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Start now to develop leadership skills

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When you look at job ads, you’ll notice few, if any, seeking people who are new to management. But how are you supposed to get started in management if all the jobs require experience?

It is possible, says management and leadership expert Dan McCarthy. He offers these suggestions to help you land a management job.

•  Take the lead on a project. Volunteer to help on project teams, and then observe what the leaders do. If things go well, emulate them. If not, do the opposite. Once you’ve seen a project managed properly, offer to lead a small project, like a Thanksgiving food drive, suggests McCarthy. The skills you use in this will be many of the same skills you’ll use in a full-time management position, such as budgeting, goal setting, organization and prioritization.

•  Share your skills with others. First you’ll need to develop an extensive knowledge of whatever the subject is, then work on skills needed to train, teach, coach and mentor others.

•  Serve on a new-employee selection committee. Managers must be skilled at interviewing and evaluating job candidates.

•  Learn to have awkward conversations and offer feedback. Every leader has to learn to deliver bad news, resolve conflict and give constructive feedback. If you can provide clear examples of when you’ve done this successfully, your path to a management job will be easier.

•  Master budgeting and money management. Volunteer to help your boss create and manage a budget or take a course to learn about cost-benefit analysis and other essential business budgeting concepts.

— Adapted from “How to Get Management Experience When You’re Not a Manager,” Dan McCarthy, About Money.

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