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There are several different paths available if you want to become a crisis manager, depending on the industry, but all paths share several common requirements; post-secondary education, public speaking ability and written communications skills. In addition to these requirements, most employers look for candidates who have experience working under pressure and who have an in-depth knowledge of the industry. This experience is typically gained through several years of work experience in a communication or senior management role.
The first step if you want to become a crisis manager is to complete a post-secondary education program from an accredited institution. An essential element for anyone who wants to work as a crisis manager, this program includes training in communications, rudimentary psychology and business law. Many schools offer short certificate programs in crisis management, available on a part time basis. These programs are designed to provide the skills necessary to deal with any crisis, regardless of industry.
All crisis managers are required to have excellent public speaking skills. During a crisis, the ability to communicate a complex message to large groups of people quickly and clearly is essential. These skills can be fine-tuned through a combination of experience and self-review or through a formal training program. Many times, a person who wants to become a crisis manager will take courses or hire a coach to improve his or her skills as a public speaker.
Excellent written communication skills are another requirement for anyone who wants to become a crisis manager. Many companies offer free courses in business communication or writing skills, but anyone who wants to work as a crisis manager will need training at a more advanced level. Look for certificate programs or a writing coach to help transform standard business writing into crisp, effective writing that is clear and concise.
Finding a position as a crisis manager can be approached with either an industry-specific strategy or position-specific strategy. Candidates with significant experience or training within a specific industry should target his or her job search to roles within that sector. The combination of experience and training in the skills necessary for a crisis manager will make him or her very marketable. This is very common in the healthcare and engineering sectors, where a specific level of technical skill and credentials are required to understand the nature of the crisis and to determine the best way to respond.
Candidates with a broader work history would be best served looking for a crisis management role in an organization with a strong public relations commitment. The same is true of recent college graduates. Large companies that provide services to the general public will often have crisis management roles within the public relations or communications department.