How to Become an Operations Manager

Becoming an Operations Manager

Step 1: Starting Up

There are two common paths to securing a job as an operations manager:

The first path involves joining the operations department at the entry level. Your academic qualifications determine whether you can work as a junior-level executive or worker in the operations department. Although these roles might be entry-level, they would still be low-paying. Compensation would depend on the complexity of the position. For example, an engineer joining an aerospace company in the operations department right out of college would be considered an entry-level but well-paid employee.

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The second path is to move laterally from some other department. Not all departments will offer the same opportunities for lateral movements. It would depend on the specifics of the role and how much of your experience matches the requirements of that role. For example, if you have experience in HR, you can move to HR operations. Similarly, if you have accounting experience, you can move into operations roles. These roles need cost accounting, inventory management, etc.

Regardless of the chosen path, the focus would be on getting a lot of good experience on worthwhile projects. It would also involve enhancing your domain knowledge.

Step 2: Adding Value to Your CV

You would have to distinguish yourself from other candidates to increase your chances of securing that coveted position in the operations department. If it’s a leadership role that you’re after, executive courses or an MBA might be worth considering. A Six Sigma certification might be more beneficial. It’s necessary if your position requires a focus only on operational efficiencies. You can find information about academic qualifications in another article linked below.

Step 3: Getting Specific

As you gain more and more experience while progressing through your career, it might make sense to start focusing on a niche. As a specialist, you would generally be more in demand and be able to secure jobs with better pay packages. For example, focusing exclusively on gaining experience in the automotive sector would make you a more obvious choice for any automobile company. They would be looking to hire an operations manager.

Step 4: Choosing the End Goal

The end goal of a career in operations might be the COO (Chief Operating Officer) or even the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) position. Yet, there are dozens of other senior-level posts that one could aim for, depending on where their interests lie. For example, one could become an independent operations consultant. Or, they could join a private equity team as a turnaround specialist focusing on operational matters.

The possibilities are endless. Deciding on your destination early in your career will motivate you and allow you to get there faster.

Search other articles to learn more about operations manager careers:

Job Description & ProfileSalary & PayQualifications, Skills & Requirements, etc.

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