CIO Symmetry

Jan 7 2011   2:43PM GMT

CIO resumes: Passing the eyeball test and the black ink test

Scot Petersen Scot Petersen Profile: Scot Petersen

Judging character and qualifications is a tough thing. The annual debate over the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting is going on, following the announcement of the two newest members, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, this week.

The voters are always asked to justify their votes: Do they go by stats, by whether or not a player used steroids, or by longevity? Some use the “black ink” test, which judges a player by how often he led the league in a certain statistical category, noted by bold type in the statistical record. Others use the “eyeball test,” a more qualitative judgment for those players whose stats don’t quite measure up.

For my money, stats are important, but the eyeball test, whether it’s voting for the Hall of Fame or hiring the right person for a job, is a better measure of a person’s worth, because overall value is not always the sum of someone’s stats or stops along a career path.

For technology executives looking for a job in 2011, the qualitative and the quantitative are equally important, according to SearchCIO.com Senior News Writer Linda Tucci’s “Writing a CIO resume” story this week.

She writes:

Chris Patrick, global CIO practice leader in the Dallas office of executive recruiter Egon Zehnder International AG, advises clients that it’s not simply about what they did, but about how they did it. “Companies balance the quantitative with the qualitative, and sometimes the qualitative can be more important. How much carnage did you leave behind, or did you actually build a strong collaborative environment where people felt they were participating?” he said. Being able to build a team, to work across a matrix organization and to drive change when one doesn’t necessarily “own or control all the levers” — those are critical attributes for a CIO, he added.

How you communicate the idea that you excelled in an environment where ideas, culture and budgets were stacked against you is a tricky thing. Your job “stats” (accomplishments) in your resumé will likely get you past a first screening. But once you make it past that stage, you can throw the resumé away, because you need to sell yourself as being more than a collection of accomplishments.

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