How to snare a management job

May 18, 2010 at 1:28 am Leave a comment

Management jobs don’t grow on trees. Yet neither do managers. And lately, I’ve been noticing an increasing number of job leads and listings — in media, communications/PR and public affairs — for managers and supervisors. Interestingly, these jobs aren’t all targeted at those with a great deal of experience; they seem to be at all levels of organizations. The conundrum: How do you get a management job without real management experience? And if you don’t have significant supervisory experience, should you even bother trying to apply for one of these jobs? But then how will you ever become a manager?

Hiring experts say that because a growing number of management jobs are expected to come open in the near future — with the anticipated baby-boomer “brain drain” from executive and mid-level management ranks — you should think about whether you might be well-suited to manage others. You should, as always, carefully consider your experience when applying for a job. But think broadly — do you have an affinity for dealing well with people, motivating others, managing not only people but resources, or leading a team? If you’ve got some of these skills and your experience and skills fit the other attributes of the job, you should definitely consider going down this path. Managers are not necessarily born, but made.

Here are some ways to snare a management job now or in the future:

*Consider all the types of experience you’ve had. And if some of that experience showcases supervisory or leadership skills, specifically pitch that to prospective employers.  If you’re just a few years out of college and see an opportunity for an entry-level supervisory position, for instance, look back to leadership roles you held in college — such as in clubs (especially journalism or community groups), student government or even being an RA in your dorm. If you were an editor in chief or managing editor of your student newspaper, that could lead a hiring manager to think you might have an affinity for management — as you already handled those kind of duties. For mid-career professionals, even if you haven’t directly managed others, consider situations in which you mentored fellow staffers or led projects in your organization that displayed management and leadership skills. Play up this expertise and these roles in your resume and cover letter, and detail what such duties taught you about management if you’re fortunate enough to land an interview for a supervisory position.

*Start getting supervisory experience. If job hunting while employed, fill in as an editor or a manager for vacationing supervisors — often upper management will be happy for you to get them out of a scheduling jam, and this is a way to gain some supervisory experience. Consider other management tasks you can handle in your current job and seek them out in your organization. If not currently employed, read, take courses (plenty of online courses and relatively affordable classes — such as at community colleges — are available on management), and gain leadership experience in volunteer or community activities. Recent experience is best — when hiring managers ask what you’ve been doing lately, it’s impressive to say you’ve been studying management and leadership with an eye to landing a supervisory position in the future.

*Have others promote your affinity for management through referrals and references. References from those you have managed or mentored in the workplace, or who have had a front-row seat to situations where you’ve successfully led a project or committee, can be especially effective in promoting your candidacy for a supervisory position. If you’re relatively new at this, have them discuss why they think you would be an effective manager. As always with references (see April 21 post, “How to check out your own references” and Oct. 28 post, “Getting the most out of your references”) make sure you are preparing them to address questions about your fitness for this particular position. And for a management job, you’ll want not only those who supervised you in the past but those who you supervised (or mentored) to discuss what in your past would make you a good manager going forward. References from colleagues or especially those who benefited from your supervision should be part of your reference list.

*Seek advice from good managers; ask them to coach in how to be a supervisor. As management positions likely be increasing as a percentage of well-paying jobs in future years, it’s smart to start getting advice on the tricks of the trade. Look to your favorite supervisors (now or in the past) and seek to find out how they make management look easy. Many times managers aren’t necessarily rewarded for good management and if you ask in the right way (and especially if you let them know that you want to be a manager, too) they may be happy to spend some time coaching you in management, or at least to recommend the next steps for you if you want to follow in these footsteps.

*Job seekers should be extremely well-prepared for some common questions in interviews. One of the most obvious — but for which some job hunters are ill-prepared, probably out of avoidance because it can be an awkward topic — is why you left a job that wasn’t right for you. How much information to give is an issue, as well as how to phrase your answer you don’t sound flighty or like a problem employee.  Matthew Rothenberg has some good advice at CBS MoneyWatch:

*And here’s a variety of good leads to check out or pass along to others:

*The National Building Museum in D.C. has an opening for a director of marketing and communications:
Director of Marketing and Communications
The National Building Museum – Washington, DC
Communications The National Building Museum seeks an experienced Director of Marketing and Communications… organizational, communication and management skills…

*MPRI in Alexandria has an opening for a senior communications strategist to support the Army’s Chief of Public Affairs:

Senior Communications Strategist
L-3 Communications – Alexandria, VA
improving communications effectiveness, and ultimately achieving strategic communications goals and… Strategic Communications, Communications Metrics, and…
From L-3 Communications

*USA Weekend and USA Today are looking for a copy editor to work from the company’s headquarters in McLean:

multiple-platform media brand, seek a Copy Editor to be a champion of accuracy, grammar and readability. The Copy Editor will be relied upon to foster teamwork…
From CareerBuilder

*Georgetown University in D.C. has an opening for a grants and communications manager — the academic world has proved hospitable to some transitioning journalists, so this may be worth checking out:

Grants and Communications Manager
Georgetown University – Washington, DC
for 1) Grant Development and Management; 2) Communications Development and Management; and 3) Project… of experience in communications (or related field…
From Georgetown University

*GolinHarris, a PR firm, has an opening in Arlington for a digital communications director:

Digital Communications Director
Golin Harris – Arlington, VA – Arlington, VA
public relations we are seeking a Digital Communications Director to provide strategic digital communications counsel and direction to Washington DC clients…

*Dow Jones Newswires has an opening in D.C. for an energy reporter:

Dow Jones Newswires


Location: Washington, D.C.

Dow Jones Newswires is looking for a Washington-based energy reporter who will work on a two-person team to cover the fast-moving developments on climate change, alternative energy, oil, coal and nuclear power, among other issues. The reporter will follow legislation in Congress and regulations from the Energy Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department. The successful candidate must have a proven track record of breaking news and the ability to file rapidly on market-moving developments. Experience covering markets is a plus.

The reporter will work closely with editors at the Resources desk in New York as well as the Washington bureau chief. The reporter also will work closely with the Wall Street Journal reporters and editors to cover energy matters.

To apply, go to, mouse over “careers” and click “Search for Jobs.” Search for job number 000100965.  Please attach a resume and 5 clips of your published work to your application.

*Thomson Reuters has an opening in D.C. for a reporter to cover financial regulation:

Thomson ReutersFinancial Regulation Reporter

Location: Washington, D.C.

Thomson Reuters is seeking an experienced journalist to cover the high-profile topic of financial regulation in Washington, D.C. We are looking for someone who can break news out of the key banking regulators, including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve. The ideal candidate will also create strong sources in Congress, and can heavily contribute to the coverage of financial reform as it heads toward the finish line on Capitol Hill. The reporter should be able to compellingly tell the story of the interplay between Wall Street and Washington, writing articles that travel outside of Washington and resonate with traders and analysts. This person would be expected to work closely with financial reporters in New York, as well as with our Insider multimedia product, and with our Enterprise Editor to produce in-depth stories.

Essential Day-to-Day Responsibilities:

We are looking for a nimble reporter who can handle fast-breaking news with clarity and also produce analytical stories that drive the conversation. The ideal candidate will have or can easily create a strong network of contacts in government and the financial industry. The person will be able to work easily with a team.


Bachelors Degree

Required Skills (Must have), Necessary Industry Experience & Associated Number of Years of Experience:

Good news judgment.

Strong writing skills.

A track record of breaking news.

Ability to generate smart and incisive story ideas and to look beyond immediate developments to wider implications.

Ability to work well in high-stress situations.

An enthusiasm for the subject matter.

An ease with new technology.

Please apply online at:

*And to wrap up today’s leads, ThinkBusiness Media in Tysons Corner has a part-time opening for an editor:

There is a part-time (5 – 15 hrs./week) position open with ThinkBusiness Media Inc., publishers of ThinkBusiness magazine in Northern Virginia.

The editor job includes selecting and assigning stories and newsletter content, and there are plenty of opportunities to grow and develop the magazine’s Web site — including directing the social media strategy, recruiting local bloggers and developing

This is a great opportunity to make a real impact on this young publication!

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Oskian Kazouian, Chief Operating Officer, ( with “Editor Position” in the subject line.

Happy hunting!



Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

How to transfer your journalism skills to a new field Acknowledging flaws can help your job search

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

DC Works has moved!

I'm now blogging at I hope you'll join me there!

%d bloggers like this: