Have you reached a point in your career when you want:
- to take on greater responsibility?
- to advance your career development?
- to earn more money?
Becoming a manager is an excellent way to accomplish all of these. But landing your first management job presents a “chicken and egg” dilemma: you need to have management experience before you can hold a management job–right?
Wrong! Every new manager has to start somewhere. Here’s what you need to do to get that first management position:
Do your job well. You can’t expect your boss to put you in charge of others if you’re not proficient in your own job.
Do your homework. Find out what the managers in your company actually do. Read books on management. Ask your boss to arrange a shadowing opportunity for you, so you can watch managers in action and see firsthand how they spend their time.
Develop the skills a manager needs. Talk to those already in managerial positions to determine what skills you need to acquire. For most management roles, you’ll need to be strong in the following areas:
- effectively managing time
- resolving conflicts
- solving problems
Once you understand the requirements of the position you want, conduct a personal inventory. Assess the skills you already have, determine the skills you need, and then create a plan for closing the gap.
Show initiative. If you really want a management job, don’t wait for someone to hand it to you. Take on more work, mentor a fellow employee, or volunteer to serve on a committee that will stretch your skills and expand your network. Bottom line, be proactive about creating the opportunities that will better equip you to oversee others.
Make your aspirations known. If you want to be a manager, you have to tactfully let the right people know. When the time is right, tell your boss that you’re ready for more responsibility. Solicit his feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. Ask him to help develop your management skills by recommending books, arranging a mentoring relationship or scheduling training.
Stay up-to-date in your field. To be an effective manager, you must stay abreast of the changes in your company and industry. So get used to doing some homework. Conduct regular research, stay current on relevant news and trends, and seize any opportunity to learn and strengthen your abilities.
Show your worth. Put your ambition into action! If you feel as though you need to show your boss how valuable you are before he’ll consider you for a management role, pave the way for yourself. Request a meeting to demonstrate your abilities–and prepare to shine. Develop a short presentation that highlights your experience, accomplishments and contributions to the company. Whenever possible, quantify your results. If you present a strong case for your candidacy, your manager will immediately think of you when the next management opportunity arises.
Not everyone is cut out to be a manager. The pay is usually greater, but so is the level of accountability, responsibility and commitment. Do you have what it takes? If so, these suggestions can fast-track your development and help you land that first management job.