While there is no perfect CV, many CIOs are increasingly looking to add cybersecurity, marketing and various soft skills to their CVs.

CIOs should also be looking to advisors, peers and network groups to ensure they're on the right track for a successful career as a digital innovator. (See also: 3 new priorities for a CIO in 2017.) 

We take a look at some of the top skills a CIO will want on their CV.


As the role becomes more strategic, CIOs should embrace the shift from managing digital teams to coming up with new and innovative ways to drive business transformation.  

A Harvey Nash/KPMG survey revealed that 45% of CIOs expect creativity to drive innovation. So, by showing off your creative side on your CV, you can create better engagement with those reading it and highlight that you not only embrace new ideas, but also generate them.

CIOs are constantly looking for new ways to deliver IT products and services to their organisations. By regularly coming up with creative ideas through the use of hackathons, brainstorming sessions, and attending industry events, CIOs can pitch ideas to business leaders who may have a lack of knowledge around IT.

And through creative presentations, CIOs can break down information using animation, infographics and keywords to help promote a key message across to their business colleagues.

In some organisations, creativity is the skill which drives digital leaders in their role. For example, COO Duncan Gooding has seen originality help him to deliver new products and services in his role at TalkTalk Business.

"I think trying to stand out and be creative is one of the best things at TalkTalk Business," he said.

Gooding describes TalkTalk Business as an entrepreneurial organisation that has allowed him to be creative in his role by not necessarily "making money" from projects but being valued as a key player in a competitive telecom market. (See also: TalkTalk Business COO Duncan Gooding on security strategy since 2015 cyberattack.)


The CIO has become a strategic business leader managing multiple teams, locations and projects.

A way to develop this key skill is through regular communication, giving feedback and ensuring you act as a leader of change.

CIOs have become influential leaders through embracing a mentoring role and coaching team members to achieve shared company goals.


According to the 2018 Harvey Nash survey, 45% of organisations are investing more in cyber security. 

The increase of ransomware, password theft and spyware has seen companies become wary of cyber attacks.

And such cyber attacks have seen organisations such as TalkTalk, Three Mobile and Yahoo! witness some of the most costly data breaches reported in recent years. (See also: Security challenges for CIOs.)

Security attacks have seen organisations' demand for security professionals increase, with a growing need for IT pros to block access to business systems, encrypt files and recover leaked personal data.

In 2017, Gartner challenged organisations to tackle issues such as hiring and retaining security talent to ensure businesses are protected from threats.

And security expertise is an important skill for employers to have access to as it can help educate employees on the possible threats made to the company. 

A proven track record of collaboration with security teams and examining previous reports can help ensure your security knowledge is up to date and appeals to future employers.

Financial management

Sound financial management has become a key trait for a CIO to develop to help keep a business running. Budgeting, analytics and forecasting are all valuable skills most employers will look for. 

A great way to develop financial skills is through using management tools such as QuickBooks, Interact and Xero, which help create budget plans, financial reports and statistical overviews. These tools offer guides and tutorials to help manage business costs, create budget plans and track transactions.

CIOs are finding new ways to manage business costs through collaborating with the financial department to ensure change. Through communication, observation and mentorship from financial leaders they educate CIOs on how to turn the business model into profits and growth, while adding to their skill set.  

A background in finance remains infrequent for CIOs but it is still a vital aspect for businesses to break even today. Financial management can help keep costs under control while also ensuring the business is ahead of its competitors, with the added bonus of improving your CV with valuable financial expertise.

Vendor management

As a CIO develops her or his managerial skills they should look to build external relationships with vendors and suppliers.

Vendors and third-party suppliers have become an important relationship to maintain as they bring their support and expertise to many aspects of the business. As CIOs strive to find a vendor who can deliver in terms of cost, performance and timescale, they will need to identify suppliers who will truly represent the brand. And it's this kind of experience that will attract future employers. (Read next: CIO tips on partnerships with vendors.)

To increase this skill, CIOs should build relationships with vendors who can support business needs. To do this, CIOs should regularly communicate and engage with vendors to ensure the right materials are brought into the organisation. Defining set roles and measuring vendor performance through project management tools can help articulate a CIO's expectations from the vendor to ensure the project is a success.

As vendor management remains a skill to be learnt through experienced leaders, maintaining a good relationship with suppliers can help lead the business to make better decisions and achieving project deadlines.  

Team management and team building

Team building is a skill for CIOs to embrace as they become the digital enablers of an organisation, and expand their soft skills.

There is no magic management guide available to all CIOs, with each leader having their own unique style.  

Team collaboration should see a CIO delegate tasks, communicate regularly and motivate their teams to achieve successful results. The support of a team will help lighten a CIO's workload and will turn their focus to other areas of the business which need to be improved.

A CIO should lead by example to ensure it can move its team members and the business forward. By recognising achievements and rewarding your team through feedback, internal group emails and team meetings can help value team members in their role.

As team building remains a valued skill by employees, often a lack of communication and motivation from their leaders can lead to a lack of trust and a bad rapport with team members. (Read next: 7 ways to motivate your IT team after a setback.)


CIOs might need experience and skills in marketing as some are now involved in customer-facing roles.

In some organisations, as they continue to develop a customer-focused strategy, it is the CIO’s role to engage and help improve the quality of its customer service. A demand for technology and great customer experience means businesses will have to find new ways of improving its standard of service.  

Collaborating with marketing departments and the CMO can help CIOs understand their audience and gain a better insight into their customer data. Marketing relies heavily on analytics tools such as Hubspot, Google Analytics and Exactarget which can collect and report on consumer behaviour, so experience with these tools can help boost a CV.

Time management

A CIO’s responsibilities are endless. CIOs need the support from team members through outsourcing, delegating tasks and using time management tools to ensure they are in control of the workload.

CIOs should allocate time out of their work schedules to communicate with team members and ensure they are on track with project deadlines as well as segmenting your time, giving priority to important tasks. This can help CIOs to manage their time more effectively while also identifying an individual’s strengths and weaknesses for career progression.


A key skill for CIOs is being able to network and build relationships internally and externally.

A CIO is managing several responsibilities in the enterprise including developing relationships with marketing, finance and HR departments to ensure business innovation.

Networking is a skill which can be developed through events, communities and meetings which can provide CIOs with the opportunities to build relationships with people in the same industry.

Regular networking can also help with upcoming job opportunities, to share IT experiences and offer advice to CIOs. (Read next: 13 recruitment tips for CIOs.)


A good level of communication is not a skill everyone has in the workplace.

CIOs should take the time to offer support, schedule one-to-one meetings and have an open door policy to ensure team member’s voices are heard.

For example, CIO 100 organisations including Orridge, Hargreaves Lansdown and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have all introduced an open door policy.

McLaren Group’s Craig Charlton believes the CIO influence starts with strong relationships. He agrees that the role needs to flexible and that a ‘one-size-fits all IT strategy is old school’.

“You can have a great strategy and long list of initiatives, but if you cannot listen, engage and enrol your organisation at multiple levels, you will remain in the back office,” he said.