5 Ways to Become A Manager Without a Management Degree

Manager holding like a boss mug

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Makeda Waterman16

What do you need to study to become a manager? A manager role is a dream people with strong leadership skills desire. It is a step away from an executive role that can change your life forever. Most people do not have the resources or time to go back to school to acquire a new degree in management. Alternatively, there are other ways to qualify for this kind of position. Read on to find out about other paths to becoming a successful manager.

How do I become a good first-time manager?

Wondering, how do I become a manager with no experienceHere are seven ways to do just that.

1. Get volunteer experience.

Why not become a volunteer manager? It is a good way to earn similar experience if you pursue this route for a year or so. Communicate to your boss about the experience in a way that highlights your core strengths. For example, share details such as managing a food drive during a holiday and the number of people on the team. Self-promotion is one way to share out-of-office experiences that people at work may not necessarily know about you.

2. Dress and act the part.

If you're hoping to become a visible leader, you need to use self-promotion tools including business cards, a complete LinkedIn profile, and business attire. If a plan of action is confusing, I recommend working with a career coach or finding a mentor who can offer an honest perspective. Another strategy is to attend meetups or other events leaders attend. Pay attention to their attire, how they speak, and the topics that matter to them so you can follow suit.

3. Get business experience.

Owning a business, whether it is from home or in a leased space in a strip mall, is as managerial as it can get.  Most people tend to leave this information on a resume or do not include it in conversations at networking events, but that's a mistake. Running a business while working a full-time job that includes hiring freelancers, remote employees, or casual workers is sufficient—and often important—managerial experience. You'll learn skills like how to lead, communicate effectively, delineate tasks and give (and receive) constructive feedback.

Also, if you're wondering, how do I become a tough manager? gaining more business experience can help you to better understand the ins and outs of the role to perform with confidence.

4. Help a manager.

One of the best ways to get ahead is to help professionals in leadership roles. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Help a supervisor manage assignments.
  • Assist a manager with his or her paperwork.
  • Offer to manage the team when a supervisor is busy.

Be in the position to be the go-to person a manager can depend on for help whether he or she is on vacation or the work is increasing. 

5. Stay active on a committee.

An active participant on a committee is the first person in the room to take on a leadership role. A leadership role can include running marketing initiatives for the committee, managing the committee’s financial budget, public speaking, or recruiting new members to the group. Being active on a committee can help you learn these skills like budgeting, public speaking and recruiting talent.

If you can work towards a presidential or vice president role and remain in the committee for over a year, it can be an effective addition to a resume. 

Final Thoughts

The most effective way to become a manager without a higher education degree is to put yourself in a position to gain more experience. Try strategies such as volunteering, dressing like a leader, offering to help your manager with their responsibilities, and joining a committee. It is important to be proactive and continue to build diverse experiences to add on a resume.

Remember to practice interpersonal skills to show the organization you have the skills to work with people of different ages, genders, and backgrounds. Good luck!

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