Did you have an undeniable need to always be in the lead when you were growing up? Maybe that meant beating your buddies in the latest video game or being the first to board the bus—regardless of the competition, you always wanted to be a cut above the rest.
Just because you’re a little older now doesn’t necessarily mean things have changed.
Only now you’re working to be a frontrunner in your field and it’s time to pursue one of those top management positions. By having the foresight to start planning now, you can get started on the right path to succeed in the near future.
But first, consider these three factors:
- Which area of management you would like to work in?
- Which entry level position will help you get there?
- How much experience you will need to earn the position?
The goal of this article is to help you answer these three questions so keep reading to find out which area of management is the best fit for you and your future.
Top management positions with opportunities
A title like “CEO” on your business card probably sounds amazing. The prestige that comes with that type of position is equal only to the responsibility it requires. And the reality is that CEO opportunities are few and far between.
Instead, try targeting management opportunities in fields with large numbers of job openings. That should greatly increase your odds of advancing your career. The chart below highlights the top management positions by number of vacancies. It should give you a better understanding of where to start your search.
From healthcare management to information technology to human resources, there is a wide range of industries that can help you find a top management job and allow you to finally fulfill your career aspirations.
Use this list to begin to identify which of these areas of management interest you the most. Then develop a plan of attack in a field that offers strong prospects for future promotion.
Developing your baseline knowledge
The preparation it takes to be the best is something you know all too well. The championship trophies in your closet and the awards hanging on your wall speak volumes about your accomplishments. But before becoming the best in your professional life, you’ve got to build a foundation of knowledge. That’s why you’re already starting to think about the education you’ll need to pursue one of these management positions.
If you’re anticipating needing a college degree to reach these positions, you would be correct.
Employers across all the industries we looked at overwhelmingly prefer candidates to have a bachelor’s degree prior to moving into management. In fact, 81 percent list a four-year degree as a prerequisite.*
A bachelor’s degree will allow you to pursue a greater number of vacant positions and help you avoid hitting a glass ceiling as you target advancement opportunities throughout your career.
“A bachelor’s degree allows students—and ultimately the candidate—to understand how their actions and decisions affect the ultimate goal of their organization,” says Soma D. Jurgensen, business program state coordinator at Rasmussen College. Therefore, to be a quality candidate you will need to know how the fabric of business is woven together and which skills will help you manage a team that accomplishes those business goals.
Starting from the bottom
Let’s face it, unless you have some strong family or personal ties to the organization’s executive leadership, you’ll have to work your way up. To do that, you will most likely need to have a plan and start paying your dues.
It’s important to start gaining experience in an entry-level position right away. This will help you start building a foundation of knowledge and experience. It’s often the boss who decides when you’re ready for a management role, but it’s still smart to understand what employers look for in management candidates so you’re ready when your time comes.
Based on our analysis, here is a breakdown of the levels of experience required to move into top management positions.*
You can see that the experience needed to reach one of these management positions varies. For example, 84 percent of management positions in medical and health services require less than five years experience. But if you want to be a manager in information systems, five years experience will qualify you for just 39 percent of vacant positions.*
Developing a greater understanding of the amount of experience needed to be qualified for a management position will help you build a plan for two, three or even five years down the road. That will allow you to stay focused on your current job while keeping your eyes on the management prize later in your career.
Everyone who considers a top management position finds themselves at a different point along the path to making it happen. You may need to finish earning a business degree, start building up your experience or maybe even motivate yourself to get off the couch. No matter where you are in the process, it’s important to visualize your path, set achievable goals and continue outsmarting your competition. Follow these recommendations and, before you know it, you will have worked your way to the top of your chosen field.
*Source: BurningGlass.com (Analysis of the job openings, education & experience requirements for the top management occupations, Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013)