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How to Become an Office Manager
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How to Become an Office Manager

February 12, 2019
Office manager

There are many paths to becoming an office manager today in the corporate world. While some companies hire office managers solely based on the amount of education and certifications they hold, other companies may only promote employees to office manager from within the company. Learning how to become an office manager will vary based on company and organization, however, the job itself requires specific skills, personality traits, and on-the-job experience. If you’re looking to pursue the office manager career path, here are some essential things to keep in mind.

Required Skills

When learning how to become an office manager, there are some required job skills you’ll need to possess. One of the basic skills is going to be proficiency with basic office programs, such as Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and any other project-management systems your company uses for productivity and team management. Some other common programs include Slack, Skype, Trello, Asana, and Hubstaff. There are a variety of technical systems that companies may use, so in order to become an office manager, you need to be tech savvy.

Because office managers are supervising a team of employees, heading down the office manager career path will require some basic knowledge of human resources. Managers may have to handle employee relations, so it’s important to be on top of laws, regulations, and office safety requirements within the office. Human resource skills also include tracking employee’s productivity and time, interviewing new hires, and dealing with employee mishaps, which are all tasks that office managers may take on in their role.

Lastly, hands-on project management skills will be necessary in office manager titles. An office manager today can take on a number of different duties within their role, including managing budgets, project deadlines, team meetings, and more. An office manager is a jack of all trades and will need excellent time management and multitasking skills.

Personal Qualities

Because an office manager requires so many skills in the workplace, it takes someone with a strong personality to do this job well. While skills can be learned, the personality traits of a strong office manager are things that will be natural. Some of the best personal qualities that an office manager can have include someone who can be flexible yet firm when necessary and someone who has excellent, solid communication skills.

Other personal qualities include being a strong and confident leader, so that the office manager can manage a team effectively. They should be accessible so that employees feel comfortable talking to them, and they should also be very organized.

On-the-Job Experience

On-the-job experience is essential for becoming an office manager, because many companies will only hire for the office manager role by promoting from within the company. This is because it’s much easier to perform well within this role when you know the company and the team in and out. When you work your way up into the role of office manager, you’ll feel more confident transitioning into the role, completing projects, suggesting new ideas, and hiring new team members when needed.

Some companies will hire office managers from outside of the company, but this is usually when they are searching for a completely new concept or a new eye. When being hired from outside, you’ll need a lot of on-the-job experience on your resume from other companies to be considered for an office manager role.  

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Job Role

The specific job role for office manager can vary a lot depending on the company and industry in which you work for. In fact, many companies have other titles for office manager which may take on the same job duties. Office manager titles may include project manager, account executive, vice president of operations, or administrative services manager. You’ll want to look specifically at the job description, when taking on an office manager role, at any specific company so that you know what you’re responsible for in the position.  

While the duties may vary from one company to the next, the general duties in the office manager job role include managing projects from initiation to completion, managing teams and overseeing their productivity each day, overseeing the office and making sure everything stays organized, and always being a welcoming leader for other employees to approach when needed.

If you’re looking to pursue the office manager career path, it’s important to perform well in whatever position you’re currently in at your office. You’ll need to show your co-workers and your managers that you’re reliable, a hard worker, and someone who can lead, even if you’re not currently in a leadership role. These qualities will shine through over time, and when a management position opens, your hard work may get you promoted. Though it takes patience, working your way up in a company to an office manager role can be valuable and rewarding. It is a well-respected position which can lead to even more opportunities for advancement down the road.

Written by:

Kait Hobson
Workplace Innovation
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