Any time you’re choosing a career, whether it’s during your undergraduate education or after years of experience in another field you must be aware of the current market conditions. Although jobs aren’t as scarce as they were a few years ago, you’ll still find stiff competition in almost every industry. There are millions of highly qualified professionals still out of work, and if you don’t focus on growth industries you could find yourself right next to them on the unemployment line. That’s part of what makes facilities management such a smart choice. Many people become facilities managers after education or experience in another field, primarily in some sort of administration position. But regardless of what brought you to this point, rest assured that you will always find work. Industrial, manufacturing and residential facilities always need management, regardless of what’s going on with the economy. So here are five tips for accelerating your facilities management career.
First of all, you might want to consider going back to school. Many well respected universities now offer a facilities management degree. It’s not a necessity in the field, but it will certainly give you a leg up on the competition. This is especially true if you approach a facilities organization for employment. They have longstanding clients that expect a certain level of formal education, so they can clearly define their requirements to you with the knowledge that you’ll ‘speak the same language’.
Although education is useful, it won’t completely take the place of experience. Most hiring managers will want to see both in place on your resume. In fact, some companies will choose the candidate with experience over the one right out of school, all other things being equal. It’s going to depend on the culture of that facilities management company, and the needs of each position. But consider ways to combine real world experience with your educational background for sure success.
How do you gain that experience when everyone else is looking for the same? Don’t forget about the power of networking. If you have little to no education, the right contacts vouching for you might be the only way you get a shot at a facilities manager position. On the flip side of that coin, a quality education and a strong recommendation will probably get you a job even if you have zero experience. Get involved with industry organizations and take the time to craft relationships with your peers. You can bounce ideas off these folks that help you clarify questions about the role. And they’ll be more than happy to help you build on your strengths and work through your weaknesses.
If you already have a facilities manager position but just aren’t moving up the corporate latter as fast as you would like, examine your strategic thinking process. Are you approaching your job with the same goals in mind that your bosses have for the facility itself? Look to the mission statement of your company, and take that on as your mission for the facility you are managing. Alignment there will show you have a larger vision than just the task at hand, and could prove to upper management that you’re ready for more responsibility.
Finally, don’t ever stop learning. Like most industries, facilities management is evolving with changing technology. A new focus on sustainability initiatives is also swiftly shifting the approach of all professionals in the field. So make sure you stay current on all facilities management-related issues. Keep active with social media. Read blogs and articles posted by industry experts. The idea of spending your weekend taking notes on a detailed article about choosing your new HVAC unit might not sound like your idea of a good time. But the next time you’re called into a meeting, the breadth of your knowledge will impress those who could change your life with a promotion. And that should be your goal in the end.