What Are C-Level Corporate Jobs?

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019 

C-level jobs are the top executive or highest level corporate positions in a company. For example, a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) holds a C-level job. Other C-level job titles include CTO (Chief Technology Officer), CFO (Chief Financial Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer), CCO (Chief Compliance Officer), CKO (Chief Knowledge Officer), CSO (Chief Security Officer), CDO (Chief Data Officer), and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).

Depending on the company, some titles are combined or broken down to better represent and support its needs.

The Meaning of C-Level

The jobs of these high-level managers are called “C-level” because of their typical three-letter initialed title usually beginning with “C” for “Chief.” In general, these jobs have higher salaries because the workload is heavier and important decisions are made on behalf of the company at this level. These roles are usually achieved after years of experience in the field or time with the company.

In addition to multiple years of experience, many C-level executives have graduate degrees to provide them with a solid foundation for leadership. Those with a C-level title usually earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or other professional degree related to their position. Educational background and work experience are both major factors that can make an employee an attractive candidate for a C-level position.

C-Level Roles Within a Company

C-level titles are used to describe a highly ranked individual’s role within the company. Corporate titles are used to indicate his or her responsibility within a company. Officers and managers that maintain C-level positions are some of the most influential and dominant members of an organization.

They usually hire and fire authority, lead stock decisions, oversee a larger workload than most employees and have some of the highest salaries. C-level executives are often experts in business, leadership, and team-building as opposed to technical roles like engineering or mechanics. Some C-suite individuals oversee breakout sessions or teach leadership training within their company, while others may meet with other companies to solidify new business clients.

Senior Executive Teams

In large corporate organizations, many of these officers work together to create a senior executive team. Senior executive teams are expected to make joint decisions on investments, customer-facing issues, operations, and finance. They work together to determine the best strategies for all important issues and decisions that affect the company at its highest level. 

Job Search Tips for C-Level Executives

It's important, especially when you are seeking an executive level position, to promote your expertise and achieve recognition as a thought leader in your field.

Michael K. Burroughs, President of Executive Integration and Coaching Services for the global executive search firm DHR International, says,

"Many executives tell themselves that they are too busy succeeding to take the time to reflect and share their expertise with others.
It is time to reconsider that position. Doing so will set you apart. There are plenty of people who are searching the internet for the sage advice, wisdom, and experience of others. Executive recruiters are doing this as well."
He adds, "There are ways you can position yourself to be that sage and in doing so, be more visible and attractive to executive recruiters."

How to Increase Your Visibility

Burroughs shares his advice and tips for increasing your visibility in a crowded job market and standing out as a thought leader in your field.

  • Develop a professional blog (with photo) and post to it at least bi-weekly.
  • Ensure that your blog is connected to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Limit your blog to areas where you are an expert.
  • Write articles for publication in a variety of places, e.g., EzineArticles.com, trade publications.
  • Volunteer to give breakout sessions at professional or industry conferences.
  • Post all of your thought leadership activities to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Ensure your contact information is on your LinkedIn profile.
  • Create short YouTube "mini-lectures" where you can demonstrate your thought leadership.
  • Write a book or an e-book on a subject where you are a thought leader.
  • Ensure that your book is on Amazon.com, Kindle and elsewhere.

If done well, these tactics will make you more accessible and attractive to executive recruiters.