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Stepping up: Applying for a management position
Whether a management role has opened up at your current workplace or you want to take the next step at a new company, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to taking on a managerial role.
Do you have enough experience under your belt to become a manager?
Is it better to wait for an opportunity for internal promotion, or look elsewhere?
What management skills are most sought after by prospective employers?
Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about making a move into a management position.
How to know if you’re ready for a management position
While it’s easy to be enticed by the offer of an impressive title and a hefty pay rise, making the leap into management takes some careful consideration.
Aside from the immediate benefits, there are some potential personal and lifestyle costs to weigh up, such as increased responsibilities, more expectations and longer working hours. For some people, the costs won’t be worth the benefits.
Some questions to ask yourself before you step up into a management role include:
- Am I comfortable making important decisions on my own?
- Will I enjoy managing people and driving a team to succeed?
- Am I willing to have difficult conversations about people’s behaviour or performance?
- Am I willing to let my team and the group’s performance become the critical indicator of my own?
If you don’t feel ready to tackle the above scenarios, or feel you’re more motivated by being an exceptional individual performer rather than banking everything on a broader team, a managerial role might not be the best fit for you.
However, keep in mind that the prospect of leading others and taking on more responsibilities is daunting for many people and doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not ready to be a manager.
Rather, it might be a case of stepping outside your comfort zone in the right management position to grow your career.
What employers look for in a manager
If you decide you are ready to step up and prove yourself to be an effective leader, you’ll need to show your current or prospective boss that you’re ready to take on the additional responsibility.
This is especially the case if you don’t have previous experience in a managerial position. Here are some of the skills employers are looking for in their management team:
When it comes to hiring an effective manager, most employers value soft skills as much as technical qualifications and abilities. You can be the highest performing or most experienced person in your team, but if you’re not a particularly good listener or you don’t buy into the company vision, you’ll be much less likely to be given managerial responsibilities.
Important soft skills to highlight include:
One of the most important soft skills a manager should have is the ability to inspire, direct and lead others. While you’re responsible for managing a team, you can only do this well by being an effective leader.
A good leader leads his or her team towards a particular goal or vision, guiding them through challenges and hurdles to achieve a clear objective. Creativity, magnanimity and even a good sense of humour are all traits that can assist you in landing a management position.
You don’t need to have a business degree or be an accountant to become a manager.
However, team managers do need to demonstrate a solid commercial awareness and understanding of basic financial models because they are usually responsible for internal budget allocation. Budget management also involves working with other teams and departments to complete projects and meet deadlines, so will impact the output of your broader team.
Creating a resume for a management position
Finally, it’s important to consider how your resume will need to be adjusted to suit management roles. Unlike more junior roles, which tend to be a chronological description of work experience, manager resumes often focus on skills and achievements – core competencies – that demonstrate a candidate’s capability to succeed in a management position.