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Personal Assistants can contribute as much as 40% to their boss's productivity; therefore, a good Executive Assistant is worth many times her/his salary. Paradoxically, when it comes to PA training and continuous professional development, PAs often have to battle with their boss to convince them to invest in effective PA training. PA training should be viewed as an investment, not an expense, because people are the most important resource. Executive Assistants pack their boss's parachute on a daily basis so PA training should be a priority. It is every PA's responsibility to understand the latest PA best practice strategies and changing PA objectives. This can only be achieved through regular PA refresher skills training.
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.
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The road to success is always under construction! Whether you are a PA, an Executive Assistant, a junior secretary or an Administrator, it is essential that you maintain your professional performance. PA mentoring is an effective, personalized resource for PA development that can significantly improve your effectiveness and help you to discover your unique career roadmap. It is a good way to improve your performance without attending a training course, particularly as advice is tailored to your specific challenges. Personal-Assistant-Tips offers face-to-face mentoring and telephone/email mentoring programmes. Click here for more on PA Mentoring.
Producing a winning CV/resume requires careful attention to the requirements of the job specification, but getting that interview is only half the battle. If you are due to attend an interview for a PA role, it would be prudent to assume that the interviewer will utilize a behavioural-style interview where he/she will seek to identify your range of skills through solid evidence.
Preparation is key to a successful behavioural-style interview. The trick is to thoroughly communicate your PA work experiences. Anticipate the type of questions you may be asked by the Hiring Manager and practice your responses. Behavioural-style interviews also seek to establish how you behave in particular situations.
The Hiring Manager will be looking for examples of recent experiences that are similar in nature to the specifics of the job description. Include in your examples elements such as details of tasks performed; any time constraints you encountered; mitigating circumstances and the outcome of the task. Was the task accomplished successfully? How did you overcome obstacles? Click here for more on behavioural-style interviews.
I hope you will find this site a very useful professional resource.