How to Become a Utilities Manager (With Steps and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 4, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A utilities manager helps ensure that access to utilities, from electricity to water, remains reliable and safe. It's a respectable, well-paying career that candidates of most education levels can enter by following the right steps. Understanding how one can become a utilities manager can help you determine if this is the right job for you and what to do if you're interested. In this article, we discuss how to become a utilities manager and review the duties of the position.

How to become a utilities manager

Follow these steps to learn how to become a utilities manager:

1. Determine the areas of high demand

The average salary of a utilities manager in Canada is $87,943 per year. While salary averages differ considering varying experience levels and education, some areas pay more than others. For example, the average salary of a utilities manager in Hay River in the Northwest Territories is $157,763. A salary of at least six figures is achievable, especially if one first gets a degree and some experience.

As with many career choices, consider the cost and benefit of moving. A willingness to either move or travel a longer distance to work can earn you much more in a few years. It's possible that a particular company you've found in your research offers other benefits you find attractive but operates too far from your current residence.

2. Consider pursuing a degree

Many companies employ utilities managers with a high school education or a GED. A college degree is not essential for this position, but it offers many benefits. First, it makes an applicant more attractive to employers. A bachelor's or master's degree in a field related to utilities management helps prepare you with the knowledge required for the job. They also make more jobs available to you, as not all employers want applicants without degrees.

A college degree also can guarantee a higher starting salary, often by a significant amount. Most employers want the most skilled manager they can afford. A degree shows an employer you likely have technical knowledge that can be difficult to teach to someone on the job. A complete, formal education suggests a dedicated, intelligent, and well-rounded applicant. Acquiring a degree can offer more upward mobility once hired, as degrees often become more necessary the more responsibilities a position might have.

3. Gain experience

There are many kinds of utilities, including electric, water, gas, and waste disposal. Many utility providers focus on only one or two of these specialities. In addition to any other requirements they set, most want to see an applicant who has experience in the company's speciality. The amount of experience they seek varies but it is usually somewhere between one to five years in their field, or one closely related to it. For example, a power provider might want a utilities manager with experience working on solar panels.

Notably, this experience is rarely manager experience. They may accept supervisor, technician, or maintenance work as relevant experience, especially if you worked around the type of sites they might have you manage. If you have previous experience as a utilities manager specifically, your application is stronger.

4. Develop your resume

With the degree you intended to pursue, and the right amount of experience, it is time to develop a strong resume. The contents of a resume matter but so does the way it looks. A good resume is well-formatted, easy-to-read, and uses fonts that look nice and professional. A quality manager resume generally has at least the following sections:

  • Header: The header of a resume displays your name, phone number, and email. Most employers have a preference for how they might contact you, so avoid skipping both your number and email.

  • Summary or objective: This section is your summary or objective, which is no longer than a sentence or two. It briefly establishes what makes you a good candidate for this position in a third-person perspective focused primarily on objective facts.

  • Education: This section establishes your level of education, usually starting with your highest degree. List the college you attended, the degree earned, and your graduation year.

  • Certifications and training: This section lists any certification and training courses enrolled by you. You can group these together, but it may read easier if they're two separate sections.

  • Experience: This section lists your work experience. Most employers want to see the name of the companies you worked for, your job titles, a quick summary of your duties, and job duration.

The above sections don't represent every beneficial section of your resume. Some candidates may have several achievements and rewards to represent. Others may list their skills, publications, and conferences attended. It is also best to avoid relatively normal or unrelated items, such as a low-level job unrelated to your intended field or the fact you graduated high school. This is assuming an employer doesn't ask that you include those items. An employer's stated format always overrides general advice.

Related: How to Write Effective Resume Sections (With Samples)

5. Begin applying

With a strong resume, you can begin applying for relevant positions that interest you. In some cases, it can also be worthwhile to apply to positions you semi-qualify. For instance, having one less year of experience than a company asks for, but an otherwise strong resume sometimes results in an interview. During the application process, it helps to not narrowly focus on individual companies. Even if you have a few ideal employers in mind, looking at a wide variety helps increase the chance of getting hired.

Additionally, thoroughly read an employer's listing. Besides the job's duties and requirements, listings sometimes give specific application instructions. Many ask for a cover letter and some may want specific sections in your resume. Many companies also use their own application system, where you take information from your resume and add it into their system. They may also have questions they want to be filled, to check if a candidate knows the basics required by the job.

Related: How to Follow Up on a Job Application (With Email Template and Examples)

6. Perform well in interviews

The final stage of getting a position you want is the interview process. In many cases, an applicant chosen to be interviewed is in competition with a relatively low amount of other applicants. In the case of jobs, many people applied for, this can change, with the interview process having multiple stages and possibly hundreds or more candidates. To interview well, practice calmly and confidently answering questions likely to come up in the interview. You also may review the relevant knowledge and skills related to the position.

Be very respectful and kind when going to a company office or interviewing on the phone. Companies want employees they think can work well with others, especially for leadership positions like utility management.

Related: Interview Preparation Tips

Job duties

A utilities manager's standard duties include:

  • Managing key operations: One of the primary duties of a utilities manager, it's their responsibility to make sure facilities and the employees in their care work as intended. They also address issues and clarify confusion quickly, to prevent operations disruptions.

  • Monitoring operation progress: Utility providers are consistently engaging in several important operations, many of which cause serious problems if interrupted. Even a brief failure to provide or electricity can result in major losses, so a manager works to ensure all operations progress intended.

  • Ensuring maintenance and repairs occur on time: When a utilities manager or a subordinate notices a problem, the manager then works to fix the problem. This prevents small issues from becoming more significant and dangerous and is also important for maintaining a facility's operational flow.

  • Reviewing and organizing records: Utilities managers maintain and organize records so important data points such as efficiency and repairs. This data helps them write thorough reports, provide critical information to relevant parties, and allows future managers to understand facility operations quickly.

  • Writing progress reports: A utilities manager writes reports, often on a regular schedule, so upper management can understand how different facilities perform and the progress being made on various utility projects.

  • Executing plans: As a manager of a team or even multiple teams, a utilities manager often forms plans to accomplish their goals or receives plans from upper management. They then figure out the best way to use the people and resources available to successfully execute those plans.

  • Leading teams: Almost every element of a utilities manager's job involves interacting with other people to accomplish both regular duties and long-term goals. They lead teams to execute daily operations, maintain facilities, and install new equipment as deemed necessary.

  • Remaining up-to-date: Technology evolves, which might increase the efficiency of operations or contribute to a safer workplace. A utilities manager benefits from studying advances in their field, so they can recommend upgrades and understand any new technology they encounter in their work.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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