How To Become An Office Manager
Becoming an office manager can lead to a very fulfilling career. As an office manager, you get to set the workplace culture of an office, contribute to employee wellbeing, and ensure that your colleagues have what they need to be productive and successful.
There is definitely a wide range in the scope of responsibility for an office manager. Some office managers are responsible for managing small, intimate teams. Others are responsible for leading offices with dozens or even hundreds of employees. And if you work for a fast-growing company, you may just find yourself managing an office that hires a lot of new people in a short period of time, resulting in a dynamic and challenging environment that keeps you on your toes.
In this article, we examine the career path of an office manager, including the skills they need to succeed, educational requirements, typical starting positions, and salary expectations.
Recommended Skills For Office Managers
This career isn’t for everyone. Before embarking on the path to become an office manager, ask yourself if this is truly for you. Do you have these qualities?
- Organized: Office managers have to deal with multiple tasks at once and jump from meeting to meeting. Though you can learn skills on the job, you should be pretty organized to succeed.
- Social Skills: Not everyone is a social butterfly. However, if you’re going to go into this line of work, you should have good social skills. If the thought of interacting with people all day frightens you, this isn’t the career for you.
- Detail-Oriented: You will have to be extra careful and mindful of the numerous things that it takes to run a productive, efficient workplace.
- Good Listener: A great office manager doesn’t zone out during meetings. You will have to diligent notes and remember all the tasks, assignments, and concerns that come your way.
- Time Management: Office managers should be able to go through large parts of the day without succumbing to distractions. Since an entire office is relying on them to complete their tasks, it’s vital that they know how to stay focused.
- Technologically Savvy: Office managers should be open-minded to new tools and platforms that can help make their workplaces more productive and efficient. Are you enthusiastic and curious about using new tools and technology to help make your workplace run more efficiently? If so, this is the right career for you.
Educational Requirements of Office Managers
One of the many good things about this career is that multiple undergraduate degrees could come in handy. Here are a few:
- Business Administration
Though there isn’t a required field of study, companies generally tend to favor candidates with a background in one of these specializations:
- Office Management
- Human Resources (HR)
- Facility Management
Career Path of an Office Manager
Even if you’re super organized, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, very few companies will hire you without sufficient prior experience.
Larger companies tend to be more stringent with their requirements when hiring for an office management position. Startups, on the other hand, often have less resources (and are therefore less picky) for hiring. If you don’t have sufficient experience to get hired by a larger company, you might be better off working for a smaller company in order to get the experience you need.
1. Internships and Entry Level Jobs (“Stepping Stone Positions”)
Hopefully, your entry level position will have a mentor who is enthusiastic and willing to educate and guide you. Many startups offer internships in multiple departments. Since the teams are small, there’s a chance that you will gain a lot more knowledge and experience if you work at a startup.
Here are some entry level positions that can often lead to a position as an office manager:
- Secretary: You will learn the intricacies of managing a workplace as you deal with various tasks ranging from organizing forms, overseeing calendars, to facilitating workplace communication.
- Receptionist: You will gain impeccable communication skills through serving as the face of your company.
- Administrative Assistant: Being an administrative assistant is a crash course into scheduling and learning what it takes to be a successful office leader. This position could also be helpful in determining whether or not being an office manager is right for you.
- Human Resources Assistant: If you want to prepare yourself to be more of a HR-oriented office manager, you will need some experience in that specific department. As an HR Assistant, you will learn about how to implement various rules, deal with employees issues, and use technologies. In addition, you will gain intimate experience in promoting workplace culture, organizing events, and being a leader during a crisis.
- Office Clerk: Office clerks do a bit of everything—they answer phone calls, transcribe, and file documents.
2. Office Management Positions
The path to becoming an office manager could potentially involve you working at any of those aforementioned positions for a few years. Typically, companies hire people with at least 2-4 years of relevant experience for office managers and 1-2 years of experience for office administrators.
There are two ways you can become an office manager from your entry level position:
- Promotion: After working at an entry level position at a company for a couple of years, you could be put on a track to take the place of the current office manager. Though this scenario has plenty of advantages (like already knowing all of the employees and being super familiar with the culture), it’s not a sure thing.
- Apply To Other Companies: There’s always the chance that you will be waiting on a promotion for longer than you expected. That’s why you should be open to the idea of applying to other workplaces. Reach out to former colleagues on LinkedIn or Angellist and ask if they know any positions at their current companies or if they have heard of something. Even if it may take some time to find a position, rest assured—there’s a steady increase of demand of office managers so there’s a good chance you will eventually find a company that’s right for you with diligent work and dedication.
While Payscale estimates that the average salary of an Office Manager is $47,1211 USD, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that administrative service managers have an average annual salary of $86,110 USD. Ultimately, your salary will be dependent on your experience, the size of the company you work for, and the amount of responsibilities that are included in your role.
Though it could take a few years and some dedication to secure a position, being an office manager is a fulfilling career for anyone who enjoys interacting with other people and executing large scale projects. If you go into the job market with enthusiasm and an open-mind, you will surely find an office manager position that fits your unique interests.
Are you interested in making your workplace more efficient? Check out what Eden’s Workplace Management Platform can do for your office.