My exposure to MT has only been through the podcast. Loving it!

I've always been an individual contributor, but feel I have leadership skills that complement my people and technical skills.

I work in the field for a very well known and highly respected Fortune 500 company. Since I work in the field (and not headquarters), my chances of moving into management are limited, unless I want to move. (Out of the question)

I'm 38 and have worked in the tech industry for 14 years. I should be completing my bachelors in Information Systems next spring.

My only experience in "managing" has been effectively managing a territory that include customer demands, system processes, and company assets. I don't have any directs, nor do I manage a budget.

If I apply for Management positions at other companies in my hometown (St. Louis), what are some tactics I can employ that might lessen the fact that I don't bring traditional management experience?

Any advice is welcome. Thank you!


duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

Customer demands, system processes and company assets....  In other words, people skills, operational skills and inventory/budgeting skills.   Sounds like you've got a great base.

I would just track every experience you have that is a management function, I bet you come up with a big list.   You may not have role power, but I bet you get a lot of work done through other people; and work inside or direct a lot of mini projects - all those are management skills.

When I wanted to be a manager, my stock answer to the interview question around not having management skill was "But I already am!   I do X, Y, Z!" I then gave examples of skills, traits, characteristics, and abilities that showed a) I could easily move into a formal title of manager and b) saw myself as a leader and manager.

Also do things in your own time that show you're serious about wanting to be a manager.  Reading books is the easiest.  How about taking some leadership positions in volunteer organisations?  Toastmasters is a great place to practice leadership skills.     I took an MBA, which may have been overkill, but at least it was proved I was serious about business and learning management.

One of my bosses told me a great story.  When he went for a job interview and wanted to be a manager he was interviewed by a panel of guys who kept making juvenile jokes about "You want to be a boss here?  Assume The Position".   At first he thought they were just being immature, innuendo delivering jerks -- but then he realised they were right.  If you want to become something you need to act like you are that thing as much as possible.  Do the work of a manager as much as you can where you are.   "Assume The Position" of a manager, and wait for the title and promotion to arrive.



n2growth's picture

At this point in my career, practical vs theoretical advice carries much more value; and that you provided!

Thank you!

duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

Glad that was of some use.  I forgot to add - by volunteering for leadership roles, reading/learning, and practicing - you'll be in a great place when you get your first formal management job.

In my first management role, I took over from a really horrible manager who was forced out of the business.  By comparison I looked like a genius because I didn't make major rookie mistakes.     I didn't make rookie mistakes because I did some preparation (Manager Tools wasn't around then, sadly).  

You're on the right track, so good luck.   I wish I had had a resource like this when I was learning - I'd be 10 years ahead of where I am now.



jib88's picture

Moving into your first line management position as part of a transition into a new company is very difficult. I have seen it done before, but it is much more common for someone to move directly up or 'diagonally' up at their present company.

It is much easier to make this kind of move internally, and the main reason for this is relationships. Any hire into a new manager role is higher risk than someone who has done the job before. This is mitigated if the hiring manager knows the person is capable, and you generally get closer to that goal through strong relationships.

You need to build relationships with people who could potentially hire you as a line manager. This probably means external networking for you. Toastmasters is a great suggestion. I'd also listen to the casts on job hunting. They have some great tips on reaching out to local business fora. Be nice and friendly to everyone you meet, and build your network. Cultivate an extroverted personality even if it doesn't come naturally to you.

This kind of transition may come down to knowing the right people at the right time, so it might take a while. I'd suggest in the meantime you could look for an individual contributor position that will have more opportunity for internal growth. You'd then have more options on the table down the road - You could still move to a different company if the right opportunity arose, or you might find something at that employer to move up to.

If you do move, you should target companies that are growing in size. A company that is continually adding positions will almost necessarily be adding more management positions. It's much easier to move up at a small growing company than at a large shrinking one. There's just going to be more opportunities, and a higher chance that there's something that fits your skill-set.

Good luck!


tplummer's picture

 For this answer, I'll assume you're not a lone field tech but instead work with several people. The thing I look for in future managers is the ability to lead people to meet deadlines or fix issues. This isn't formal. To put resume bullets that state, "Led a team of 3 to install a 300 server data center in 2 weeks" is powerful. Be technically in charge and translate that to resume bullets. Put the day by day schedule together. Collect and manage status. Track the budget. Report status to management. I'm not saying take credit for others work, but show that you're leading efforts. String a few of those together and you've got some management meat to your resume which could land you an interview. Anyone looking to hire a non-manager into management is looking for personal leadership skills first and foremost. Show that you have it. And if you don't, go get some pronto!