Women, who hold about 25 percent of leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies, still rarely break into the top three jobs: CEO, president or chief operating officer. Only about six percent of women hold these top three titles, a number that has been flat for two decades.
Women in top jobs tend to congregate in support roles like legal, finance, marketing and human resources.
How can more women break into the top echelon? Here are five moves ambitious women should make to break into the top three jobs from my new book, “The New Brand You: How to Wow in the New World of Work.”
1. Make personal branding a priority: Realize that personal branding is not optional in the new world of work with hybrid, remote and in-office working. It wasn’t easy to be recognized when everyone came to the office in person every day. It’s even more challenging now.
2. Actively seek a role with P&L responsibilities: General managers and positions in operations have profit-and-loss responsibility. It’s the yellow brick road to the corner office and you must take that path if you want one of the top three jobs in the company.
3. Seek out projects in the sight line of the CEO: You must get your work and talents recognized by the right people beginning with the top honcho. Don’t wait to be tapped. Volunteer.
4. Speak up in meetings: It’s not easy when you are in meetings with Alpha. males, but figuring out ways to break through the noise with your point of view is critical.
5. Dress like a CEO in waiting: It may seem superficial, but looking the part is important. Clothes are silent ambassadors who convey power messages about you. Women are scrutinized more than men in terms of visual identity, clothes and hair styles, so let it work in your favor.
Taking these five steps can help women break through the strongest glass ceiling of all?—?the one protecting the top three executive jobs in corporations.