For 10 years, I thought that my credentials, skills and experience would assure I’d never be jobless. Losing my job three months ago has demonstrated that I could not have been more wrong. I learned a valuable lesson: cultivating good relationships is far more important than knowledge and credentials. Had I taken this to heart earlier, I am certain that my position would not have been eliminated. I immediately purchased the MT Interviewing series and resume review.

After 3 months without success, I am hoping that others here might have some suggestions.

I thought my credentials were marketable:
• 5 years @ Big 5 firm
• CPA (< 2 yrs public accounting exp ’95-‘96)
• Certified Information Systems Auditor (NO exp auditing; 4 yrs as auditee)

Career progression:
1. Company A (Big 5 CPA firm): Programmer (2 yrs) -> Senior Technology Consultant (3 yrs)
2. Company B (Start-up): Business Analyst (9 months)
3. Company C (Medium Sized): Business Analyst (9 months) - > IT Governance Supervisor (1 yr) - > IT Governance Manager (3 yrs)

After 9 months at Company C, my manager admitted he didn’t know how he could use utilize me because I lacked highly specialized technical skills. A few days later, I’m called into the VP’s office. Expecting to be terminated, I am promoted into a new IT Governance position. My primary responsibility was to identify and fix weak internal controls within the IT department processes and systems. I also served as liaison for all IT auditors who rendered IT control assessments and recommendations.

I was promoted to manager after a year (another pleasant surprise). My responsibilities expanded and I now reported to a newly hired Executive VP. My role was to coordinate the design and implementation of policies and procedures to achieve the EVP’s directives. Because of the long-established culture of informality, this proved to be far more challenging that I would have ever imagined. My objectives were commonly viewed as unnecessary bureaucracy and it was difficult to get management buy-in because of divisiveness among the EVPs’ direct reports. Consequently, the results were usually superficial. When I would point this out to the EVP, he told me to take the issue up with his directs. I had little influence because over these people who had rank over me. For three years, I struggled to achieve my directives and the results rarely met my expectations. Despite this, I continually received good performance reviews. After a small reorg, my position was eliminated. In the final analysis, I now see that I should have moved on a couple years earlier, despite the great pay, generous benefits and convenient location.

After three months, I can’t seem to overcome these obstacles:
• I have few significant accomplishments to point to.
• My experience is in IT Governance, a small niche that few people understand and value
• The certification I recently attained to make me more marketable doesn’t; employers have told me they need someone with hands-on experience conducting IT audits. Furthermore, some Big 4 firms have recently laid off a bunch of IT auditors due to a lack of work.
• I live in a small market and moving and significant travel are not viable options.

I would really appreciate others’ suggestions for overcoming these obstacles, especially the issue with my lack of significant accomplishments. For the few that I have, there are no metrics I can include. Thanks in advance :D

jhack's picture


Do you want to be in IT Governance? Do you want to be an auditor?

You should have a clear idea of what you want to do. That will help you craft a resume and a "story" that tells the recruiter why you are right for the job.

This is hard. Working for an audit firm typically means travel. So you will have to balance what you want to do ("Assess tropical beach resort amenities...") with jobs that are within reach (if a stretch).

The book "In Transition" by Mary Burton has a formal means of working through these issues - I found it very helpful.


Victor's picture

Thanks for your reply John. I definitely want to continue to specialize in IT Governance. I pursued the IT auditor certification because ultimately, IT auditors’ role is to assess the effectiveness of the controls that result from IT Governance (or the lack thereof). The cert was to also serve as a fallback in the event I unexpectedly found myself looking for a job. Unfortunately, I overestimated the demand for certified, but inexperienced IT auditors.

I have to be a realist though. There are relatively few IT Governance positions available right now in my area and I don’t want to even start burning through my retirement savings (yes, I've listened to the Finances Rule podcast). I had hoped to find temporary/contract work while looking for a job, but I haven’t found any despite my working with at least a dozen recruiters. I feel that If I take a job that is somewhat related to IT Governance, I can continue to look a job that’s a better fit. If I can’t even do that, I’ll need to take any work I can get to provide for family.

Thanks for the book recommendation; I’ve ordered a used copy from Amazon for $4 delivered :D

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Victor

I am guessing there are a bunch of accomplishments you have and don't even recognize. If I understand your position (and it is possible I don't), you implemented policies and procedures as well as found out when those P&Ps did not work.

If you implemented a P&P, there must have been some expected outcome from it. IE, created clearer compliance guidelines resulting in .... something!

And if you audited something, there must have been things you found that were working well, which you can take some credit for...and things that were not working so well ... which you can take credit for as you suggest how to turn things around to meet compliance, correct?

The metrics are there... they might not be laid out as traditional metrics like cost reductions or ROI type just need to flush them out.


Victor's picture

Thanks *RNTT,
I am taking a fresh start with my resume, rewriting my responsibilities and accomplishments without regard for what I previously had. I am already finding long-forgotten accomplishments and even some metrics. I really like your suggestions about the P&P’s; I had viewed the results as only a marginal success.