It is good to be the boss. Managers get to command others and get paid to do it. It is no wonder why everyone wants a management position as their career, but not everyone can get a manager job. Even if you have the skills, most companies seem to demand a degree from their management candidates.
So, do you need a degree to become a manager? While most manager positions do require a degree, there are a few positions that do not. The difference largely lies in the needs and demands of the industry.
You will find that these non-degree manager positions tend to be for industries that do not require special skills. They may not offer the benefits of the degreed positions, but with the right skills, you can make a respectable career out of them.
Why Do Some Manager Positions Need a Degree?
Many industries want skilled managers, giving those with the appropriate credentials and experience some of the world’s highest salaries. These industries include government, healthcare, banks, wholesalers, business service companies, retail, insurance, and schools.
The education requirements vary from one organization to another. Some companies will take anyone with a degree. Others demand at least a Master in Business Administration (MBA) degree or equivalent.
The reasons for these requirements vary as much as the requirements themselves. While many of these reasons make sense for a particular industry, others do not.
For instance, companies in high-skill, competitive industries want you to show you can achieve a long-term goal as well as fully understand the needs of the industry. It makes sense that you need an engineering degree to manage a room full of engineers.
Other companies just want an outside evaluation of your skills and training, and thus require any degree. These places except you to learn the basics of management while in school.
Therefore, you might want to just get a degree. Unless you have a specific industry in mind, you can just attend your local community college on your free time.
That does not mean that all manager positions have an education requirement. Many low-tier manager positions just need managerial experience. To get that, you just need the right traits and the right volunteer work.
11 Traits of a Manager
Regardless of the position or industry, all good managers have a few traits that make them better for the job than others. If you plan on serving as a manager one day, you must ensure you learn these 11 skills common to effective management.
- Caring – Good managers care about their subordinates. They want people to succeed and live well in their jobs and at home
- Coaching – Good managers know how to teach others to develop their skills and complete their jobs.
- Communicating – Great communicators make great managers. They know how to listen and let others speak. They also know how to share the company’s vision
- Development – Good managers acknowledge and are generally interested in their employee’s career development
- Emotional resilience – Managers with excellent emotional resilience to take anything the world throws at them, serving as inspiration for others.
- Fair treatment – Fair managers know when and to whom to allocate tasks based on individual capacity and development
- Fosters innovation – Innovation is the key to any business. Good managers know how to create new ideas and how to foster new ideas in others without micromanaging.
- Overall manager effectiveness – Good managers know how to help others stay motivated and do their best work. People who work under them feel supported and valuable members of the team.
- Results-oriented – Good managers seek results while maintaining performance standards.
- Technical capability – Good managers understand the technical nature of the job and know how to work alongside the team as necessary.
- Vision and goal setting – Good managers understand how to translate the organization’s vision and strategies into something achievable.
Can You Become a Manager Without Experience?
Many manager positions require some experience. The requirement is so prolific that you may believe you need “Manager” on your resume just to get an interview. Sure, there might be a few HR directors who demand such things, but most companies just want to know if you know how to lead people.
Fortunately, you can get that leadership experience through other means, including many which require no job experience. You may already do some of these things. All you need to do is mention that you do them in your cover letter and interview.
Lead a Project
Project management is a component of any manager position. Thus, you can learn the necessary skills just by opting to lead projects as they come your way. You do not even need a huge project. You can start small such as organizing a holiday party.
Train, Teach, Coach, and Mentor
A manager is the coach of a business team. Therefore, you can use any coaching job as your managerial experience. Volunteering for a local sports team does this in a fun and exciting way, but you can coach people outside of ports as well. Be a mentor to someone or tutor a class. Be creative.
Hone Your Interviewing Skills
At many companies, managers serve on the human resources team. Thus, you will be inspected to interview prospective new talent. Thus, the companies want to know if you have the same skills you need to get the job in the first place.
Thus, you gain experience just by volunteering to interview candidates for your current employer or a charity organization.
Learn to Manage Conflict and Give Feedback
Managers deal with “people issues” every day. As the boss, you must deal with your family, co-workers, and friends berate you over how you conduct your job. Thus, you must know how to resolve conflicts in positive, constructive ways.
Therefore, you can gather managerial experience just by learning how to handle these personal conflicts at home. You will find several books and resources on the topic. You just have to find the ones which work for you. Not only will you be a better manager, but you may improve your personal life as well.
Create and Manage a Budget
Managers manage their team budget. Their careers live and die based on how well their teams use their budget to complete their tasks. Thus, you want to show you can make and keep a budget. That will show your prospective employers that they can spend their budget on you.
Luckily, learning how to manage a business budget will help you in and outside of work, especially since your home budget is the best place to develop this experience.
Other ways to develop budgeting skills include taking courses on finance, budgeting, and accounting. Most reliable training programs will provide managerial experience as a part of their curriculum.
There are many other skills you can learn to enhance your prospect for landing a manager experience. Some of these skills are easy to understand, such as communication, presentation, leadership, and strategic thinking.
When the interviewer asked if you have experience as a manager, you should include any moment you had to use these skills to achieve something. It does not have to be for a job. Practical management experience can come from anywhere.
Never sell yourself short. You may have to reveal some of your personal life, but you may have more manager experience than you think you have. Remember, your prospective employer just wants to know if you can lead others to accomplish goals.