If getting promoted to executive is your goal, take time to examine four factors that will influence your success in breaking through into the executive ranks.
Your readiness to take on an executive role depends to a large extent on the facts of your career history, your messaging, your in-person presentation, and perhaps most importantly, the fit with the specific breakthrough opportunity.
Your professional history might be characterized by a dynamic career trajectory, or the exact opposite, one that is scattered, or points to a lack of stability. The facts include the quality of the companies and roles you have worked in as well as your accomplishments therein. The facts also include the reasons for your transitions from job to job. And, if you are moving from being an individual contributor or small team manager, to an executive, the facts should point to evidence of the requisite competencies acquired to take on the bigger role. If the facts point to progressively more senior roles, and solid achievements delivered for your companies, then your getting promoted to executive roles makes sense from a career trajectory and job level perspective.
How well have you created an authentic marketing message about your personal value proposition? This means making sense of your experience and translating it into solid evidence as to why the next logical step is a leadership role. Many people have the assets, or a lot of them anyway, but fail to communicate and sell them effectively in their resume, cover letters, networking, and interviews. What you say and how you deliver it are key.
Your In-Person Presentation
Everything else could be perfect, but if there is a disconnect between your goals, your messaging, and who you actually appear to be in person, then getting promoted to executive roles is going to be more difficult. You need to walk and talk like an “executive.” Of course, that is a broad statement, and what that looks like depends on your industry, and what the norms are for leadership roles. It also depends on the company size, stage, and culture. As a general rule, communication style, interpersonal skills, and other “soft-skills” are of great importance.
The Opportunity Fit
The probability of taking that next step to an executive role is influenced by what you have to leverage. For example, if you have built up serious expertise in a particular industry, then you have more chance of getting that big role in a company in the same or a related industry. The same goes for a specific kind of product, service, operational model, or market expertise. Any of these could be the lever that gets you promoted to executive level roles. The trick is finding the right buyer who will value and pay for that expertise.
In summary, the key is knowing what you are selling, and second, knowing your market. If you pick a market that needs what you have to sell and the fit is there, then your chances of getting promoted to executive roles is increased.