6 Things Facilities Managers Must Do To Land Their Next Job

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on June 23, 2014

Today we start our week-long series focusing on how to land a job in the Facilities Management field. Whether you are just entering the job market for the first time, or searching for that next position to advance your career, many FMs will be searching for a job this summer. Use these tips and resources to help you stand out above your competition.

When considering all of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the job of Facility Management, a successful FM must be someone with (almost) all of the answers. Unfortunately, this is not always the
case when starting down this career path. Experience is an invaluable tool and often is the glue that binds the training and expertise. What a new hire lacks in experience, they have to make up for in preparation, which begins with the initial interviewing process. With so many things to consider, we decided to kick off our series with six strengths you must consider as an FM preparing to embark on your job search.

Obtain a Fine Balance Between Education and Experience

Previously, facilities managers received their degree in anything from business to engineering, with a goal of using their education to improve their job performance. More often, an informal resume would read as “worked my way into” regarding the path which led a grad to their current employment. As their knowledge about the company and their interest in the details expand, the opportunity for upward mobility in the organization will grow, as well. Now, you are becoming a prized commodity, as you have both formal training and on the job experience. Couple this  knowledge with the ability to operate and maximize effective use of technology and the new generation of FM is born.

As the career landscape has changed over the last decade, the manner in which facility managers enter their profession has evolved as well. While a varied educational background is still the case for many FMs, there are now a handful of GettyImages-507432057.jpgcolleges that offer a facilities management degree and we are seeing many young professionals exiting college with this formal degree under their belt. Still, the previously mentioned attributes often outweigh the newly bestowed graduate degree.

Education comes in many forms, each with their own importance in the field. Recent research shows that it is no longer beneficial to simply complete an internship. Companies want to know what projects you were a part of during your internship, what on-the-job skills you learned and what impact your work had on the company you were a part of. Make the most of your internship by refining your people skills and networking with everyone you come in contact with. Integrate yourself into as many projects you can and soak up all the knowledge available to you. You not only stand to gain a lot of useful information, you also never know who you may meet that can help in advancing your career. Throughout your internship, maintain a running list of projects and accomplishments. This will help you remember all the important details when it comes time to create your resume.

Many young professionals believe their education ends with their degree, but this could not be farther from the truth. Your degree is just the foundation; now the real learning starts. And ends the day you retire. Which leads us to our next point…

Build On The Knowledge You Have

Whether you are just entering the workforce from college or have been in the facilities management field for 15 years, knowledge is the most powerful tool in your repertoire. To be a leader in the FM world you must be willing to both teach and be taught, continuously building on your skills and experience. This includes having a firm understanding of the industry your target position is a part of.

You may not be the expert in your company’s industry just yet, but the more details and knowledge you have, regarding the company’s mission, values and current position within their field, the more prepared you’ll be for success. Remember, your employer is looking to you for guidance regarding what their specific goals should be and what strategies they need to implement to set the plan in motion.

“Be active in developing your own career and keeping up with the organization. There is no such thing as getting a facility management job and being able to rest on your laurels. You have to stay on your toes, you have to learn, you have to get energy from the activities that you’re doing and from the people you’re working with, and you have to enjoy what you’re doing. Look at it as a challenge and an opportunity and constantly set your goals higher.” -Don Young, IFMA’s vice president of communications

Use Your People Skills to Network

Your role as the facilities manager requires you to interact with people a majority of your day. You may spend your morning in a meeting with the CEO regarding a new project you are seeking to implement and your afternoon meeting with the janitorial department about the new facility maintenance software. In between those meetings, you check in with HR about new employees and IT about the needs of those new employees. Each individual is important to your job and it is vital you are able to communicate with every one of them.

A critical aspect of your communicative skills is networking. Make it a point to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level. Become a part of industry organizations such as IFMA and BOMA. The relationships you build through these organizations will help you gain an even clearer understanding of your profession and the ever changing industry landscape, as well as fill in any gaps in your knowledge. Lastly, use social media to your advantage to expand your presence and knowledge base.

Sharpen Your Leadership Skills

For some, leadership is a learned skill while for others it just comes naturally. Regardless of which category you find yourself, your success (as well the company’s) is dependent on what kind of leader you are. The world is changing around us daily and the facilities manager is tasked with paving the path towards greatness for their organizations. Much like the cowboys of the 18th century, you must be courageous and free-thinking as you blaze new trails in this modern day workspace. Whether you feel you are a natural born leader or not, you must work to sharpen your leadership skills daily to work your way to the top and remain there. Our recent blog 10 Things FMs Must Do To Rise As Leaders provides some valuable information regarding the art of leadership and what you need to do to get ahead.

Be Flexible In The Face Of Adversity

Flexibility and a “go-with-the-flow” attitude is an absolute must for a successful career in facilities management. There is no way to avoid emergencies and setbacks in your profession. The great leaders face even the most major setback with a level head, utilizing their knowledge and skills to handle any emergency that may arise.

Keep in mind that ours is a dynamic profession in which changes and issues come up daily. Build on your knowledge and maintain a clear head daily and this will help you react calmly when a major crisis arises. Equally, create and regularly update a plan of action for a number of potential crisis scenarios. Preparedness is extremely helpful in maintaining that “level head” during a crisis and is a sure sign to executives of your professionalism.

Know Your Technology

There is no denying that technology’s roots are firmly planted in our workplace, regardless of what profession you are seeking to be a part of. While you do not need a formal education in software engineering, the facilities manager of the 21st century must have solid knowledge and experience in this realm, embracing its invaluable role in our profession. Your job will consist of building a solid working relationship with the IT department, as you will work closely with them in most aspects of your position. You will also be expected to be the eyes and ears for the executives. Organizations are catching on to the fact that the only way to climb to the top in their industry is by aligning themselves with the proper technical tools—they will look to you to make this happen. By arming yourself and your workforce with the proper tools, you ensure everyone has the resources to work more efficiently and productively. And since that is a major part of your job description, you should continuously seek out higher knowledge, certifications and resources.

Learn How To Sell Yourself

A solid resume is the only way to get your foot in the door for a job interview. You must be able to capture the attention of the interviewer(s) almost immediately, without saying a word. This comes from having an appealing presentation and having the substance to back it up. The key to building this “substance” for your successful resume is by continuously amassing greater skills, knowledge and experience. Your resume should tell a story of success, beginning with formal education and continuing with any intern work or post grad work experience, which is relative to the desired position. Move on to highlight your day to day activities in your current position and major contributions or successes you can be credited for. Finish by showing your goals for the future, which can be best summed up by looking at continuing education or certifications, which show you have a desire to grow in the FM field. An employer wants to know that they are making a smart investment in an employee, who will continue to contribute successfully to the company for many years to come.

A successful resume not only lets the reader know why they should hire you over your competition, it also shows your communication skills and your ability to pitch ideas. Both are critical aspects to the daily life of a facilities management professional.

The FM field has quickly become recognized as an emerging industry to be a part of. Accordingly, there are more and more qualified applicants entering the marketplace. For you to be competitive, you need to have a multitude of various skills and a dynamite resume. Check back tomorrow for advice on building a solid resume that makes you shine above the competition.


Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers

Tiffany covers leadership and marketing topics and enjoys learning about how technology shapes our industry. Before iOFFICE, she worked in local news but don't hold that against her.

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