Next move: How can I move on to something bigger?

Expert advice for readers' career problems

I have 10 years' experience in IT, starting out on a helpdesk and ending up as an IT manager - a position I have held at three SME/start-up companies in the past seven years, at times running a team of eight, and building a broad skill set. I am frustrated with working in small companies that have limited prospects and resource and want to move onto a larger, more established company. However the only roles in these firms that use all my skills are senior management and require prior experience with this size of company, leaving me no way to break in. What is the best way for me to change the direction of my career?

The solution: emphasise benefits of your versatility

You were given your first break in management by one of these small companies, and often that is the way. Smaller companies have more flexibility and are more likely to take a chance on someone fairly new to a role. You are now ideally skilled up for larger companies to take an interest in you, and if you plan carefully I can see you achieving your goals.

You should apply for management positions with larger companies and show them the variety of skills you have and the challenges you have had to overcome in an entrepreneurial environment. This will offset the big company experience many clients look for. In hiring you they may not be so reliant on outside suppliers.

Be clear from the outset about the size of company and role you wish to secure and tailor your CV accordingly. Highlight your skills and depth of experience and be clear in your covering letter what it is you want. Do not be persuaded into going back into a small company if that is not what you want.

Solution by Tracey Abbott , divisional director, Zarak Group

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Hudson, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.

E-mail your career questions to computerweeklyw@rbi.co.uk
This was last published in March 2005

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