How Do I Become a CEO?

A Chief Executive Officer is the master and commander of a company's ship – the person who makes the tough decisions and is ultimately responsible for its successes and failures. If you were born to lead, are itching for a post at the top, and are prepared to work really hard, then becoming a CEO may indeed be for you. But just how do you get there?

Companies are always looking to attract a good leader.

Simply put, there are two main ways to become a CEO: rise to the top and start your own company.

CEOs at major companies aren’t born overnight; they are forged through years of work experience and accomplishments as well as the careful building of networks and contacts. But in order to do so, you first have to get your foot in the door at a company. An MBA or other respected degree may be a good way to become a contender for a position at a worthwhile company, as is polished interviewing skills, proven leadership, a successful internship at a reputable company, and a keen interest in the field for which you are applying for a job in. Once you've started your working career, however, it's a good idea to build up a portfolio of jobs with increasing amounts of responsibility. You can either do this while working for one company with an eye to gaining a series of internal promotions throughout the years or by moving to another company every so often in order to rise higher with each new change.

Scaling the ladder to increasing heights of job responsibility and working to prove your worth on the job as well as building up a valuable network of contacts helps position you well for a CEO gig. In fact, networking and cultivating a pool of both personal and professional contacts is a very important way to increase your chances.

Once you have achieved career success and a network of contacts under your belt, the next step is to alert the right people to your desire and qualifications for being a CEO and then take advantage of the right opportunity when it presents itself. (This is where all those contacts and all their contacts come in handy.) And once you've become a CEO of one company, later on you could be recruited by another company to be their chief. Companies are always looking to attract a good leader.

The second way to become a CEO is by starting your own company. Doing so you can be a CEO from day one. Just register your business, print up some business cards, and you're a CEO, right? Yes, but you'll be a CEO managing a team of one.

To grow your company into a force to be reckoned with and a business to be proud of, you must first be an excellent entrepreneur before you get the opportunity to be a CEO. A good business idea, relevant market knowledge, hard work, and a lucky break or two is what can catapult your company to success. And you to earning mega CEO-dom.