The job market is pretty bleak in many areas of the world on its own, let alone for those who are in or fresh out of school. It can be really challenging to get experience in your field of study. Competition comes from others your age, and Baby Boomers who aren't leaving their jobs as readily. This is due to their decreased financial positions since the Great Recession. Thus, normally those who are in upper positions would retire and internal promotions would occur allowing new hires, young people, to get their foot in the door and repeat the cycle.
I'm sure many of you, at some point or another, have contemplated, voiced or otherwise expressed, in some form, one of the following statements:
Would you like to get managerial experience and have the work you need done completed?
The answer to these questions, a way for you to prove just how much better you are than your manager, how to find out what their job is like, and the ability to add real life managerial work to your resume, can be had for as little as $350CAD!
What's it for you ask? How can I get managerial experience for $350? How will my work get done?
The answer isn't what you think, and is simple: hire a virtual assistant!
I have chosen to go with Brickworks for my Virtual Assistant (based on recommendations from Timothy Ferriss). The $350 is for the minimum 20 hours a month. Previously, I have written favourably about the services this company provides, and still hold such an opinion.
But, how does hiring a virtual assistant help me achieve my objectives and add "managerial experience" to my resume? The roll of a manager is to delegate tasks to those who are most capable of producing the desired results. In order to be able to get your assistant completing tasks and perform to your satisfaction, you must learn how to properly delegate. If you are a parent, saying something like "clean your room" isn't specific and thus not effective. Here are just a few areas this is unclear: what standard of clean is being referred to? When should the cleaning be done by? What method should be used? Hopefully you can appreciate how assigning a more important task has numerous more areas for misinterpretation.
An effective delegator will inform their assistant using elementary level sentences, each including specific actions! Here is the same example as above including more details:
"[name], please start cleaning your room within the next 30 minutes. Use the vacuum to clean the carpet. Use a rag to wipe down your desk and shelves. And make your bed. You have one hour to finish the cleaning."
This provides clear instruction with a timeline and specifics for completing the task. An effective manager will do the same. The trick, is to practice your delegation skills with your assistant. This is what managing people is like. You should notice similarities to that of your work, if you are an employee. Your boss has a task which needs completing by a certain time, it must be perform following a methodology and has benchmarks which must be met.
As you assign tasks to your assistant, you will get an understanding of how they operate, a more appropriate sense of the time it takes them to complete the task, and be able to review their work once completed. When you receive the results of their work, you can give the assistant feedback on their performance, what went well and what needs improvements -- just like with your boss at work.
Of course, assigning your assistant to send a Happy Birthday email is a simple task (though there is room for error even in this task). However, you said you could do your bosses job. After starting out with a small task, you can increase the complexity of what your assistant does. When I started out, the mine would find information online, compare flights and other other trivial tasks. However, now, I've had my assistant cancel an insurance plan I forgot about, deal with my status at my university, and even assemble a page on my website.
In my case, I am preparing new content for my website which was time consuming and tedious. Once my assistant was notified what I was looking for, she shared her computer screen over skype, and I walked her through a demo of my request. This task, likely would have taken me hours and numerous amounts of frustration. Once she had an understanding of the process (which took only one hour to explain with some technical issues), I told her she had one hour to complete it herself (likely would have taken me 3 hours or more). This is the beauty of having a team work for you instead of just yourself. That night, after providing instruction, I went to bed and awoke the next morning to an email notifying me the work was completed, just the way I wanted!
Many people will say, 'why would I pay someone to do something I can do myself?' This seems like common sense, however, it isn't. The assistants at this company cost the equivalent of $10/hour (based on cost and number of hours received), if you do work yourself, you are selling your time for $10/hour! Take however much you make at work per hour, subtract $10 from it, and you are left with the amount of money you lose each hour you do work the assistant could be. Not so smart, is it? In fact, the logic of saving the money is actually a loss (assuming you went to work once you assign tasks). But what if you don't go to work once you assign the tasks? Well, do you really need to fill your time with calling companies and waiting on hold for hours or other menial tasks? Is the stress worth it? Is not spending the time with friends, family, or otherwise enjoying yourself not worth $10/hour?
Your manager at work outsources as much as possible because many people are willing to do the work for less than what it costs them to do it. And with globalization, you can do the same thing for many aspects of your life. A significant advantage of a virtual assistant is they are on the other side of the world, this means you assign tasks during your workday, they work on them while you sleep, and the next day you wake up to the tasks you assigned being completed.
Combined, you get your work finished, you learn valuable skills in communication, delegation, constructive feedback, all of which are skills which managers need! Furthermore, if you explain these parallels to a manager while applying for any position, you will come across as resourceful, effective and enterprising. So when asked "Tell me about a time you demonstrated management skills" instead of staring blankly, you can reference the delegation to the assistant in detail and impress the interviewer. What's better? If you recommend the service to the interviewer, you are subtly offering them something, which is of benefit to them. They will remember you for this and psychologically, you will be more likely to stand out.
If you don't include this management experiment on your resume, you can still leverage the assistant to complete work which you yourself may not be able to achieve. It could be accounting, research, admin work or anything else you can think of. The most important thing is to ask them! Brickworks is used around the world, mostly by major businesses. It's highly unlikely you'll ask something they haven't heard of and cannot do.
What are you waiting for? Check them out and try it! Worst case scenario: You get an assistant who does work for you! http://www.brickworkindia.com/