How Can I Be The Best At My Executive Assistant Job
A high-level executive assistant must be extremely organized, detail-oriented, and can prioritize and complete tasks efficiently. Market research skills in the field you are working in, as well as proficiency in Microsoft Suite and other administrative computer programs, are essential assets of successful executive assistants. You must also have a solid understanding of standard office processes and procedures, and be able to quickly gather a clear understanding of executive needs and goals so you can ensure progress towards that goal.
The Complete Guide To Becoming An Executive Assistant
An executive assistant is, as the name suggests, someone whose primary role is to assist or support a high-level executive. C-suite executives have a lot on their plate and require vital administrative support from their executive assistants .
The people who fill this role are often given other job titles such as administrative assistants, personal assistants, or executive secretaries. In a nutshell, they are gatekeepers, confidants, and an overall support system to execs. They offer administrative support, carry out staff training, oversee office management and even advise executives on vital decisions that could directly contribute to the success of the company.
The role is a hard and often highly stressful one but it is perfect for anyone seeking a dynamic and exciting career path that is bound to provide them with loads of skills and valuable experience.
How Do You Break Into Working As An Ea
For many, working as a receptionist or an administrative assistant is a reasonable entry point into this career path. In many companies, it is seen as the easiest route. Given the volatility of the workplace, advancement is available as an assistant proves themself. As one example, in the post-pandemic world, many EAs are being promoted into chief of staff positions because of the need to coordinate the hybrid workforce.
In terms of your resume and LinkedIn profile, highlight your technology skills and name all your software proficiencies, including any recent workshops youve taken to update your knowledge. Know that your written materials will serve as examples of your technical abilities.
Leaders are facing an unprecedented set of challenges as they work to run their companies and EAs are supporting them to bring order to the chaos.
In general, recruiters will only want to place you if you have solid experience as an assistant. After all, their clients pay them a hefty commission to provide candidates who possess the necessary skills and experience. Even if you were not paid to assist someone, like a relative or friend, include any and all examples in your application materials. Experience is experience, no matter where it comes from.
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Career Paths For Executives And Assistants
Once you know your executive assistant salary range, you need to figure out where you want to work for the rest of your career. When youre in your mid-to-late-20s, you should strongly consider a corporate career path.
Now, lets figure out how you should take steps to advance in your career? First, and foremost, never take a job just because it sounds great. You need to focus on what you love, what youre good at, and what youre passionate about.
That way, you can make a great career in whatever field you choose. As your skills develop, youll have the ability to choose the type of work environment you want to work in, which will lead to promotions. If you like to read, then youll probably want to choose an office environment.
Here we have discussed some skills to develop to become a successful EA-
The executive assistant is the key to managing an executives time, schedules, and workload. They are the ones who make sure everything goes according to plan. If you want to be an efficient and organized executive assistant, here are some tips for success.
- Work ethically: As an assistant, your reputation is on the line with every move. Make sure that what you do reflects positively on your bosss reputation.
- Set achievable goals: You can break projects down into small steps that wont take up too much of your time or energy at one time. This will ensure that you finish tasks efficiently without any hiccups along the way.
Why Is Human Resources A Good Career Path
HR presents a compelling case as a top career path choice. HR entry-level jobs typically start at $40,000 to $50,000, with high-level titles nearing and exceeding the six-digit mark. The job outlook is attractive, as well. Despite the integration of technology that can automate some low-level HR functions, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of HR specialists is projected to grow 10% through 2028, and HR managers by 9% over the same period.
HR truly shines as a career path when considering its intangibles HR professionals have a tangible impact on workers. These professionals meet fundamental needs, from finding top talent and training new hires to solving organizational issues. A well- or poorly-run HR department can make or break a company.
The human part of HR is not to be underestimated. HR workers interact with an organizations employees to help them sort out issues with managers, receive benefits for a new child, and progress their careers so they can experience occupational growth and better provide for their families. Whether entry-level or advanced, plenty of HR positions involve these sorts of scenarios, and no two days are the same.
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Its Not Cool If You Only Talk To An Ea To Get Intel About Leadership Its Rude And They Can Tell Youre Doing It
Since executive assistants often have access to a leader behind closed doors, some colleagues try to exploit that relationship for their own ends.
Burrows said that in a prior job as an EA at a different company, these kind of conversations happened all the time. He shared a typical scenario of how chats would go when he ran into co-workers outside the office:
Oh, hey, how is it going? How is your boss doing?Hes good, its busy, but hes hanging in there.OK, good, good. Well, let him know Im thinking about him. Tell him if he ever needs anything, give me a call. Tell him we should grab coffee soon.
On the surface, these interactions may seem fine, but if they happen over and over, it becomes dehumanizing to an executive assistant, Burrows said.
Even if he is the biggest asshole in the world, there is only a limited amount that you can share.D.D.
It caused me to shut down emotionally and basically say, OK, Im just not going to be friends with my colleagues because they dont care about me, they just care about, Oh, whats the latest scoop about whats going on with the CEO?
To be better colleagues, Burrows said, co-workers should trust that assistants will communicate crucial information to them if necessary and that if an EA cannot share, it doesnt mean bad news like a layoff is coming.
You dont have to go fishing for information, he said.
What Does An Executive Assistant Do
An Executive Assistants responsibilities do encompass much of what Administrative Assistants and secretaries do, but it also goes beyond that. Some of their work is administrative, some of it is human resources-related, and some of it is interpersonal.
Common Executive Assistant duties include:
- Sorting and distributing incoming mail, email, and other communication
- Answering phones and taking messages
- Managing the executives schedule
- Arranging travel plans and creating itineraries
- Recording meeting minutes
- Performing basic accounting and bookkeeping tasks
- Handling secretarial duties like copying, typing, faxing, etc.
- Handling inventory
- Creating and updating spreadsheets with company information
Understand that these are only some of the basic duties of an Executive Assistant. Depending on the position, an executive may have their assistant prepare reports, deliver presentations to other executives or stakeholders, travel to act as their liaison, and much more. It all depends on the job itself, the company, and what the Executive Assistant has to offer.
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You Have A More Personal Connection With Your Executive
Finally, working as an EA often gives an assistant the opportunity to collaborate with an executives family and take on a wide range of personal responsibilities, from gift buying to planning destination birthday parties. If travel and event planning are passions of yours, working as an EA can be highly rewarding, both financially and through a highly varied job description.
Executive Assistant Career Path
The executive assistant career path can be personally and professionally rewarding. Executive assistants generally support one or more company executives, helping them with day-to-day, high-level, administrative tasks. Working as an executive assistant can provide valuable experience and recognition to motivated business professionals.
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Dont Take It Personally If You Dont Get On The Calendar
Sometimes people see their failure to secure a meeting with an executive as proof that the executive assistant is personally out to get them, said Lindsay Robinson, an executive assistant at LinkedIn.
But behind the scenes, Robinson said, I agonize over how to find time when there isnt any. If they knew how many meetings I looked at to possibly, potentially move, and it just didnt work out.
Act with a little grace when youre asking for something, because its not just you, she advised. Youre thinking about what you have to do. Im thinking about you and the other 30 people that have emailed me before eight o clock.
You May Have To Work Long Hours And Not Have A Life
Given the demands on the leaders, the hours can be long, hard, and stressful for their EAs. Most assistants understand and accept being on-call 24/7. Your personal life may suffer as Thanksgiving dinners can be interrupted with what may or may not be a real emergency. Looking back, I regret that I missed far too many of my sons events over the years and wish I could have a do-over. I would do it better.
If there has been any silver lining to the pandemic, it is that many EAs reported that working from home represented the first time they were available for family dinners in years. Work-life balance needs to stay an important priority.
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What Are The Qualifications
The precise qualifications for becoming an Executive Assistant will depend on the job and the level of experience required. Almost all Executive Assistant jobs require a high school diploma or GED equivalent, and some may even require Associates or Bachelors degrees, perhaps in fields like business or communication.
Additional qualifications for landing an Executive Assistant job include things like:
- Experience with programs like Microsoft Word and Excel
- Experience managing a schedule/calendar
- Phone skills
- Great reading and writing skills
Executive Assistants who hold certifications or have completed coursework in relevant areasadministrative software, IT certifications, etc.may be even more attractive to employers, and they may be able to command a higher salary as well.
Career Trajectory For Administrative Assistants
Administrative assistants can advance to more senior roles with greater responsibility as they gain experience. An entry-level administrative assistant, for example, can move to the position of an executive administrative assistant or office manager. If you want to progress as an administrative assistant, you can learn more about your companys activities and add certifications to your skillset.
Motivated administrative assistants can be transferred to other divisions within their organization, such as accounting or information technology, in some situations. Obtaining formal qualifications in each of these fields will increase an administrative assistants chances of advancing.
Administrative assistants who remain with the same company and learn all they can about it instead of seeking opportunities at different organizations can often see their loyalty to the company be rewarded with more opportunities to advance.
If you want to join the workforce rather than continuing your education after high school, you may find that getting a job as an administrative assistant to be an excellent option. Because of the wide variety of responsibilities and business sectors that employ administrative assistants, this role can be fascinating and demanding.
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How Do You Measure Your Career Success
It can be easy for people to compare themselves to others and see their career journey regarding how others define success.
Sure, competition is good, but when it comes to accelerating your Assistant career path and progression, you really should take the time to determine what success means to you. Here are five questions you can ask yourself that will help you measure your career success.
Are you happy?
Or in other words, how do you feel on Monday morning? If you start to get the work fear on Sunday night and by Monday morning you are ready to resign , I think we all know that you might not be delighted at work.
Im not saying every Monday you should be skipping into the office with a massive grin on your face, but you should feel a sense of expectation for the week ahead and some excitement about your work.
Are you making an impact?
For me, this is so important. It can be so disheartening when you put real effort into your work, and it just falls into the void.
I know Ive achieved something when the work I create impacts, and I think this is a great way to judge your success. When you work closely with an Executive, your job, the things you create can significantly impact your Executive and the wider business.
Assistants are in a great place to influence and create impact. It doesnt have to be world-changing. Sometimes the simplest things can make the most significant difference.
Are you respected / valued / listened to?
Do you have strong working relationships?
Look At What You Do And What Your Role Covers
What skills do you use that you can transfer to a different profession?
As Assistants, we are lucky because we do lots of various tasks, so our skills are generally pretty broad, which means we can move quite quickly into something different. It helps career transitions for Executive Assistants.
The tricky bit is demonstrating that those skills are ideal for a new role, so think about your strengths and core values along with your skills and competencies.
How can you show that you are made for this new career? Veronica Richards has a great session on how Assistants can move into new industries and sectors by using their transferable skills.
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Why Is It Important For Executive Assistants To Set Career Goals
It’s important for executive assistants to set career goals to increase their professional growth and contribute positively to their workplace. Dedication to setting and achieving various career goals may also improve the operations within their office. Here are a few other reasons why it’s important for executive assistants to set goals:
Be Engaged In Your Career
I grew from administrative assistant to executive assistant and then to vice president in my career with increased responsibilities as I transitioned to each new role. One of the most impactful things I did along the way was to act as if. This means to act as if I was responsible for the company. I believe, as administrators, we have great impact on the companies we work for. What would Joan do? was a mantra of mine for a long time.
My engagement has come from a genuine care and concern for my employer and the cause we serve. As you navigate your own career path, channel your engagement by finding what drives you at work. What are you most passionate about? Is it supporting others, the cause of your organization, or a genuine respect or admiration for the people you support?
Everyones career path looks different. In fact, our desires for our own career paths can be vastly different.
My parting tips for you as you reach for your career goals are:
- Look forward with a plan in mind for yourself.
- Be flexible with your plan.
- Pay attention to the people and environment around you.
- Always show up and do your best work.
- Try new things, even if they scare you a little.
- Find a cause youre fired up about and let your passion show.
What steps have you taken that have allowed you to advance in your career? Share them with others below.
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S To Shifting Your Ea/pa Career Path
Executive Operations Scaling Consultant | Mission-driven Industries | Partnering with Founder CEOs
Some of us proactively chose the career path of EA/PA/Office Manager and have dedicated years of study and continual learning to grow into the “Office Sages”. Others accidentally stumbled into their Administrative roles through life circumstances and had no defined career path aspirations, but fell in love with the Admin lifestyle and decided to commit to the experience to “see where it goes”.
While the beginnings of each of our professional Administrative role stories may vary, the reality is that our Administrative career paths most likely end up at the same place.
There comes a time when you have hit the top of your “ladder” as a Senior EA/PA, a Chief of Staff, Assistant to the CEO/Chairman, or any other number of titles that let you know that there are no higher Administrative titles in your company that you can apply for, nor a significantly higher pay grade that you can break into.
Many Admins have found their life purpose through senior support roles and are committed to remaining in this position for years, staying engaged and challenged through supplemental project work, with no intentions of “jumping the rails”. But what if you are an Admin who is ready to move on from the support function path – to shift gears towards an entirely new professional trajectory?
If you are one of those “gear shifting” Admins, this article is for you.