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Career advice: How to catch a hiring manager's eye

And other advice from a Premier 100 IT Leader

By Susan G. Schade
January 3, 2011 11:25 AM ET
Sue Schade
Susan Schade of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston

Computerworld - Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Susan G. Schade

Title: Vice president and CIO

Organization: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston

Schade is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about catching a hiring manager's eye, mentor relationships and more. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to

What's the most effective way to get a hiring manager's attention? Be sure to include a cover letter with clear career objectives and a summary of key experience, skills and knowledge that you will bring to your next position. A résumé that has a section at the start summarizing your key skills and expertise helps. Be sure to make your bullet points under each previous position a results-focused statement. A hiring manager may be looking for someone with very specialized skills and knowledge or someone who can be more of a utility player. If you fall into the latter category, a broad range of experience will help, but it is still important to show results. Unfortunately, many hiring managers may "slot" you depending on your experience. I try to route résumés to the right potential hiring managers and HR as soon as I receive them. If the candidate could be a utility player and is looking to repackage herself or is changing industries, I may just try to schedule an informational interview myself.

I admire one of my departmental managers a great deal. Would it be appropriate for me to formally initiate a mentoring relationship? Absolutely, yes. If that person is as good as you think, he or she will welcome your request. I have done both formal and informal mentoring with individuals. Regardless of the approach, it is important to define upfront what goals you want to accomplish, how often you will talk and for what period of time. When you reach the end of that defined time frame, the two of you should evaluate how it went, whether your goals were met and if an extension might be useful.

Any advice for a systems administrator interested in taking on more responsibility? At Partners HealthCare, we established a formal program in Information Systems several years ago called the Career Growth Initiative (CGI). Once a year, employees complete a Career Self Evaluation (CSE) and discuss it with their managers. Together, they agree on what the Career Action Plan (CAP) will look like. Both the CSE and CAP are standard templates that are completed online. A key principle of CGI is that the employee is the career owner.

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