Career transitions can be difficult for anyone, and some transitions are harder than others. One of the more difficult career transitions happens later in life for most people, though. Making the leap from mid-level manager to executive can be a surprisingly difficult transition for many professionals — even more difficult than adjusting to a new entry-level position at the start of their career.
While this may seem surprising — especially since mid-level managers learn many of the leadership skills needed to be an executive — it’s understandable, since mid-level managers and executives use their leadership skills differently. This is why using executive resume writing services can help give you an edge during your search for an executive leadership role.
Mid-Level Manager vs. Executive Leadership Roles
A mid-level manager oversees employees, while an executive manages managers. In a healthy, functioning organization, employees will typically require closer supervision than managers. This means executives have more time and opportunity to work on high-level tasks, such as planning and strategy.
Managers, on the other hand, may be expected to encourage, discipline, evaluate and mentor employees on a day-to-day basis. These personnel-type skills are often essential to a manager’s success, but they are not necessarily required of an executive.
In some organizations, there’s a great deal of overlap between the roles of mid-level managers and executives. Executives in newer organizations — or organizations with several first-time managers — may find themselves stepping into the manager role on a more frequent basis.
First-time managers are sometimes promoted for their skills as employees, but they may not have the soft skills needed to lead and support their teams while they achieve their goals. Supervisor resume writing services can help mid-level managers transitioning into executive leadership highlight their executive-level strengths and abilities in their executive-level resumes.
It’s important for mid-level managers who want to move into executive leadership roles take on new challenges with enthusiasm. Those who are eager to take on new responsibilities and challenges are more likely to establish themselves as future executive leaders. It’s important to remain energetic, proactive and focused on the bigger picture for your organization.
While managers implement the strategies they are provided, it is up to the executive to formulate what those strategies will be in order to achieve success. From setting company or team goals to setting the bar on key outcomes, an executive’s outlook must go beyond promoting a single vision.
How to Make the Transition to Executive Leadership
Consider moving laterally. In today’s ultra-competitive environment, executives are expected to demonstrate an increasingly broad range of skills. Now, it’s essential for hopeful executives to have a deep understanding of metrics, margins, and their company’s financial health. If a mid-level manager’s current role or career path has not allowed them to develop and demonstrate a large set of business skills in several different environments, they might want to consider a lateral career move before attempting to move up to an executive position.
Similar size — or even smaller — roles that improve a mid-level manager’s credentials on their executive-level resume can lead to bigger opportunities. Therefore, it’s important to think about the big picture when taking the next step. Executive resume writing services can really help executive-level candidates tell the story of their knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience in a compelling way.
Take timing into consideration. If a mid-level manager is considering a move to an executive position, they should consider the likelihood of an executive position becoming available. If, for example, the position has been filled recently by a young and successful executive, it could be a very long time before this position is open again. It’s important for mid-level managers to be realistic about their potential future opportunities, and to consider all of their options if the timing is not in their favor.
Consider the corporate culture. Mid-level managers should consider the importance of cultural fit when deciding to make the leap into an executive role. Executives set the tone for their teams and for the organization, so if a manager is not in sync with the company’s culture, it is unlikely that they will be selected for upcoming executive positions.
Be open about your career goals. Without the support of those at the top, it is difficult for executives to rise into the executive ranks. Therefore, aspiring executives should make their ambitions known in order to gain their superiors’ trust and support. Voicing aspirations can be a sensitive topic, but it is possible to broach the subject in a way that expresses honesty and humility. Articulating your ambitions to those at the top also has the added benefit of allowing your superiors to inform you of the present situation and the achievability of your executive goal.
Find a mentor. Having a mentor in an executive position is a great benefit for any mid-level manager looking to move up to an executive role. Executive mentors can teach you about the ways of higher level executives while introducing you to the right people. They may even be able to give you tips on what to include in your executive-level resume. In addition to finding a mentor, it’s important to network often. Mid-level managers should remember that they are always networking — regardless of where they are at the moment.
Every organization—and every industry—will treat the role of manager and executive somewhat differently. Progressing to an executive role can be a difficult task, and is definitely one that requires careful strategic planning.
If you are considering transitioning to an executive position, contact Resume Pundits today to update your resume using our expert executive resume writing services.