and don’t overuse them
Remember, if you are actively looking, this is the time to make sure your “brand” is polished and professional. Social media now dictates how your identity is perceived by thousands. Your resume and cover letter are important, but savvy hiring managers will scour the Internet to learn more about you. Leaving a position is hard, but new opportunities can offer immense learning experiences. Seek out advice if you are in a job hunt. I enjoy being a career coach and so do many other executive recruiters. Heed our recommendations and move on to your next best HIT leadership opportunity.