CEOs are the head of a company, corporation, educational institution, or the similar role in a government position. They work for many years to become the CEO and have existing managerial experience. They work with the other executives such as the chief financial officer or chief learning officer to manage all parts of the business. In this CEO job description, you will learn about their job responsibilities, important skills, typical working schedule, and future job outlook.

A CEO is a well-respected position and integral to the success of a business. While they may receive perks such as spending accounts or exclusive memberships, they also have an extraordinary amount of pressure and responsibility.

Successful business woman standing with her staff in background at modern bright office

What Do CEOs Do?

A CEO who works for a corporation or business will focus heavily on strategic outcomes, short and long term goals, and assessing the best ways to proceed so that the business succeeds. Whereas, a CEO who works for themselves or for a small business may be more involved with hiring staff, with deciding product purchasing and marketing, and with quality control for the business.

A CEO job description will show that they have a significant amount of responsibility for the success or failure of a company. They set the agenda, and thus the direction for the company. If a corporation is performing poorly, the board may decide to replace the CEO. These professionals must be good at managing relationships, seeing the big picture, and assigning the right people to different tasks. They must be completely devoted to their jobs.

CEOs need to be business-savvy and many have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration. Their median salary is $175,110 with a large range of salaries seen based on the industry, size, and success or the company.

CEO Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

Being able to lead a company, change direction, and manage potentially thousands of moving parts are all requirements seen in a CEO job description. The following duties help CEOs to accomplish their mission. If you feel like you would excel with these responsibilities, pursuing a career as a CEO may be right for you.

  • Plan and create a mission and vision for a company and communicate this mission and vision.
  • Manage the finances and budgets of a business, in partnership with the chief financial officer.
  • Regularly hold meetings with the right people to maintain open and consistent communication.
  • Identify new talent in the company that has the potential to advance to management or executive positions.
  • Set the salary ranges for positions in the organization and reassess job descriptions to ensure they match the salary.
  • Communicate with board members for the company and have data and evidence to inform practice and decisions made.
  • Appear in news stories on behalf of the company and maintain a diplomatic conversation.
  • Stay current on research and current developments in similar companies in order to inform the direction of the company or business they lead.

CEO Required Skills

Relationship building skills. According to a article, the most successful CEOs take the time to build relationships. This lets them know what is happening in different parts of the company and also makes the employees of that company feel valued by their superior.
Innovative thinking skills. Running a business in today’s economy is extremely complex. There are global forces at play as well as rules and regulations that must be followed. A successful CEO needs to imagine the future and come up with novel ways to maintain a competitive edge.
Proactive management skills. CEOs need to take initiative in managing teams, be thoughtfully inclusive on who should be involved in various decisions and be able to delegate tasks. None of these actions should be done rashly. Considerable time and thought should go into how to handle different aspects of the business.
Risk taking skills. For the most part, companies do not achieve success without taking risk. Whether it is a start-up that boldly asks for funding or support or an established company that releases a new product, risk taking underlies these actions. CEOs must not be afraid to take risks, must not be afraid of failure, and must be willing to learn and adapt from their failures.

How to Become a CEO

The more important qualities to becoming a CEO are to be bold, not afraid of failure, visionary, and have an incredible work ethic. There are two different ways to be a CEO. The first is to open your own business and the second is to be the CEO for an existing business. Both of these pathways are very different. Regardless, having a background in business or finance as well as a willingness to be devoted to a career are very helpful to pursuing a career as a CEO.

Education & Training Requirements

There is not a universal required degree for CEOs. At a minimum, many of these professionals will have their bachelor’s degree. Several will have their master’s degree in business administration. CEOs who are in charge of educational companies are often required to have their doctoral degree. While CEOs who run government may not even be required to have a bachelor’s degree, although most do.
There are no standard certificates or licenses that allow someone to be a CEO. However, there are programs and professional development opportunities in areas such as project management or leadership that can help prepare individuals to be CEOs.

Work Experience

All individuals who are interested in becoming CEOs will need extensive work experience. The exception to this role are people who start their own business and are, by default, the CEO. Required experience will vary widely. Some companies like to promote from within while others bring CEOs on board from outside the company. Regardless, all of these professionals need to have extensive managerial experience.

Students who aspire to one day be a CEO would be wise to show initiative in leading complex projects, building relationships, and having an entrepreneurial spirit. As an example, Penn State University has a week devoted to entrepreneurship and participation in that week could show to an employer that you have the potential to advance to an executive role.

Work Schedules

CEOs did not get to that point in their career by lacking work ethic. This characteristic, in combination with having an extremely important role in the company, means that nearly half of CEOs report working more than 40 hours a week.

Successful CEOs spend much of their day managing relationships, getting to know the customers and employees, and strategizing for the future success of the company. Answering emails and sitting in meetings are required parts of the job, but what really sets CEOs apart is how they get a sense of the pulse of the company or business.

Career Prospects

There are few fields as diverse and varied as CEOs. As such, it is hard to generalize their growth. In 2014, there were 343,000 chief officer positions, including CEOs. Some industries will grow much faster than others in the next 10 years, but the average job growth is expected to be 6%. Acquiring the position of CEO in an existing company is quite competitive. At the same time, individuals who start their own business are the CEO of that smaller business.

One of the mitigating factors affecting job growth is that the current generation of young adults is risk-averse and less likely to try and start a business. The median wage of $175,110 is very close to the upper end of the salary at $187,200. There are huge ranges in the amount of pay based on industry, company size, and performance during the year. CEOs who work in taxi service, computer manufacturing, securities and commodity exchange, and the energy sector will have the highest average pay.


A CEO job description will show that they need to have significant business skills and previous experience in a particular company or in a related field. Their pay is high, but so is the stress, working hours, and responsibility that these professionals have.