The executive assistant position in today's fast-paced office bears little resemblance to the more common administrative assistant role and even less to the position of secretary in bygone years. Today's executive assistant is the right-hand person to his boss and frequently earns a competitive and even enviable salary. Here are some tips on how to become executive assistant material in your office.
Recognize the Difference
An executive assistant provides minute-by-minute support to the executives at the top levels of a company and, as such, must understand the demands on those execs. Executive assistants serve not only as the gatekeepers to their bosses, but also as their liaisons to various departments of the company. They therefore need excellent teamwork and communications skills.
Some executive assistants see themselves as the project managers for their bosses. This description is accurate, since executive assistants typically sit in on many meetings and often serve as sounding boards for their bosses. Basic support services are also required, but rather than focusing on clerical work, executive assistants are key members of the team. Executive assistants, in fact, often have teams of their own whom they oversee.
Prove You're an Asset
If you want to become an executive assistant, start proving your value around the office. Start thinking like an executive. Take the time to analyze your department's current situation, or solve a problem that has been bedeviling your boss for some time. Work the same hours your boss does to show that you are up to the challenge. Make sure you let your boss know of your interest in a promotion to executive assistant, and ask what he needs to see from you to be convinced that you're ready for the change.
Becoming an executive assistant means taking on a significantly higher level of responsibility than most administrative assistants, and it also requires showing a lot of initiative. If you want to make the jump to an executive assistant position, be prepared to go beyond your job duties to take on tasks that no one else is doing, present alternative ways to accomplish tasks and take the lead on projects. Look for opportunities to take on a management role on a project-by-project basis to prove you can handle the projects an executive assistant oversees.
Prepare yourself to step into a new role as an executive assistant by proving yourself highly competent and trustworthy. The extra salary isn't the only reward for this new position, as the job itself can be exciting and highly fulfilling. If you have the right skills and initiative, an executive assistant position is the perfect way to take on new responsibilities and be close to the center of the action in your office.
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