How To Get Management Experience When You Don’t Have Any

by Ben Richardson
2nd November 2021    
Celebrating With A Manager

If you’re trying to climb the career ladder and move into a managerial position, it can be challenging to know where to start.

Most positions require previous managerial experience, creating a Catch-22 situation.

How do you get your first management role?

You can’t become a manager because you lack experience but can’t get experience because you haven’t been a manager.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it is worth considering other ways to demonstrate your management ability to a potential boss in an interview or on your CV if you don’t have years of experience.

This article will discuss various ways to get management experience and demonstrate that you are ready for a managerial role.



Why Do You Need Experience To Get A Management Position?

Experience is vital when applying for a managerial position.

Companies tend to be risk-averse and prefer the person they hire to have already demonstrated their management skills, and ideally have attended management training as well. 

They like to ask for specific examples of people management in interviews to understand how much experience candidates have.

This means that the best way to get a management job is to be a manager already.

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to demonstrate your ability as a manager without having experience in an official managerial position.

 Let’s take a look.


4 Ways To Get Management Experience At Work

There are lots of ways to demonstrate that you are ready to make the step up to a management position.


1. Act as a mentor to inexperienced staff

If you have consistently performed well in your current role, senior staff may offer you the opportunity to mentor newer team members to improve their skills.

Volunteering for this role will give you an experience of training and acting as a coach, a big part of the role of being a manager. 

Helpfully it will also position you well if an internal vacancy for a manager comes up. 


2. Manage individual projects

Most managers will be delighted to delegate projects if they trust you. 

Offering to manage a project is a win-win. 

Your manager has more free time for other strategic tasks, and you can get some much-needed managerial experience.

Perhaps you could organise the staff rota, manage the staff budget or even something as simple as planning a party.

By displaying your organisational skills and leadership, you will show employers that you have the experience and expertise needed to thrive in a managerial role.


3. Come up with new ideas

Managers need to be creative and proactive in dealing with issues. 

Proactively looking for ways to make your team more efficient or deal with problems is a great way to demonstrate that you possess the skills required for a management role.


4. Show leadership within your team

From organising meetings to mediating disputes between team members, there are plenty of opportunities in everyday working life to show your leadership skills on an informal basis.

If colleagues can’t get along, attempting to build bridges between them demonstrates strong communication skills. 

Demonstrate your organisational skills through simple tasks like planning meetings or ordering supplies effectively.

These small responsibilities won’t take up too much time and can be incorporated into your working day, but they could significantly impact how employers view your CV when a management job comes up.


If you can show your capability as a manager through a variety of non-managerial roles, your prospective employers will have more confidence in your suitability for the position.


Sign Saying People Should Become Leaders


3 Ways To Get Management Experience Outside Work

 While most opportunities to gain relevant skills will be at work, it is not the only place where you can gain management experience.

If you are part of a sports team or hobby group, there will be chances to improve your managerial skills and get the experience you need.

Many managerial techniques and responsibilities transfer from a working environment to a non-working environment, so try to develop these wherever you can.

Here are a couple of ways in which you can show that you are management material:


5. Leading a group & planning events

If you attend a group, volunteer to help with running it. 

Organising is time-consuming, so those in charge are likely to appreciate the help, and you can gain relevant experience while you help out.

Whether sending out email invites, booking a meeting space or helping to set everything up, many tasks can provide evidence of your managerial capability.


6. Overseeing finances

Financial issues come with a lot of responsibility and require a high level of trust.

By looking after the finances of your club or group, you show that you are a trustworthy person with good organisational skills – precisely the sort of person employers are looking for.


7. Speak up & get involved

Sometimes you will struggle for opportunities like the ones we’ve mentioned above.

If that’s the case, then whatever you are involved in, make sure you speak up and get noticed. 

Managers have to lead, and by definition, that requires you to speak up and be noticed. 

Speaking about times you were a ‘changemaker’ in an interview is a vital first step, even if you don’t have a more formal role like the ones we discussed above. 


Final Thoughts

 Demonstrating management experience is the key to getting a management job, as employers want to know that the person they hire can do the job.

It is not always easy to find ways to gain relevant experience. 

However, with a bit of creative thinking and a positive attitude, there are plenty of ways to gain experience that shows you are suited to a managerial role.


Image Credits:  krakenimages , rob walsh ,