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How Do I Become a Product Line Manager?

Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh

There is no direct path to become a product line manager, as the job can be very different depending on the organization, but there are things you can do to make it happen. Education is generally required as is experience working in production. Many product line managers work their way to the position so that they know how the products are developed. Individuals need to have leadership and organizational skills in order to become a product line manager so that they can oversee other employees. Certain personality characteristics, including career ambition, good communication skills, and critical thinking skills, are also important.

Many companies will only hire individuals with at least a bachelor's degree. Become a product line manager by attending college in a degree program related to business, manufacturing, or engineering. A master's degree in industrial management or engineering will enhance your chances for getting a job as a manager directly out of school. Classes in decision sciences can provide additional information on how to be an effective product line manager.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Once out of school, you can begin to apply for jobs in production at companies that interest you. Look for positions on the production line or in production design. These jobs will provide valuable experience as well as the opportunity to network and find future references. The application process varies depending on the company, but a strong cover letter and resume can help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.

Organizations often offer on-the-job training in production in order to immerse their managers in the systems and processes that they use. As a manager, it is important to know every detail about how things are done in order to supervise efficiently and increase productivity. This is why many people become a product line manager by first working in production at the organization. The experience provides them with first-hand knowledge regarding how things are done on the production line.

Before you take the steps to become a product line manager, consider whether you have the personality characteristics necessary to do the job. A sense of career ambition is needed to work your way through the ranks of an organization or through graduate school in a tough field. Leaders also need to be capable of working with people and communicating information clearly and effectively. Critical thinking, or looking at a situation holistically, is necessary to make positive changes within an organization.

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