‘Help! I want to make the leap into management but don’t have experience’

Ashley lutz ask the insider

Ask The Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email [email protected]
Dear Insider,

I’m a 31-year-old woman in the retail industry. I have been in an entry-level position at my company for four years. I have gotten positive feedback at my reviews and several raises when my company can offer them.

An assistant manager position recently opened up at my company. I really want to apply for the position, but it requires “previous management experience” of which I have none. In some ways I feel like I’m the ideal person for the position because I know the company inside and out. I’m ready for the challenge. (And to pay off my student loans!)

How can I convince my employer that I’m the right person for the promotion?

Ready To Be A Manager


Dear Ready,

It’s great that you’ve set this goal to be a manager. Many people struggle with making it to the next level for this very reason: You need experience to get a job but need a job to get experience.

I recently had a friend come to me with a similar issue. She has been a teacher at the same school for years and wanted to apply when an assistant principal position came up. Despite a lack of “management” experience on her resume, she got the job! It can definitely happen if you take the right steps and market your skills.

As a longtime employee, you’re a good candidate for this job. You already know the company and team. Anyone external would be more of a gamble.

SEE ALSO: Help! I’m interviewing for jobs and don’t know how to leave work without lying

I’d start by making your interest clear as soon as possible. Tell your bosses that you are very interested in the position and plan to apply for it.

Ask for feedback on how you can gain the experience needed for this kind of position, either now or in the future. It’s more likely they will help if you approach the topic from a humble place and make it clear you want their help.

Next, I’d make two lists: one of tasks the manager would do and another of what you do in your current job. Take note of any overlaps.

Were you responsible for putting out a new floor set in the store? Do you fill in for your manager when she goes on vacation? Do you regularly assist suppliers with new shipments? These are all skills you could put on your resume when you apply.

SEE ALSO: Help! My coworkers are judging me for refusing the ‘more hours’ mentality

You should also envision how a manager would look and act. Maybe you start dressing up a little more for work. Take on more responsibility by volunteering for extra projects and hours. Offer feedback when someone is struggling with a problem.

Making the leap into management is a challenge. But if you market your skills and keep working hard, you will get there.


Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to [email protected] for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.

NOW WATCH: Don’t let ‘jerks’ ruin your day — here’s how to overcome their bad energy at work