How to Become a CEO in 5 Steps 

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A CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is a dream job for many people. It’s the epitome of the corporate world; you’ve worked your way up the ladder and have gotten into the seat that allows you to make major decisions about the direction of the company. You’ve got the title and likely a paycheck to match (ZipRecruiter CEO roles average $86,000 – $191,000 a year). But you need to know how to become a CEO in order to get there!

Today, we’ll guide you through the 5 steps it takes to become a CEO. 

How to Become a CEO in 5 Steps 

1. Choose Your First Rung 

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There are many routes to becoming a CEO and there’s no one “right” way to start. For most, a college degree is the first step. However, you can also enter as an apprentice or simply at an entry-level position. 

Not going to college? Try to find a position that will include some training or decide on some skills you can learn in your own time. Look for jobs from big companies. This will give you plenty of room to be promoted and will make it easier to leave if you get a better position elsewhere. 

Don’t know where to start looking? ZipRecruiter has your back. When you create a profile, you’ll have the chance to upload your resume and specify what type of work you’d like to do. Then, ZipRecruiter matches you with positions you might be interested in and qualified to take. You can also browse positions on your own and apply to them with just 1 click.

In addition, employers have the ability to review your profile and invite you to apply to open positions.

2. Decide on Your Trajectory 

You can always change your mind as you go, but it’s best to think about how you want to climb the ladder now. CEOs come from all roles and walks of life. The only thing you need to keep in mind is you’ll need to move into management positions when you can. 

For example, you may choose to work in marketing, finance, or software development. You’ll be able to move up the ladder in any of these positions toward becoming a CEO. If you’re not sure about what possibilities are out there, browse job listings on ZipRecruiter and see what sparks your interest.

3. Don’t Stagnate

How to become a CEO is to never let your career stagnate. There will be times in your career when maybe it has to take a back seat, but you should never settle. Try to get promoted or move on to a new company in a better position every 2-3 years. You’ll likely find you can move up the ranks faster early in your career and then things will slow as you get closer to a CEO position. 

4. Network and Don’t Burn Bridges 

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As you move up the ladder, you need to stay personable and network. Try to be memorable for all the right reasons. When you do move to a new company, make sure you don’t burn bridges. You shouldn’t be a pushover, but there’s a difference between standing up for what you believe in and being a jerk. 

5. Pull Others Up 

You don’t become a CEO simply based on your own performance. A CEO is a leader. They are chosen to be CEO because they know how to unite the company behind their vision. As you move up the ladder, look for ways you can support others and nurture them. 

Start Your Journey

Knowing how to become a CEO is a start, but it isn’t enough. After all, becoming a CEO is not something you can do overnight. It could take a decade, if not several. However, reaching the pinnacle of your career as a CEO will be incredibly rewarding, both emotionally and financially. Whether you’d like to daydream about finding your first CEO role or are ready to find the first job that will put you on the path to success, you can start your search on ZipRecruiter.

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