As an Executive Assistant you want to advance your career. Whether you are actively applying for your next role or simply thinking ahead of schedule, here are some tips that will help you determine what your next actions should be.
1. Define Skill Level
Whether your official title is Executive Assistant, Admin, Personal Assistant or something else, titles are not the most important things. It’s time for you to take a look at how you operate in your current role. David Finkel, serial entrepreneur and founder of a successful business coaching company, wrote an article for Inc.com titled “4 Types of Personal Assistants (2 of Which You Need To Avoid)”. While this critical analysis is meant for business owners (your boss), you can leverage it to make sure that you are doing everything you can to grow and remain competitive in your field. If you realize that you are one of the types of assistants not recommended by Finkel, don’t be crushed! It takes time to be great and now you know where you want to improve. If, after reading the article, you determine that you fall in one of the two preferred categories, congratulations! Now be sure to use this to your advantage in your resume and interviewing process.
2. Career, or Means To Your Career?
Phoenix Normand, career executive assistant turned personal development coach wrote a passionate article introducing Executives at large to what he terms the “new Executive MEGA Assistant” on Medium. This article, titled “The Devil Wore Prada. Now Your EA Does”, can help you look at where you are now and decide what you want your future to be. Do you want to become the EA that wears Prada? Consider Normand’s traveling workshop, MEGA University. Or are you using this role to move into another area at some point? Learn how to do this.
3. Learn How to Avoid the Bad Ones
Perhaps you’ve found yourself an executive assistant to a very difficult boss or maybe you have a great boss and want to make sure you find one of the same type when you advance to a more high profile company or executive. Two articles, “Top 10 Mistakes Leaders Make With Executive Assistants” and How The Most Effective Executives Avoid Getting Mired In The Small Stuff, by Michael Hyatt and Robert Sher, respectively, will help you look out for the people who likely won’t strive to take this advice. When you find these people, give them a wide berth no matter how important or glamorous their EA sounds.
4. Make Your Resume Stand Out
While most people know how to put together a resume, this is not enough when trying to stand out among the pool of highly qualified candidates vying to assist successful executives. Check out this “Executive Assistant Resume Example and 5 Tips to Writing One.” Some of the tips, like keyword optimization, are far from intuitive for someone used to simply whipping out a page of job responsibilities and titles. Make sure that your resume does not get ignored because of elements that you could have prevented.
5. A method that works for you
One of the biggest keys to success, whether you are an Executive Assistant or not, is organization and focus. With distraction all over the place and new responsibilities coming out of the blue, it’s no wonder that there are dozens of different productivity methods out there. It is a good idea to work on finding the right method for you. You may already loosely use a certain method, like GTD, or BuJo. If this is the case, research how you can be more disciplined in it. It is comforting for executives to see that a person they are considering hiring takes organization and productivity so seriously that they adhere to a strict method. Then compare your current method with others out there and weigh the pros and cons to find the best possible method or combinations of methods. As an example, the four quadrant method of prioritization is a favorite for executive assistants because it helps them understand the context around their boss’ priorities while making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Watch this video to learn more:
6. Network, Network, Network!
We all should network, it is true, but for Executive Assistants this is even more important. You should be connected with someone’s EA before your boss realizes that they want to network with that executive. And yes, there is such a thing as the Executive Assistant grapevine and you definitely want to reap the benefits. Go to EA Events, join virtual groups, and read experts blogs. Not only is this good for career growth, but it will help you feel supported in this challenging role.
With everything you need to do to support your executive, you may feel like barely have enough time to breath, let alone think about your next career moves. However, it is important to put your goals first and make sure that you are doing what you can to advance your career whether or not you are ready to move right now.