How to Become a Business Executive

Do well in school and you'll get that top job.

You can send out electronic resumes all day and bemoan how you cannot get a decent job – even after the time and money you invested to earn your MBA. Executive positions are not going to the faint of heart or the shy girls too afraid to step up and take the job. The executive office is filled by those who get in front of opportunities and make things happen right out of school or after climbing the ladder one step at a time.

    Hunker down with your studies. MBA grads are a dime a dozen, but graduates with 4.0 grade-point averages and high-powered internships are more rare. Once you land the executive position, you can be in control of your future.

    Jump at the chance to work as a manager for your company. You may be facing long hours with little extra pay or recognition, but it could be the best path to the executive office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in many industries, such as transportation and retail for instance, executives usually come from the rank and file employees – the ones who have proven their loyalty and have gained valuable on-the-job experience. It can be a way to get ahead without an advanced degree.

    Get your CM certification. The certified manager credential shows employers that you are serious about your career and have taken the time to improve your skills. Passing the exam given by the Institute of Certified Professionals Managers proves that you have mastered certain leadership competencies and are ready for the executive track.

    Create a professional portfolio that includes copies of your transcripts, degrees and credentials. Include copies of published work, awards and letters of reference in addition to a flawless resume that highlights your qualifications, abilities and skills. Write a cover letter that no one can resist to land the interview where you can wow recruiters. Make an electronic version of your portfolio with a video and chat to follow up with and to send to high-tech companies.

    Things You'll Need

    • MBA
    • Professional portfolio


    • Start your own business and give yourself the chief executive officer title.


    • You may have to start a business to get an executive position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between the stiff competition for the top jobs and the lack of growth in the upper echelons of business, there are not likely to be many openings. Projections until at least 2020 put job growth for chief executives at 5 percent, much lower than most other professions.

2016 Salary Information for Top Executives

Top executives earned a median annual salary of $109,140 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, top executives earned a 25th percentile salary of $70,800, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $165,620, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 2,572,000 people were employed in the U.S. as top executives.

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