When you enter into a career that puts you on the track to management, the challenges along the way can either drain and discourage or give you a major boost. Anyone who wants to become a management professional will quickly discover that each challenge is an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques, leading toward secure employment and an upward career trajectory. An person who aspires to become a management professional quickly learns that the primary qualification is to become an expert at balancing projects, people, pennies and personal life. Some shining stars in the management field achieve professional status early in their careers, but the typical timeline requires sufficient educational background, specialized training and several years experience in different departments, eventually working up to take over a management role.
Begin taking on management positions as early as possible during your college and graduate-study years. In fact, high school is not to early to start. The experience you gain as an officer in a school team, student body association or a department-sanctioned organization will inform the management professional roles you take on later in your career. As you move into the work force, do not hesitate to step up to the leadership role for small or large-scale projects. These experiences will show you the areas of greatest strength as well as the areas where you need to focus further development for management professional roles in the future. Keep personal records of each managerial or leadership accomplishment so that you can reference this in your resume or interviews as you move up the corporate ladder.
Although the term "management professional" can refer to a broad range of responsibilities in various fields, several basic principles apply no matter what field you eventually decide to focus on. Budgeting and finance courses provide you with a strong understanding of fiscal matters that are standard in every industry. Interpersonal skills are also critical and may be developed in communication courses and a variety of workshop or studio-style learning environments. A management professional must also be familiar with the classic quality structures used in many industries. So gaining Six Sigma certification or learning TQM (Total Quality Management) methods and principles will be a necessity. Keep your eyes open for specialized training opportunities even after you have been with a company for some time. Many corporations support people on the management professional track by paying tuition and a stipend for courses outside the workplace.
Develop your personal life early by becoming involved in extracurricular activities while still in school. Many employers will look for a management professional who has a well-rounded lifestyle. If you enjoyed sports in school, there is no reason why you cannot continue that interest as your career develops. You may choose to be a weekend long-distance bike rider, coach a Little League team or hone your mastery of the golf course. Music appreciation, community events and travel are also areas of personal interest that are often pursued by management professional candidates. While these activities may not appear on your resume, they will give you a boost in status when you can speak of them socially or during job interviews.
Tips and Comments
Pay attention to your clothing and grooming as you move up the career ladder. A management professional is expected to portray a reputable image for the company, to team members and to outside customers.
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