Are you an aspiring leader? Getting your first management position can be a tricky one. Many management roles require management experience, yet you somehow need to get the experience in the first place. So, how do you get that first step into management? Well, you won’t be able to step up until you’ve proved you can handle the responsibility.
Consider whether you’re currently enjoying your current role and responsibilities to understand if it’s the right time for a change. You will also want to consider whether you’re excelling in your role and what your feedback and goals were from your last review.
It’s always a good idea to have a meeting with your line manager to understand how to get promoted in your current role, and if so, whether there is a company wide progression plan to make sure you are performing at a certain level to become management. Sometimes it’s more straight forward to go for an internal promotion than a role elsewhere, especially if it’s for a big step up, as they know you and trust whether you’re ready for the increased level of responsibility.
If you are considering working your way up to management in your current company, it might be worth speaking to HR or the relevant person who will be able to notify you as soon as a relevant role becomes available. However, bear in mind that if you don’t like the company you’re in but you’re hoping that a promotion will make things better, it won’t. It will be hard to perform at a higher level if you don’t enjoy your job as it is. So consider all aspects of what you are looking for before putting a plan into action.
Review your skills
Management positions require a certain set of skills that not everyone is equipped for. However, don’t let that stop you. A lot of skills can be learnt if you are willing to learn, you just must have the confidence and initiative to learn how to develop them.
It would be no surprise to you that you probably need to manage people to qualify for management and many management positions require leadership skills to progress. If you have taken the lead on a project, planned a new initiative, or executed a new campaign, these are great examples to highlight how you have demonstrated leadership qualities.
If you don’t have any experience in managing a team, a good start is to mentor a colleague. This is then a mutually beneficial relationship where they will receive more support and you will gain tangible proof of leading others. We’d recommend asking them first before you start giving out unsolicited advice!
There are many other skills that you will need to develop and emphasise when applying for a management position. You will want to consider how you can highlight skills such as analytical, delegation, problem-solving, interpersonal, and decision making.
Prioritise your development
It’s always a good idea to consider whether there are areas within your skill set and knowledge that you could build on. It can be easy to put your development aside and focus on your daily 9-5 tasks, but that will only get you so far in terms of you progression.
Your current department should have a training budget for staff, so if you’re unsure if/how much is available, this is another aspect worth asking about.
If there’s nothing available in the training budget, there are many free courses online that would help you gain a certificate, or you could consider investing your own money into some paid courses. There are leadership qualifications you can get if you’re struggling to develop your leadership skills in your current role.
Review your LinkedIn profile
Whether you use it or not, hiring managers do. It’s the best place to highlight your achievements and shout about your success to help you stand out amongst your peers.
If you haven’t already, make sure it’s up to date. Assuming you’ve got all the basic sorted like a decent profile picture, up to date location, and impressive headline, to further enhance your profile, you can ask your colleagues and peers for recommendations. All you need to do is email or send them a message to say you’re looking to improve your profile and would happily give one back in return.
If you really want to be pro-active about seeking a new role you can turn on your search visibility to let hiring managers know you’re looking for a role. That way it will be easier for hiring managers/recruiters to search for you and then contact you if they find a role suitable for your skill set. You can do this by checking your account settings and ensuring your profile is public.
Be strategic about which skills people can endorse you for. If you now know what sort of management role you’re seeking, make sure you have the relevant skills in this section which make you more searchable. Tip: Make sure the most important skills are on top by reordering them.
Say goodbye to your comfort zone
Once you’ve got that management role you’ve applied for, then make sure you’re set up for success. Be confident (even if you don’t feel it!), positive, and ambitious. The best way to succeed is by continuing to use those skills that have got you this far, but make sure you leave that comfort zone and push yourself to live up to this new level of responsibility. Good luck!