Dreaming of a career in business operations? Here’s how to climb the ladder from entry-level to COO.

Business operations is a dynamic field with a range of roles — from business analysts all the way to top execs like chief operations officers (COO). With tech, finance, healthcare and other sectors growing rapidly, there's a constant need for skilled professionals for business operations jobs. But what does this career involve, and how can you climb the ladder?

what is business operations?

Business operations is the backbone of an organization, holding everything together so that all the parts can function smoothly. At different levels, the roles in this field vary significantly. Entry-level business operations jobs may involve data analysis, inventory management or customer relationship handling. Farther up the ranks, business operations manager jobs might require overseeing entire departments, streamlining workflows or implementing strategic changes to boost profitability.

Whether you're fine-tuning day-to-day processes or driving organizational change, what truly stands out in this role are the real-world effects of your decisions. Whether it's a 15 percent improvement in customer satisfaction ratings or a 20 percent reduction in operational costs, these achievements can serve as stepping stones for career growth.

5 tips for long-term success

Ready to make your mark in business operations? Here are some tips that can set you on the path to long-term success:

gain hands-on experience

Starting with internships or entry-level positions like operations coordinator or junior business analyst can offer valuable exposure to daily business ops tasks. Don't just settle for routine tasks — ask for challenges. Work on actual projects, even if they are small, like tweaking a workflow or analyzing logistics data. These experiences offer not just skills but also networking opportunities with professionals who can vouch for you down the line.

keep learning

Staying ahead in this field means keeping your skills fresh. Sign up for workshops that focus on emerging tools for supply chain management or courses on the latest ERP systems. If your business operations job involves using Six Sigma or Agile, getting certified in these methodologies isn’t just a resume builder — it’s a smart career move.

network effectively

Networking isn’t just schmoozing at conferences — it’s about making connections that count. When talking to your peers or competitors, try to understand their challenges and consider how your skill set could offer solutions. Don’t limit yourself to just your industry; sometimes, the best business ops practices can be “borrowed” from other sectors. Join LinkedIn groups related to business operations jobs and become an active participant, not just a silent observer.

showcase your achievements

Fleshing out your resume into a business operations portfolio can set you apart. Document processes you've improved, projects you've led and cost-savings you've achieved. Use performance metrics to quantify your achievements — say, “Reduced operation costs by 18 percent through supply chain reorganization” instead of just “Worked on supply chain management.” Whenever possible, use graphs or charts to visually represent your successes. Keep this portfolio updated and ready to impress during job interviews for business operations manager jobs.

get tech-savvy

Embracing technology is a must if you want to rise quickly in business operations. Whether it’s automation tools for inventory management or advanced software for project tracking, being tech-savvy can give you an edge. Get comfortable with the latest tools shaking up your industry and champion them for your workplace if they aren’t already in use. Being the one to introduce time-saving and cost-cutting technology positions you as an innovator in your organization.

Ready to propel your career in business operations or ascend to a managerial role? Randstad offers a wide range of opportunities, from entry-level to business operations manager jobs. Search our open positions today to find a role that matches your skills and ambitions.