Recently, I came across a Quora thread on unusual career advice and one of the responses stood out. It was advice about the difference between a mid-level and a C-level job candidate. As an Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer, I’m often tasked with identifying and highlighting the skills and qualities that will help my clients make the jump from a mid-level to a C-level position. What is the difference between the two? Value. C-level candidates offer potentially greater value to the organization in the future.
Victor Wong, the CEO of PaperG, offered the advice that although many people assume that doing your current mid-level job very well is enough to earn a C-level position, it isn’t. The expectations and goals for the two types of jobs are very different. A great mid-level manager exceeds expectations around their managerial tasks and focuses on the productivity, morale, and longevity of their team. A C-level executive has an eye on managerial matters, but their primary goal is to think and act around organizational growth.
“To make the big jump to the next level, they’re really being benchmarked on their ability to deliver future value to the firm in ways that are not taught or explained to them: Chiefly, how much business they will be able to bring in.”
In a mid-level job, you are successful when doing or exceeding the job in front of you. To reach a C-level position, you need to be able to see what else needs to be done for the current and future success of the company and do it.
Every industry needs something in order to grow: New clients, partnerships, investments, etc. Once you set the goal of moving past management and into executive territory, you need to look past the job you are doing and learn more about what is expected of those at the level to which you aspire. Executive Recruiters and other hiring influencers want to know: How can you deliver more business to your company?
Just as lawyers and PR managers who want to make partner court new clients, anyone in a mid-level position with ambition needs to begin to focus on how they can contribute to growth in their organization. This is where a mentor or a great network can help, giving you information and tips about your industry and the different expectations between where you are now, and where you want your career to grow.
I agree with Wong: Your goal, as a C-level candidate, is to identify what skills, experience, ideas, and connections you can offer that add value both now and in the future. Once you know, not only can you market yourself as a candidate at that new level, but you can begin working to contribute at that level right where you are. A proven instigator of success who adds current and future value stands out to every hiring influencer!