2020 was a record year for women executives in the USA. Yet, despite achieving an all-time historical record, only 6% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies were held by women.
Despite the obstacles, becoming an executive is an attainable goal. Not only will pursuing this career path generate personal satisfaction and success, but it will also create representation for the next generation.
Here are some practical strategies to start now if you hope to become an executive in the next five years.
Optimizing Your Social Media Platforms
Social media plays an integral role in modern recruiting and hiring practices, as more and more employers are engaging in social media recruiting. Setting yourself up for success means optimizing your profiles to position yourself as the top talent in your industry when an executive search is conducted. Take some time to outline your professional LinkedIn background, adding relevant graphics and industry-related keywords. This platform should offer a clear picture of who you are and what you offer in the experience.
In addition to adding details about your professional and educational background, engage with the platform as a thought leader. Share relevant articles about your line of work, including original insights, questions, and takes on hot topics. This form of engagement shows recruiters and hiring managers that you’re passionate about your field.
Enhancing Your Resume with Professional Development
Look at job descriptions relevant to positions you’d like to hold and determine what gaps are currently in your resume. Use this information as a guide for elevating your resume with courses, continued education, and professional development opportunities.
This is also the time to start thinking about applying to boards and becoming involved with various organizations. Many hiring managers will be looking for someone with connections and strong networking skills to fill an executive role.
Seeking Executive Career Coaching
If you’re serious about streamlining your career path in a male-dominated field, it’s worth investing in executive career coaching. Look for a coach specializing in working with women with executive aspirations. They can mentor you through everything from crafting a resume to outlining your goals to interviewing for your dream role.
A career coach will act as your sounding board to help you make the best possible decision for your career. If hiring an executive coach doesn’t appeal, consider reaching out to someone who has traveled this path before for mentorship.
Finding Networking Opportunities
Networking is everything in finding a path to the C-suite floor. Even when you don’t think you need to be networking or you’re not in a professional situation, every point of contact is an opportunity. Even if you’re a shoo-in for that next promotion, it’s always wise to keep your options open.
Set a networking goal of contacting five industry leaders you admire. Then work through the channels until you’ve created a connection with those five people. This creates structure around networking and helps you track your progress while progressing your career along the way.
Identifying and Overcoming Internal Barriers
Finally, don’t forget to reflect on the personal barriers that could limit you from achieving the success you deserve. Many women struggle with feelings of imposter syndrome— even industry leaders and executives. Identify any problematic internal narratives and seek corrective action so you can face the world with confidence.
Attaining an executive-level job is a long game; you must strategize now, to set yourself up for success in the future. By positioning yourself accordingly and making connections, you’ll move closer to your goal with each passing year.