Get your CEO's attention by helping further his or her goals.
So let's assume your CEO knows his stuff.
Adopt Your CEO's Perspective
1950s Ward-and-June-Cleaver logic would be, "Do a good job." Your manager will notice you, her manager will notice, and her manager... And eventually the head honcho will hear the legends of the hardworking you, invite you to the executive dining room, and promote you to grand czar. As if. Many managers don't showcase their employees. Heck, they don't even notice them. So you'll have to do it yourself.
Start by adopting your CEO's perspective. Imagine for a moment that your job isn't to succeed, yourself. Your job is to make the company succeed as a whole. That's the CEO perspective. He knows all the pieces of the firm and makes decisions according to the needs of the business, not of any one area.
He lives in the world of strategy: Who are our customers? What are our products? Who are our competitors? Strategy answers questions like: Should we keep our Aardvark Food Manufacturing Division now that we're a Fortune 50 tax firm? It could be a distraction. ... Ya think? It's the CEO who makes those decisions.
Share Your Insight
Do you have insight that could help the CEO with strategy? Share it! Have you spotted a novel trend he should know about? Or a navel trend? Your customers are all getting pierced belly buttons. You could find a way to make the belly-button rings deductible and offer that as a new tax service. The possibilities are endless. And if you use the piercing idea, I want a piece of the action, thank you.
My second job was for a company that made artificial intelligence workstations. I trained customers and watched them wrestle with the product daily. I saw their problems and their triumphs. After class, I wrote up my observations and e-mailed them to the CEO as suggestions for how we could improve the product. That's meeting him at the level of strategy.