How to Move Into Your First Manager Role

All great food manufacturing careers need to start somewhere. For most employees, the progression path begins with an entry-level position. Over time, as you develop your skills and knowledge, you can apply for promotions and higher-paid roles.

After a while in the food industry, you may feel you have the leadership skills, knowledge, and expertise to thrive in a managerial role. A position as a manager can be an excellent way to increase your earning potential, showcase your knowledge, and unlock greater job satisfaction.

However, figuring out how to move into your first food manufacturing manager position can be challenging.

Here are some of the top tips you can use to improve your chances of a new leader-level job.

Step 1: Excel in Your Current Role and Do Your Research

To achieve any promotion in the manufacturing landscape, you first need to show your manager how great you are at what you do. Managers need significant expertise and experience in the field they will be supervising. Showing your leaders, you’re a capable and accomplished member of the team will make them more likely to see your potential as a manager.

While you’re working on demonstrating your value in your current position, it’s worth doing some research. Find out what skills the current managers in your manufacturing company have, and determine whether there are any gaps you’ll need to fill in your abilities.

It can also be helpful to look at how your company handles internal movement and promotions. Are there certain times of the year when your employers make decisions about who should be moved into leadership roles? Finding out in advance will help you to decide when to approach your employer about any management opportunities.

Step 2: Develop Your Managerial Skills

There’s more to thriving in a managerial position than being an expert in the food manufacturing industry. There’s a good chance you’ll need to develop some crucial new skills to prove you can succeed in a managerial role.

The research you’ve done into the other managers in your company should help you to determine which talents matter most to your business. However, some of the most common managerial skills you may need to develop include:

·      Leadership skills: Learn how to motivate, inspire, and engage other employees by taking on the leader position in group tasks and volunteering for opportunities to take charge.

·      Decision-making skills: You’ll need to be able to analyse situations effectively and respond to different scenarios with confidence.

·      Organisational skills: Demonstrate your organisational skills by ensuring you always meet deadlines and deliver punctual work.

·      Interpersonal skills: Work on your emotional intelligence and communicate regularly with leaders and other colleagues in your manufacturing business.

·      Problem-solving skills: Show your ability to respond creatively to problems by suggesting solutions to issues in team meetings.

It’s also helpful to invest in your continued manufacturing education. Earning new certifications and accreditation will demonstrate your expertise in your industry, and help to differentiate you as a potential leader.

Step 3: Show Initiative

Often, proving you’re ready for a food management job, means making sure you take advantage of every opportunity to showcase your expertise and abilities. This means you will need to take initiative if you want to stand out.

Volunteer for tasks a manager might normally do, like taking charge of a team project or helping your boss with a challenge most people would rather avoid. Rather than waiting for your supervisors to offer you training and development opportunities, seek out your own educational strategies to develop the skills you know are crucial to your company.

You can even demonstrate your leadership capabilities outside of your current role, by taking on leadership positions in non-profit organisations, and sharing your volunteering experiences with your company leaders.

Step 4: Ask for the Position

Once you’ve had a chance to demonstrate your abilities, build your skillsets and connect with the supervisors in your workplace, it’s time to ask for your new role. Arrange a time to meet with your boss face-to-face or over video so you can discuss your career progression opportunities.

During this meeting, you’ll need to be prepared to explain why you’re ready for this new challenge, and provide as much evidence as possible. Highlighting your recent accomplishments and drawing attention to the managerial skills you’ve developed will be useful here. If possible, it’s always a good idea to have relationships with other food manufacturing managers in your team who can vouch for you.

If your employer doesn’t think you’re ready for a manager role yet, or there isn’t a space available for you to move into, ask what the next step is. Work with your boss to figure out what you need to do to transition into your ideal role.

Step 5: Be Prepared to Switch Companies

Finally, if you’re committed to becoming a manager, it’s important to be flexible. The reality is even if you do all the work and prove yourself to your existing employer, there may not be a leadership opportunity available in your current company.

Unless your boss is looking for a manager to fill a role after another team member has left, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to find the budget to create a new position just for you. With this in mind, you may need to look elsewhere for your management job.

Work with a food manufacturing recruitment agency to track down positions relevant to your expertise and experience. Your recruitment team will be able to help you find a new job that not only offers you the manager responsibilities you want, but the company culture and benefits you need too.

By Scott Williams

I’m an independent owner of Food Recruit.

Passionate about the Food Manufacturing industry, having spent time as a Supply Chain Manager and Business Development Manager for two of the UK’s largest meat importers.

High Care, Low Care, Chilled and Ambient I have worked across all markets, including B2B, Foodservice, Wholesale and Retail.

I fell into recruitment in 2016 to start a Food & Drink desk in a long-standing Engineering Recruitment business in the West Midlands.

Progressing on to Business Development Manager, covering multiple markets before starting my agency in September 2020.

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