Career Clinic

I am a special needs co-ordinator in a small voluntary
organisation and keen to progress. There aren’t any promotion
possibilities here as my manager doesn’t plan to leave. I’d like to
move into a role with some kind of management responsibility but
keep being turned down for jobs because I don’t have any management
experience. My manager won’t let me take on any of her
responsibilities. What should I do?

I suggest assessing your qualifications, experience and knowledge,
identifying any gaps and then trying to fill them. Try to put
yourself forward for projects at work that involve extra
responsibilities. Take on students and work placements for
supervision. Offer to recruit and manage temporary staff.
Contribute positively to team meetings.

Talk to your manager and the next manager up about your career
progression. Request clear and critical feedback on your abilities.
Ask about mentoring or shadowing managers.

If you think you need training in certain areas, ask for it. Your
organisation may belong to a partnership of private and voluntary
groups linked to the local authority. I would look at training
programmes on interview skills, supervision courses and team
building. If you cannot access training through work, develop
interview skills by reading books on the subject. Ask for feedback
from interview panels.
Ultimately you may have to consider paying for training courses
yourself but you will still need relevant work experience to
support this move. Sometimes you may have to accept a sideways move
to a more enlightened organisation to get ahead.

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