Moving effortlessly from the role of a not-so-senior Personal Assistant to a senior-level Executive Assistant (EA) role will require a certain degree of proactivity as well as a thorough understanding of the EAs goals, objectives and duties. The following 7 tips represent the type of attributes you probably won't find in an Executive Assistant's job description.
1) Understanding your boss's objectives should be the most important goal for every Personal Assistant because the EA's core objective is to help their boss achieve his/her strategic objectives. To achieve this, EAs need to understand their boss's standards and boundaries, as well as being familiar with their boss's targets and goals. The best way EAs can familiarise themselves with these issues is by asking the boss to explain his/her decisions and reasons for doing things in a particular way.
2) Prevent unnecessary meetings - when taking messages, use your questions effectively to drill down to the heart of the matter; asking questions that the boss can act on without needing clarification. Use "who", "what", "why", "where" and "when" questions as the basis for your questions. Seek comprehensive answers the first time round. Asking the right questions will prevent time-wasting and unnecessary meetings. 3) It's essential that you understand the wider issues within your organisation, such as the company's goals and that of it's main customers and competitors. Understanding these issues will help you to make decisions within the right framework.
4) Ask your boss to mentor you. This will encourage better teamwork and help the boss to understand the pressures and challenges that you are faced with. The boss is also more likely to explain why he/she has made a particular decision, which will give you an insight into his/her thinking and priorities.
5) Always provide a possible solution when approaching the boss with a problem. Make sure you have thought it through and can explain the pros and cons of the solution.
6) Be the boss's memory; a mind of useful information. Get clued up on personal things like the names of the wives of the boss's main customers (and their birthdays if you can manage it). Understand the issues and peculiarities of less senior members of your boss's team so that you can advise the boss and fill in gaps in his/her knowledge.
7) Always have a plan for continuous development. Don't allow yourself to be overlooked for training and development or promotion. Set goals for your development and identify training courses you would like to attend. Be an active part of succession planning for your own role - if you don't prepare the boss to accept that you will move onwards and upwards by making the necessary preparation, he/she will imagine that all manner of horrors will occur if you move on. This could cause your boss to block your progress.
When thinking about the type of questions you may be asked by the Hiring Manager and when preparing your response, remember that many of the interviews you attend these days will be "behavioural" in style. A behaviour style interview will seek to identify the interviewee's range of skills through solid evidence. This type of interview also seeks to establish how you behave in particular situations.
The Hiring Manager will be looking for examples of recent experiences you have had that are similar in nature to the requirements of the job description. Include in your examples elements such as details of the task performed; time constraints you encountered; mitigating circumstances and the outcome. Were you successful? Click here for more on behavioural style interviews
We've devised the perfect mentoring package for those who just need someone on the other end of an email to guide them periodically with advice and support. For just £97 per 3-month package, you can take advantage of the PA Mentoring Club if you have recently been promoted to a more senior PA role, or have recently started your career as a PA. These quarterly and 6-month mentoring packages are good value for money because they provide the opportunity to ask 3 or 6 questions at any time during the mentoring period at a significantly discounted price. Full access to the Personal-Assistant-Tips.com website is included in the price. In addition to this we have a variety of mentoring packages to suit all needs. Click here for more details.
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I hope you will find this site a useful resource and investment.
Marguerita King BSc DipPA Managing Director
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