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Your 5-year route into executive roles

Posted in executive-roles

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

You’ve probably been asked by an interviewer “where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” but you might not realise that this is a question that is worth asking yourself, especially if you have an ambition to climb the career ladder into executive roles.

Getting into the C-suite is no small feat for anyone in business and, although it may seem like there’s a certain personality type that’s destined for the boardroom, that isn’t always the case.

For some people in business, it’s hard work and forward-planning that eventually gets them into executive roles, and the sooner you can set out your career plan, the better the chance for you to get a seat at the table too.

Why a 5-year plan?

Career mapping is all about long-term goals and ongoing personal development, and in most people’s career a five-year plan makes good sense, as it’s long enough to make significant progress but not so long that it takes too big of a bite out of your career.

If you’re targeting executive roles, ask yourself where you are now in terms of skills and experience, and what you need to do to climb the promotion ladder as quickly as possible.

Some of the most respected and renowned executives in business started out in entry-level roles with an ambition to become the president of their company – and many of them got there in double-quick time.

Getting started

The start of any career plan is finding the right role to begin with. Unless you already have considerable experience or extremely unusual qualifications, you’re likely to start out near the bottom in an entry-level role.

Keep executive roles in your sights. Apply for entry-level jobs with clear progression opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask about the promotion hierarchy upfront – interviewers should not be put off by ambition.

Remember that promotion, especially to the highest levels, tends to happen from within. If there’s a particular company you’re interested in, find a way to get in the door.

Earn your reputation

Show some initiative and excel in your role and you’ll build a positive reputation with the right people in the management hierarchy.

That can mean taking on responsibilities that are not strictly part of your job description. It may mean taking unpaid overtime or longer hours, or working on new initiatives and helping to bring them to maturity.

All of this helps you to show willingness and positions you closer to the core of the company, moving your name higher up the list when promotion opportunities arise.

Watch your goal

Keep your eye on the boardroom. Do whatever you can to ‘dress for the role you want’. Ask senior colleagues to mentor you, take on management-level duties like delivering training sessions, and so on.

There’s no clear-cut route map into executive roles, but there are sensible steps along the way.

Know where you want to be and plot the ways to get there – based on what opportunities are available to you in your entry-level role – and who knows where you’ll be in five years’ time.

If you are climbing the executive ladder, we can help! Get in touch with us today.

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