How To Become a General Manager (With Skills and Job Info)
Updated 2 October 2023
A general manager's job description is to ensure that the company succeeds by keeping things running effectively. Apart from that, a general manager also has other responsibilities they do daily. To become a general manager, you need to have good communication and interpersonal skills that can enable you to carry out these responsibilities effectively. In this article, we help you to discover more about how to become a general manager and the skills you need to have.
How to become a general manager
Follow the steps below and learn how to become a general manager:
1. Get a bachelor's degree
You can gain a bachelor's degree in Management or any relevant field. By going to university, you can get theoretical training on the subject. It's equally possible to gain practical training on the subject if you attend a university that allows for a placement year.
Related: What Is a Bachelor's Degree?
2. Get work experience
If you go to a university with a placement year, you're already at an advantage because you get both theory and practical experience. The same is true if you decide to do an apprenticeship. Work experience is useful for helping you develop the skills needed for the job. It's also usually required by many organisations hiring for the role. To gain work experience, it may be easier for you to apply for entry-level jobs first. Starting here can open opportunities for advancement for you.
3. Get an MBA
A higher level of education and training like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can only make you more competitive in the job market. You might want to consider it as one of the ways to differentiate yourself as a candidate from the rest. An MBA is desirable to recruiters because it's a sign of your experience.
4. Develop communication skills
There are several useful skills to have to become a general manager. One such skill is the ability to communicate effectively. It's in your best interest to frequently take advantage of opportunities to build on these skills. At school, one of such opportunities is joining the debate team.
5. Get references
References are people that can vouch for your capabilities and achievements. Thus, it's important to strive to demonstrate your leadership abilities either in school or the work environment. That way, there are witnesses to things you have done that show you can be a good general manager.
6. Engage in leadership opportunities
Frequently engaging in leadership opportunities is a good way to improve your leadership skills. They are also a good way to enhance your CV and demonstrate your experience to a recruiter. By pursuing leadership opportunities in different organisations, you can possibly build a reputable list of references.
7. Get a mentor
Mentorship can improve your personal development. If you want to learn how to become a general manager, the best way is by learning from one. You can either read books written by successful general managers or seek out one in your organisation.
What is a general manager?
A general manager is the person in the office who oversees the day-to-day activities of employees. They make sure that the financial and strategic goals of an organisation are achieved. General managers can also be referred to as chief operating officers.
The average salary of a general manager is £40,368 per year. A general manager's job description is likely to depend on what a particular company specifically requires. Apart from the daily regular activities which the general manager may be needed for, the job description can also include the skills and relevant qualifications or experience that the company wants.
Skills to have as a general manager
The following skills are necessary to have to fulfil your responsibilities as a general manager:
A leader is someone that can inspire and motivate people to action. General managers need this skill to do the same for their team. By being an effective leader, general managers are also able to gain the trust of employees.
Interpersonal skills are skills that help you interact with people properly. With interpersonal skills, a person can relate well with people. This is one of the important abilities to have to be a general manager. With this, general managers can be able to collaborate well with the people they lead.
One of the benefits of good communication is that it makes it possible to sell an idea. A general manager needs to have this skill so that they can make employees believe in a vision enough to work towards it. It's also a useful skill to have when they need to relay important business information to stakeholders.
Analytical skills are useful for problem-solving. A general manager can expect to be in multiple situations where their help is required to solve a problem. With analytical skills, a general manager is more quickly able to find solutions to problems.
Conceptual skills give you the ability to visualise how a whole process can work. A general manager can be more convincing if they're able to mentally picture how different aspects of the organisation can work together. This is what allows them to create useful plans that involve every employee.
Related: 18 Skills of Good Managers
Responsibilities of a general manager
Almost daily, a general manager can be sure of handling one or all of the following responsibilities:
They communicate new business information to employees, also reiterating old information where necessary. For example, reminding an employee of company policy when they're not following them.
They look through applications to find the right employees to join the company and they ensure that these new hires are properly trained.
They identify new ways to make the business more efficient.
They communicate with senior executives on behalf of employees.
They resolve conflicts with customers to ensure that the customer remains satisfied.
Related: What does a manager on duty do?
What to include in your CV for a general manager role
In your application for a general manager, you want to ensure that the content of your CV is relevant to the role. Here are some tips on what to include:
A summary stating your ability or experience
A CV summary is essentially a brief introduction to your CV. It's most likely the first thing that a recruiter may look through. So, you want to make sure that your summary states any relevant skills or experience you have for the role of general manager. It's a good idea to match your skills to those being advertised in the job description.
Example: 'Business and Management Graduate from London Business College with two years experience working as a general manager in a fashion boutique. Enjoys solving difficult problems and is also capable of leading a team to achieve a vision. Interested in moving on from the retail industry to gain more experience in the hospitality industry.'
Achievements relevant to the role of general manager
Achievements in a CV are a good way to show a prospective employer what you're capable of. However, the achievements you include need to be relevant to the role. For a general manager application, you want to make sure that your achievements are related to things like how you successfully improved efficiency in previous roles.
Managed a small boutique and increased customer satisfaction by 10% within three months
Introduced an employee feedback system that improved employee satisfaction by 30%
Increased efficiency of employee scheduling by introducing digital schedules and training employees on how to use it
Experience as a general manager
The work experience section of your CV is where you want to include all the times in the past you have been a general manager. It's also possible that you may have had other roles that were not exactly titled general manager. It's possible to still include these roles if the skills you used and the work you did was similar to that of a general manager.
Char fashion boutique
January 2018 - January 2020
Hired and trained new employees every season
Set quarterly goals for employees to drive business growth
Implemented commission-based pay to improve sales
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Explore more articles
- What’s the best industry to work in for career satisfaction?
- 3D modeller careers (FAQs, skills and salary)
- How to get an internship with no experience (With FAQs)
- How to become a watchmaker (including tips and skills)
- How To Become a Data Manager Plus Traits and Best Practices
- What it means when employers say you are over qualified
- Is a driving instructor a good job? (Pros, cons and FAQs)
- 11 environmental science careers (with salary info)
- What is a product coordinator? (Responsibilities and skills)
- How to get into politics: a comprehensive career guide
- 8 popular construction trades (with salaries and duties)
- How long is law school? (With degree types and careers)