How To Get Hired For Your First Management Job

If you’re going for a management job, there are certain skills you’ll want to highlight to show employers that you’re ready for a leadership role. Here's our top tips.

When it comes to getting hired, experience is bound to be on the interviewer’s wish list. Employers will be impressed by someone who can step into a position with confidence, and having experience in a similar role is often a plus. The same is true for management jobs but getting your first management role can be a ‘Catch-22’ – employers won’t want to give you the job without experience, but you can’t get experience if no one will hire you.

So how do you show your suitability for a leadership role? Discover how to showcase your top transferrable skills for a management job along with demonstrating your leadership potential.

Top leadership skills

Here’s some of the main attributes that a good leader should have:

  • Interpersonal skills – This includes verbal communication, non-verbal communication, listening and negotiation skills. A manager should be able to communicate concisely and make themselves understood. Non-verbal communication skills are often overlooked, but things like body language and eye contact can make a big difference in how your message is delivered. Effective listening, whether in team meetings or one-to-ones, helps avoid mistakes by ensuring queries and concerns are addressed. Negotiation and problem-solving are also vital skills for successful managers, to ensure they achieve the best outcome for their team, and for the business overall.

  • Forward planning and strategic thinking - This is about understanding ‘the bigger picture’; so along with the team’s day-to-day tasks, a good manager is able to plan ahead. This can include goal-setting, attending training, and reviewing systems and policies that could be improved.

  • Delegation – Managers juggle many responsibilities, from managing their own workload to overseeing the work of team-members, attending meetings and seminars, and carrying out appraisals. Good leaders are able to delegate effectively, assigning tasks to employees according to their competencies – this also gives them the opportunity to develop their skills.

  • Ability to motivate others – A good leader will inspire their team to success, giving them the confidence and motivation to excel in their role. Goal-setting, leading by example, praise and constructive feedback are all important ways to motivate your team.

  • Commercial acumen – To progress to management level, it’s important to have an awareness of the marketplace and what makes a business successful.

Tips for landing your first management role
  1. Highlight relevant management experience on your CV
    Even if you’ve never had a management position before, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to demonstrate some key leadership skills. Go through your work history and the remit of your role – whether you’ve organised an event or got involved in training new colleagues, there’s a lot you can count as management experience. Optimise your CV to highlight tasks and accomplishments which involved additional responsibility, and prepare relevant examples for the interview.

  2. Gain a leadership qualification
    If you are hunting for a management position and experience is not yet your major strength, it might be worth investing in a management course. Gaining a certification in leadership could impress potential employers, demonstrating that you have the know-how and passion for a management career, even if you aren’t in a leadership role just yet. Find more information about the different courses available here.

  3. At the interview stage, explain your interest in a management career
    As you want to make the next step in your career and move to a management position, you should be prepared to explain why it’s the right move for you. It should be a little more than just ‘I want more responsibility’ - or a higher salary! Are you passionate about team building? Have you mastered your current field and you’d love to pass on your knowledge to others? Explaining the reason you’re interested in a leadership role can help clarify what you’d bring to the table and why the employer should hire you. Don’t be embarrassed about selling yourself – the hiring manager will expect you to communicate why you’re a great fit for the job, and showing confidence in your skills helps to demonstrate that you’re ready to lead a team.

Going for an internal promotion

You might be happy at your current employer but feel ready to take on some more responsibility. You could have a head-start on external candidates if in your current position you’ve already demonstrated some of the leadership skills that your new role would require. If not, now is the time to pick up some management experience and show you can handle additional responsibility. Find out if there are any projects you can get involved in, and offer to take the lead on certain tasks - ideally those that require the coordination of a group of colleagues. This can demonstrate your leadership potential and also highlights your interest in stepping up to a management position in the future.

For the latest industry insights or to talk about growing your team, connect with our team today.


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