Most people dream to some day obtain a leading position within a firm, or why not, create his/her own company. But as beautiful as dreams may be, they are very difficult to turn into reality. Becoming a CEO (chief executive director) is not something that can happen overnight, and in order to make it happen, you must work your way through ranks, obtain a role in leadership through hard-work and perseverance, and prove to your higher-ups that you have the necessary qualities to become a professional business leader. But is there a certain blueprint or special recipe that one must follow in order to attain such a prestigious title?
Technically, everybody has the potential of filling a chief executive slot (because there are many different types of CEOs at the moment), but it is usually strong-willed, meticulous and extremely intelligent individuals that have distinguished themselves and have strong leadership characteristics. If you wish to become the CEO of your career you must be ready to commit to the task.
Women, in particular, may have a harder time rising through the ranks due to unjust discrimination, or the simple fact that they are found themselves in the impossibility of choosing between building a robust family, and personal life (which in this case translates into career). Nevertheless, it is not only confidence and authority that is required of a leader, but also his ability to integrate work and other aspects of life, while always maintaining harmony between workers. Here are five steps that will ensure that you become a CEO at some point in your career.
1. Focus on Your Studies
It is almost impossible to become the CEO of your career if you don’t have an excellent educational and professional background. In other words, you must perform very well in school, and preferably complete both undergraduate and graduate degree. This doesn’t mean that you have to learn like a robot. It is preferred to focus on the skills which are relevant to your industry.
Most CEOs first complete an undergraduate degree, and after several years of work as an employee (when they also rise through ranks), they return to an MBA program in order to obtain the graduate degree. It is possible to gain skills while working, so do the best you can in order to lift your career while still young. Also, although many companies are not so rigid when it comes to this, it is advisable to finish a school that has some cachet attached to its name. Ivy League schools and small liberal arts colleges with respected business programs are the most successful ones.
2. Become the Go-To Person
At work, there is probably nothing more important than being liked by your co-workers. As a matter of fact, it is not only about being liked, but mostly about being trusted, respected and appreciated for your skills. When you are trying to rise through the ranks, it is advisable to also create strong relationships with people from work. Your higher-ups will definitely notice if you are a “people’s person”, and these social and leadership skills are essential for a CEO. In order to achieve this you should:
- Apply to internships anywhere and show off your leadership skills and willingness to help others or simply to work hard.
- Volunteer whenever there is an extra task without expecting something in return.
- Offer to help others when they are having trouble understanding or completing an assignment
- smooth your way to your first real career with the help of a good reference from your co-workers.
3. Learn About Finance
Hate them or not, finances are essential to a CEOs career, and he must make wise decisions in the name of the company. This requires a strong base of financial knowledge. It is true that you can learn about economics and finance at any point in your life, but during your college years you are probably most eager and capable to learn, so there will not be a better opportunity. If finance is not part of your college courses, you can take a course in accounting, or economics, Furthermore, if your company offers seminars, webinars or extra courses for finances, take advantage of them! They will help you become the CEO of your career!
4. Dream Big, and turn Dreams into Reality
After you get a job based on your college qualifications, don’t settle. Most people settle, and this is also the main reason why they never get promoted. Once you become part of a company that you like, make sure you bring your enthusiasm with you. Exuberant people with fresh perspectives are the ones that bring a sense of vitality and seriousness to their jobs. There are not many people like this, and your higher-ups will definitely appreciate your qualities.
5. Find a Mentor
People who already find themselves in leading positions have not been promoted there by chance, or for pretty eyes. Make sure you observe the way that they carry themselves, the way that they react in tense situations, and the way that they handle projects and co-workers. You could even ask them to mentor you, because even if the answer is no, it is better to be brash then too embarrassed to take action. On the other hand, if you can obtain an executive mentorship, you will be able to fast-track your career.