How to Become an Office Manager

Office manager working on budgets

In recent years, the request for office managers has been on the rise, with large businesses needing a highly skilled individual to take care of the productivity and day-to-day duties of the office. This career path requires an individual with great attention to detail, organisational skills and most importantly, a personable character that will make anyone feel welcome.

If this sounds like you and you enjoy being the go-to person in any situation, continue reading below to find out what this role actually entails, and how you can create an ideal office manager CV.

1. Research the Profession

If you want to pursue a career in this profession, it’s important to find out what your responsibilities will be and what type of working environment you will find yourself in, as well as if you have what it takes 

Job Description

An office manager’s duties vary extensively but they are mainly in charge of organising and supervising the work of the office staff. They ensure everything is running smoothly, including the cleanliness of the facilities, office stock supply levels and the planning of vendor events and annual meetings.

Among many others tasks, office managers are generally responsible for:

  • Organising and maintaining the company calendars, which will involve the scheduling of meetings for executive-level employees, as well as calendar events for the entire office.
  • Arranging and managing correspondence in and out of the office, including mail and important packages. This will also involve dealing with missing parcels or complaints on behalf of the office personnel.
  • Coordinating transport and accommodation arrangements for business executives for any work-related trips.
  • Maintaining the stock of stationery and furnishing of the office.
  • Supervising and monitoring the work of the administrative team including secretaries and clerical workers. Offering guidance and delegating tasks where necessary.
  • Managing budgets for office purchasing, encapsulating anything from stationary, coffee and tea, to maintenance and IT spending.
  • Assisting in the preparation and execution of board meetings, including the creation and distribution of agendas, as well as minute taking.
  • Managing the paper and online filing system to ensure all documents are saved correctly.
  • Developing procedures and implementing new systems for all staff to follow.
  • Helping new employees settle in and carrying out part of the induction by giving them the equipment they need to do their job.
  • Arranging regular testing for electrical equipment.
  • Coordinating and planning events for the entire company such as Christmas parties, annual balls, etc
  • Preparing presentations or letters for managers and executives within the company.

Essential Skills and Qualities

In order to be a successful office manager, there are certain skills and qualities you need to have. They typically include the following:

  • Communication skills: as you’ll be dealing with a vast amount of people from co-workers to senior management, clients and suppliers, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively between them all.
  • Attention to detail: you should be able to analyse everything and make sure you aren’t making any careless mistakes. Attention to detail is key when working on important reports and documents.
  • Leadership skills: as you’ll be in charge of coordinating the administrative team, you’ll need key leadership skills to delegate and direct.
  • Analytical skills: you’ll be in charge of budgets and maintenance which means that you should be able to judge where the company is overspending and what you can do to cut costs and save money.
  • Organisational skills: you’ll need to move from a number of different tasks and should be able to keep everything in order whilst multi-tasking.
  • IT Skills: you’ll need to have great knowledge and practice of using Microsoft Office Suite and Outlook.
  • Interpersonal skills: an office manager should have the ability to converse effortlessly between people from all walks of life, they must be an approachable and friendly character.
  • Time management skills: as an office manager, you won't only be managing your own schedule but those of others, which is why you need great time management. You should be able to work to your daily schedule and get your tasks accomplished within a timely manner.
  • Problem-solving skills: as you’ll be responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the office, you’ll need to be able to think on your feet and come up with solutions – fast!

Working Hours and Conditions

If you’re looking for set 9-5 hours, this front desk profession is ideal for you! You’ll typically work a 35- 40 hour week, including a one-hour lunch break. There will be occasions that you may be required to do overtime but that will depend on the organisation you will be working for. It’s important to remain flexible in the case of a last-minute emergency, that you will be responsible for handling. After all- you’re the go-to person in the office!

Salary Prospects

As with any other job role, the salary will vary from company to company depending on previous experience, qualifications and location. However, the average salary according to PayScale, in the US is $46,156 and £24,327 in the UK. There will be, of course, room for progression once you're more experienced in the job role and you'll expect a salary increase, year on year.


2. Get the Qualifications

In order to work in an office management position, you’ll require at least a high-school diploma including A-levels in mathematics, English and business. It is generally advised to obtain a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in business studies, business administration, accounting or human resource management which will give a clear picture of how the organisation will operate as a whole.

Alternatively, you could complete management certifications; the International Facility Management Association offers the CFM (certified facility manager) for those that would like to become managers. If you do decide to become an active member, you’ll be required to pass an exam and complete educational activities every three years.


3. Land Your First Job

Without a few years of experience in an administrative role under your belt, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll jump straight into the position of an office manager. Instead, you’ll need to have a proven track-record of time management, leadership skills and general office duties - all key components of the ideal office manager CV.

An internship would be a good starting point for a job searcher seeking a position without any higher education. This will allow you to gain hands-on work experience within an office environment and will most likely lead to a full-time position.

Alternatively, you can apply for administrative assistant roles, where you will be helping the office manager with day-to-day tasks allowing you to climb up the career ladder within your organisation.


4. Develop Your Career

In order to become an office manager, you will most likely have already obtained a number of years of experience in your related field already, before advancing to manager level.

Once you’re in that position, however, there are still opportunities for further growth. You could take on more responsibility and manage a larger team, an additional office, or work in a more senior level position. For example, you may move from managing the content team to the entire marketing division.

If you think you have what it takes to manage a team effectively and make a real contribution to an office and the processes, then a career as an office manager is ideal for you. You’ll not only see the physical results of your hard work but you’ll also make significant relationships in the process.

Are you an administrative assistant looking to become an office manager? If so, let us know what steps you’re taking to reach your goals in the section below.