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Read more about working in Management ↓

Management styles differ greatly, which means that great managers can come in all shapes and sizes. Every field leans on different techniques, and every team requires a different approach. Some managers may be very hands-on in order to support and encourage staff, while others may excel at delegating and pushing employees to do their best.

Many companies recruit managers from within, but there are also many graduate schemes which offer management positions straight away to those who display the necessary leadership skills.

One way that graduates can increase their employability in Management is by registering with the Chartered Management Institute. The CMI is provides management training, and is an excellent resource to give graduates direction and advice on how to progress in interviews and gain employment.

How to get a job in Management

Graduates hoping to work in Management need to be versatile and able to strike a balance. Management requires leaders who can run the business side of things, including stock, sales and margins, and at the same time spearhead the team. Staff are often said to be a business' most valuable asset, and it is the manager's responsibility to get the best out of them.

Candidates should display the following:

1. Sound business mind

Candidates need to be able to understand the business and how it functions. A business-related degree or experience working in a business will be a definite asset for candidates needing to show they have what it takes to go into Management.

2. Background in business or retail

Most positions in Retail Management require graduates to have some background in business or retail. While many companies offer training in how their specific operation works, candidates should display a basic understanding of business operations. Evidence of previous work in business or retail management will be very well received.

3. Ability to develop or maintain a business

Being able to maintain a business is important in Management, but even better is the ability to develop and expand the business. It is a manager's duty to drive the business on to bigger and better things.

Employers look for candidates with foresight, the ability to plan long term and the drive to put those plans into action.

4. Good interpersonal skills

Managers must know when to give employees a firm guiding hand, and when a pat on the back is needed. Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they have held positions of authority, and are able to handle a variety of situations that may arise.

Graduates should think about when they may have dealt with conflict in the past, whether with coworkers at a part time job or classmates on a group project, and be able to speak to how they helped negotiate an amicable resolution. Candidates who can show that they are capable and confident in handling these types of situations will stand out.

5. Leadership skills

A manager's main responsibility is to guide their team to achieve as much as it can, and to handle any setbacks that may get in the way of success. That may involve providing staff with training, giving constructive feedback or dealing with staff concerns.

Candidates should display a desire to lead and an ability to develop a quick rapport with their employees.

6. Specific relevant skills

A great way for a candidate to get a job in Management is to know how to emphasise their skills and be able to demonstrate how they might be of direct benefit to the business.

The nature of each business will dictate which skills are most important, so an awareness of the relevant skills is essential. Some positions will require excellent customer service, some a head for numbers, and others will be all about team management. Whatever it is, graduates should think about what might make them the best candidate for the role.

Management Case Studies

Ashley Hever Charlotte Bass
It's not a rotational graduate scheme, you are really learning how to run your own business and you're doing that in the branches on a daily basis.

The Employer - Ashley Hever (European Talent Aquisition Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car)

Ashley Hever

Name: Ashley Hever
Job Title: European Talent Acquisition Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car
University: University of Hull
Course: Criminology

What competencies do you like to see in candidates?

We look for graduates, but we don't really care what degree you've done, whether you've got a 1st or a 2:2 or what university you've been to. It is just about looking far and wide for talent because talent goes to every university. People that say 'I've just worked in a pub' should never undersell what they've done. Even then they're learning team working skills, customer service skills and a good work ethic by combining part time work with study. Anything you've done at university can help you in that quest for a graduate job.

Can you talk us through the application process?

Our application process is an online application, followed by a short telephone interview. Then there will be a face to face interview with one of the Talent Acquisition teams, after that a branch visit where you will see where you're potentially likely to work. They'll also have an interview with the Branch Manager there, that'll be followed by an assessment centre.

What is the most common mistake you see in an application, which leads to candidates being rejected?

Not tailoring the application to the particular role. They should take a few extra minutes to check they haven't put John Lewis or another company in there. That's the difference you can see, we want to be looking forward to meeting you and be excited about what we've seen on paper. If it's not exciting, are you likely to get that first interview?

What is the main piece of advice you would give a graduate starting your scheme?

The competencies we look for in the interviews are really woven into what can push you up through the reviews, training and development when you're actually with the company. So we want people that have leadership skills when we interview you. So when you get your training, development and reviews you can demonstrate these skills in the business. The same with customer service, you said you enjoyed customer service, but have you been able to demonstrate that in the business. Are your communication skills where they need to be to be influential and to influence others?

What's the main challenge graduates face when they start?

It's not a rotational graduate scheme, you really are learning how to run your own business and you're doing that in the branches on a daily basis. There is a steep learning curve and it's competitive but it can also be a lot of fun. As for any graduate job it isn't very easy and there aren't many jobs out there that are nine to five. It is hard work, but we do like to make sure we have fun at work every day too.

The Employee - Charlotte Bass (Branch Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car)

Charlotte Bass

Name: Charlotte Bass
Job Title: Branch Manager - Enterprise Rent-A-Car
University: The Arts Institute at Bournemouth
Course: Graphic Design
Graduation Year: 2008

How did you find your graduate job in Management?

At the start I just looked on the internet and used the Bournemouth University careers service. I was of the mind that I didn't want to be in an office all day long. Enterprise offered quick progression and a bit of room for change. Not to necessarily go down the full rental path but you can change the direction where you want to go.

Why do you think you were successful at Enterprise Rent-A-Car?

I think it was genuinely my bubbly personality. I think that always helps being approachable and just generally outgoing. The key thing is to just show hardworking skills. I talked about my university qualifications and the jobs I had held previously. For me it was a lot of part time work experience which helped getting this job.

What do you actually do?

For me as a Branch Manager, if I'm not involved in the daily operation, I will observe my team throughout the day and see that managers and assistants are giving consistent feedback. I will then sort out the accountancy side of the business. It could be working on the marketing side and searching out new business, then going out to visit these businesses myself or going with business account managers.

I have meetings scheduled in every day. We also do training pieces throughout the day so I'd pull employees aside and train them on a mixture of activities. I am always training and developing my employees on all different activities daily, I want to help them in developing their skills and become our future managers.

What skills do you need?

We take on people that don't have years of previous sales experience. It's not that specific that you need to have business management behind you. When you're actually in the store you get guided through every step. I had worked in a variety of service stations, I did some events based bits and pieces whilst at university. I had that behind me so it definitely helped but isn't a massive hindrance if you don't have it already because the training is there to help promote you and guide you through the pathways.

What is the best thing about your job?

I think it's the variety. It could be experiences like this (being interviewed by the graduate-jobs.com team!) or just being exposed to so many different things. You could be going out marketing, planning operational or on training sessions. The role just offers such a great deal because you get that feeling of being in control of your own business. I never thought I'd get access to the figures from day one, I can see my branches profit and loss statement. That's what I really enjoyed.

What advice would you give to graduates applying to Enterprise?

I would possibly say coming with key areas of sales, customer service and your passion for career progression. Everybody really wants to see someone that's really engaged and really keen. What I look for when I interview is someone that wants to get involved and are able to demonstrate the skills they have developed at University.

If you want to find out more about graduate jobs with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, please take a look at their company profile.