Here we are, it’s already mid-April, and you may still be unwilling to acknowledge that life is not all that you had anticipated it to be, yet there is a strange sensation that perhaps this year things will be different. That a wonderful job will just leap out and ‘grab’ you. You will ask for that pay rise because you are certainly worth it. This year is going to be DIFFERENT. However, the treadmill is still turning and the feeling of not getting anywhere gradually overwhelming good intentions.
Time to take stock, what is it you REALLY want? If the answer is to have a meaningful career, then you need to ACTIVELY manage it. Careers are a fluid changing dynamic path, incorporating all aspects of your life. The decisions made at work will have an affect on many fronts, relationships, physical well being, level of self confidence, and of course ability to earn. It is therefore important to set your mind on what is achievable now. Where do you want your career to be in 12 months, 2 years and beyond? How can you reinvigorate it? If you are inspired to make changes, there are a number of ways to boost career prospects:
Anticipate future directions or trends in your Industry – It is important to understand and be conversant with the issues affecting the business. An Executive Assistant is often seen as the ‘font’ of all information, and by understanding the business, can excel in the contributions made to Executives and consequently the organisation.
Know WHO to deal with to keep abreast of current issues – WHO are the main players? What is their territory? How does the company interact with them? This is invaluable knowledge, when dealing with high flyers. Understanding the issues will allow quality interactions. Knowledge is certainly powerful, and being able to make decisions based on that knowledge would be well regarded by any Executive.
Being Technically Proficient – Being proficient in software programs is paramount to being effective.
MS Office to an advanced level will allow the Assistant to take on projects where specific technical expertise is required. Spreadsheets to manage Budgets, Project Management software will open up many opportunities for advancement. Outlook and Tasks have multiple facets to ensure efficiencies for every Assistant. Updating of these skills, will ensure efficiencies and a high level of professionalism are maintained. In return the Executive will rely on their Assistant to manage their Office and know that it will be done in a highly professional manner.
Every opportunity to embrace new skills should be undertaken enthusiastically as it will add ‘strings to your bow’. Why not negotiate professional development opportunities with your Manager, you may be pleasantly surprised that they will not only support your involvement, but also foot the bill.
Most important is the setting of career goals and finding ways to work towards achieving them. Seeking out further educational opportunities such as undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Business Management (Executive Administration), or the Diploma of Management will also show your willingness to grow in your role, and it makes for great reading on an updated Resume.
Broaden Responsibilities Within Your Role / Volunteer – Negotiate with the Executive about participating in working groups, or being involved in projects, where you can become an integral member of a team. This will broaden your experience and add value to your team as you offer another perspective to the project.
Supervision of Support Staff plus having responsibility for their Continual Professional Development
The role of Supervisor sometimes comes with the territory of being an EA. Working in an already exceptionally busy role, can at times make it difficult to be responsible for someone else and their productivity. It is a special person who is able to manage the Executive, the Executive Office, staff that report to them, their own role AND continue to be cool, calm and collected ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
It is also important to understand the level of expertise of staff so that professional development opportunities can be offered which will see them grow into productive contributors to the Team.
Flexibility and Versatility – Any Executive that has a positive, flexible and versatile Assistant, is usually a happy one, as they know that they can rely on the EA’s expertise and know that they will be professional in every aspect of the role.
Summary – We can all present as ‘shrinking violets’ at times, but this does not ‘sell’ who we really are. Being confident in your abilities and if sometimes that means stepping outside your comfort zone to focus on opportunities, then that is what must occur. Be adventurous and make decisions that could change your life.
If you aspire for great things in your career, then don’t procrastinate, as procrastination is the thief of time, take the action, and take it NOW. Never ever give up, life is for LIVING, and that should include Living Your Dream.
Remember what Henry Ford said
“If you THINK you can or you THINK you cannot, YOU ARE RIGHT”.