A Guide to Breaking Through to Management Positions

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

Finding a job can be difficult enough, depending on your skill level and the industry you’re trying to break into. But, when you already have a steady career and you want to climb up the next rung of the corporate ladder, it can often feel just as overwhelming.

If you’re a job seeker trying to break into management roles, it’s essential to hone your skills, showcase your experiences, and develop the right strategies to stand out as a candidate.

With that in mind, let’s cover some of the common challenges faced by aspiring managers, as well as some practical tips you can use to overcome them. Whether you’re currently in an entry – level position or you’re seeking a career change, there’s no reason why you can’t break through to a management position with the right strategy behind you.

Common Challenges to Becoming a Manager

If you’re currently in an entry-level position, it can be a big leap to move into a management role. If you’re thinking about jumping into a new career entirely, it can be even more challenging.

First, taking on a different career path might require some major changes in your life. While relocating for a job can be exciting, it comes with its own set of challenges, including uprooting your family, losing friends, and going through the stress of changing homes. However, you may want to consider moving for a job if doing so would allow you to advance your career. Physically moving can also help you extend your professional connections.

Even if you’re able to stay local, some of the most difficult challenges you’re likely to face as you seek to become a manager include showing you can lead a team, being able to handle different types of pressure, and standing out with your skills and experiences. In some cases, you might need to further your education or undergo certain types of training just to be able to develop a resume that stands out. That can take time, money, and a lot of effort.

How to Overcome Those Challenges

So, what can you do to climb over those common hurdles and continue up the ladder? One of the best ways to get your foot in the door at a business of interest is to network as much as possible. If you have the necessary skills to be in a management position, half the battle will be knowing the “right” people.

Thankfully, networking doesn’t have to feel scary or overwhelming. Attend events and find people in your industry of interest, and don’t hesitate to introduce yourself. Additionally, you can network online on your own time, and you might feel more comfortable behind a screen.

In addition to meeting the right people, the bottom line is that you have to be willing to work from the ground up if you want to rise in your company. Management positions aren’t given away. They require dedication, experience, and both professional and personal qualities that will help you stand out. While you might be looking for a loophole to the traditional route, old-fashioned work and climbing the ladder step by step is often the best way to go. That often includes making sacrifices, including relocating, furthering your education, and more.

Finally, managers can’t fear risks. If you get hired into a management position, you’re going to be faced with challenges and opportunities every day. You’re going to have to make major decisions, and your team is going to look to you for answers. While it’s important to think things through and make educated decisions, you should also be willing to take appropriate risks when it’s necessary. That includes when you’re searching for a job.

Honing Your Skills

We touched briefly on the need for both hard and soft skills in management positions, but it’s worth stressing. No matter how experienced you are in a certain field or position, employers often look for very specific characteristics when they’re hiring managers. That doesn’t mean you should ignore your hard skills. Rather, it means you should keep them in your arsenal while focusing on building your soft skills, too.

There are several skills that managers need to succeed, including:

  • Ability to inspire others;
  • Resilience;
  • Effective communication skills, including constructive criticism;
  • Creative thinking.

You should consider the things about your personality that make you a leader – especially if you don’t have previous managerial experience. What will you do to inspire others and build relationships? What do you have that someone else might be lacking, and how can you capitalize on that? Your goal as you look for a management position shouldn’t be to hold some kind of power over an existing team of employees. Rather, you should consider how you can add value to that team, and be sure to highlight these skills during a job interview.

If you have plenty of skills and experience, your soft skills and personality traits could be what tip you over the edge and help you beat your competition. Take your time, learn from others, and find your voice. While it’s a good thing to remain “hungry” and hustle your way up the ladder, you’ll be in a better place if you practice patience and take things one step at a time. Not only will that give you more time to prove yourself, but it will grow your hard and soft skills and allow you to be more comfortable and confident when a job offer arrives.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at moliverpages@gmail.com

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