You’ve been in your current facilities management job for a few years, and you’re content. The pay is acceptable, the benefits are fair and you’ve enjoyed plenty of opportunities to expand your skillset. You have a good relationship with your colleagues, and you love the field you’ve chosen. There’s just one problem: You’re not fulfilled. You know it’s time to move on to something bigger and better—a position that offers the sorts of opportunities that would both challenge and drive you to be your best. You want a job that allows you to exercise your innovative muscle and make a real, lasting impact.
Great news! With workspace needs changing at such a rapid pace, there’s never been a better time to advance your FM career. Executives are quickly discovering the facilities leader is one of the most important assets in improving employee satisfaction, increasing productivity and helping lead businesses into the future. But as you re-enter the FM job hunt and begin seeking your dream job, keep in mind that the competition is getting stiff.
To help you in your quest, here are a few of the things top business leaders want FM candidates to know before they apply.
- You must be an excellent communicator. As a workplace manager, you’re not just responsible for taking work orders and monitoring software. You have to be ready to talk, eloquently and comfortably, with everyone from a part-time entry-level associate to C-suite executives. From sharing report findings in monthly board meetings to helping an administrative assistant understand building security measures, you will be required to communicate effectively in many settings. Moreover, you have to explain complex topics in a way that makes sense to colleagues outside your department.
- You must be able to build and manage effective teams. FM leaders are no longer confined to working alone in back rooms. You’ll be expected to assist in the hiring and training of all other facilities management personnel, such as groundskeepers, custodial staff and maintenance workers. You must be able to select top candidates and help them excel. In addition to internal teams, you will be responsible for negotiating with third-party vendors to cover additional needs.
- You need to be an ergonomics expert. OK, so your future employer probably doesn’t expect you to be an interior designer. But they do expect you to be up-to-date on workplace trends and best practices. For example, how can you create an open office that cultivates collaboration without stifling productivity or creating distractions? How can you best utilize available space, and know when the business has outgrown its current bounds? How can you best arrange the company’s most important equipment to ensure everyone has easy access? You should always be ready to offer solutions to improve the current working environment.
- If you’re not humble, don’t apply. You’ve probably heard about the “brilliant jerk.” In fact, you’ve likely even worked with a couple of these characters during your time in the professional world. This person is a high performer, incredibly talented and, on paper, the best possible candidate for a top position. But they’re also overconfident to the point of arrogance and follow a “me first” philosophy. Simply put: The person can single-handedly destroy company morale and CEOs have learned to steer clear. Don’t give the impression you’re a brilliant jerk during your FM job interview. Be confident, but also be humble.
- Flexibility is a requirement. One day your work day may begin at 7 a.m. and other days it may begin at 9 a.m. While likely rare, you may have to address an emergency after-hours or answer a call on a weekend. Your to-do list can change by the hour. While top business leaders do their best to ensure their employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance, they also expect flexibility from key players—like FMs.
- You will be expected to think creatively. You’re a problem-solver at heart. After all, that’s one of the reasons you excel in facilities management. And you better believe your next boss will be putting that skill to use on a regular basis. Out-of-the-box ideas are what drive innovation and growth, and it’s what will set you apart from the other candidates on the list.
- You should be ready to share solutions on Day One. Your winning personality and impressive resume are what got you in the door. But your ability to jump in and make an immediate impact is what will help you continue to advance. Show up on the first day with a list of ideas, such as an IWMS solution you recommend. The best FM leaders are those who provide value nearly instantly.
Looking for more inside advice? We’ve got your back. To help you secure your dream job, we’ve put together a helpful guide, A Facilities Leader’s Guide to Landing an Awesome Job. Get your complimentary copy here, and feel free to share with your peers.
Your next big opportunity is out there. It’s time to make it happen.