You’re ready to take that next step in your career, although you don’t technically have any management experience—yet. Sure, you know you’d be a great boss, but how can you get someone to give you a shot when don’t have any direct supervisory experience?
While there’s no magic formula for landing a management role, there are a few things you can do to help employers see your potential.
1. Play Up Your Transferable Skills
Being a manager involves much more than just overseeing junior staff–most in this position also have to be comfortable with training and coaching, giving presentations, developing and interpreting policies or processes, recruiting and interviewing, creating schedules or timelines, and overseeing projects from start to finish.
Chances are, you’ve probably already had exposure to at least a few of these types of responsibilities throughout your career. Now all you have to do is get comfortable explaining (both in person and on your resume) how your experience translates into a leadership role.
If you’ve assisted with new hire onboarding, presented at a company training, collaborated on a new departmental policy rollout, pitched a new initiative to leadership, or planned and executed an event from start to finish, you’ve already got some legitimate management-level experience under your belt.
Highlighting these skills and projects on your cover letter and resume, and being prepared to talk about them in your next interview will help employers see your true potential.
2. Highlight Your Expertise
If you’re feeling ready to take on a manager-level role, you probably already have some serious industry expertise and wisdom about your job, team, or department. And that’s really valuable.
Understanding the ins and outs of your current position, the dynamic of your team, and the nature of your industry will be super helpful as you navigate your first management role. These also happen to be traits of an exceptional supervisor.
Feature your expertise on your resume and in your LinkedIn profile. You can do this by including a list of your most relevant skills, highlighting the total years of experience you bring to the table, mentioning the industry (or industries) you have expertise in, and sharing relevant content on your public social media platforms.
3. Invest in Your Continuing Education
If you’re feeling a little light on transferable experience or want to beef up your leadership skills, consider taking a management class or working toward a certification. Rather than sorting through the entire internet to look for the right one, check out this curated list of 10 great options.
Prospective employers will likely be impressed that you took the initiative to sharpen your skills, and it’s a great way to show your commitment. You can include these trainings on your resume even if you haven’t completed them yet–just be sure to indicate that the coursework is in progress (here’s more on that).
4. Be Ready to Explain Why You’re Ready
You’ll probably get asked why you want to step into a management role a lot throughout your interview process, so you’d better have a great answer ready to go. Are you passionate about employee development, full of great process-improvement ideas, or eager to challenge yourself?
Whatever your reasons, be prepared to explain why you’re interested, how you know you’re ready, what transferable experience you’ll bring to the table, and why a prospective employer should give you a shot.
As with any application, you’ll want to be realistic about how well your qualifications actually line up with the requirements of a given job posting. For example, if you’ve never led a team before, it’s probably best not to apply for a position where you’d be managing a staff of 20. If you’re not sure if it’s a reach, read this.
Staying within the same industry or targeting opportunities that’ll allow you to manage functions you’re very familiar with will also help to increase your chances of being considered.
But if you feel genuinely ready to take this next step in your career, you should go for it!