You don’t need to be a business major to benefit from gaining management experience. With a BA in Anthropology, I speak from experience when I say most of us don’t end up using our specific degrees in our careers…at least, not directly.
It’s hard to know what you want to do with your life while you’re still in school. And who knows what the job market will look like in 10, 20 or 30 years anyway? So the smart money is on building skills that will open up the widest range of options for yourself in the future.
Whatever industry you eventually choose, the ability to effectively manage a team will put you a step ahead of other entry-level professionals.
Here’s how to get that management experience before entering the workforce:
Mentoring and Tutoring
Being a mentor is a great way to build interpersonal and coaching skills. Tutoring will teach you to train, motivate and evaluate individual performance. Take it a step further and start your own mentoring or tutoring program to gain experience building and managing a team.
Putting together a conference, lecture series or movie night allows you to demonstrate your ability to effectively coordinate people and resources. Events are perfect for learning how to delegate, resolve conflict and work with service providers.
Volunteering for a good cause is rewarding work experience and many organizations are looking for someone willing to take on a specific project. Create your own management training by putting together a project team and motivating them to succeed.
Industry organizations are also a great opportunity to volunteer for outreach or other service projects. They also often have elected leadership positions that require management skills (meeting facilitation, financial management, etc.).
Starting your own business is a great way to learn any number of management related skills. Solopreneurs won’t gain much people-management experience, so create a business plan that requires you to bring on team members.
Student government can offer many leadership opportunities beyond just running for class president. Start a club or organize a service project. Coordinate campus tours or create a mentoring program for incoming students. Student government is also a great way to hone your public speaking skills.
And remember…employers are always thinking about how to manage and motivate the next generation of employees. Experience managing your peers has put you a step ahead, so highlight that in your resume, portfolio and online profile.
(Photo by ThoseGuys119 via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)