Do you feel ready for the next stage of your career but worry you lack management experience? Don’t let that put you off. In fact, there are probably plenty of ways for you to fulfil the criteria. It’s just making sure you know how to show off those skills that employers want. Here are our top tips for landing your first management role:
Prioritise your people skills
One of the most important attributes for any manager is being able to communicate effectively with those you work with. You don’t need to have managerial experience to demonstrate your strong people skills.
Do you lead project meetings or have regular phone calls with external clients? Have you built up strong business relationships which have benefited the company?
Provide examples of these in both your CV and cover letter that you can then expand on in an interview. While it’s right to focus on the positives, mention how you’ve worked through any difficult relationships. Employers are keen to see how you resolve a conflict.
Other so-called soft skills such as reliability and trustworthiness should also be included as again these are vital for managers. Ensure you include tangible examples on each occasion.
Refresh your CV
If you’ve been applying for similar jobs for a number of years, you might be in the habit of simply tweaking your CV each time you go for a new role. Generally, there’s not too much wrong with that. But to give yourself the best chance of landing your first management role, you need to highlight the skills and experiences you may not have prioritised in the past. For example, specific projects you’ve led, relationships you’ve built up, and extra responsibilities you’ve been given.
Also, you might not normally emphasise that you lead the team meetings when your manager is off or that you go to conferences as a representative of your company. These are the types of things employers are searching for in potential managers.
Similarly, a CV for a new management role could probably do without some of those less relevant roles, especially if you need a way to keep your CV shorter. It’s far better to have strong examples that match the job specification than simply trying to show off how many jobs you have had.
Think outside the box
Don’t forget to mention your leadership skills as well. These aren’t confined to the workplace. You shouldn’t be afraid to mention what you do elsewhere to show why you’d be a great fit for this position. For example, if you are a member of a club or organisation, include this in your CV. Do you hold any kind of extra responsibility such as secretary or captain?
While you might normally hide this section of your CV away and think it’s irrelevant, these skills could really help you in landing your first management role and give you the edge over other candidates.
Managers often need to understand budgets. At first glance, you might think you lack experience. But there’s a chance you’ve already dipped your toe in the financial water without realising it. Whether it’s working out sales targets for that week or allocating a pot of money to a project, it’s good to show that you have basic numeracy.
Get some more experience
If you aren’t in a huge rush to apply for your first management job, start getting some experience straight away. Things like organising an event, asking your boss if you can assist with leading a project or initiating a series of meetings are all examples you can then use on your CV and in interviews.
Remember, tangible examples are second to none when it comes to landing your first management role.
If there’s something you’re doing that you think colleagues could benefit from or use, then why not set up a training session or show your team how to use it? There’s also a chance that your company will offer some kind of management training programme or sign up for an external programme.
Don’t forget the basics
Just because this is a management position doesn’t mean you should forget the essentials for all job applications. Include all the role requirements in your CV, give plenty of examples to back up your claims and highlight your most relevant experience.
Making the next step in your career journey can be daunting but remember everyone has to start somewhere. These tips will give you a better chance of landing your first management role. Good luck!
Thanks for this post go to our friend, Andrew Arkley, Director at PurpleCV.