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How to take the next step in your Executive/PA career

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

The role of a Personal or Executive Assistant is arguably one of the most dynamic of the business environment.

Gone are the days of typing pools and secretarial services as seen in Mad Men: today, PA’s would have a hard time penning their responsibilities into a job description due to the ever-changing nature of the role. In addition to administrative tasks and day-to-day diary management, Personal and Executive Assistants work proactively with business leaders to make key decisions, manage budgets and identify new ways of improving efficiencies. In a highly competitive business landscape, working as a PA is by no means an easy career path - however, due to the critical part this role plays in most organisations, it’s certainly a rewarding one.

Whether you’ve just landed your first job as a Personal Assistant or have accumulated several years’ experience under your belt, it’s likely that you’re looking to the future to build a picture of your long-term career prospects within this role. While every professional journey is unique, we’ve outlined the key ways in which Executive/PA’s can drive their career forwards.

Embrace new challenges

As the workplace continues to evolve, Personal and Executive Assistants are expected to confidently tackle the challenges associated with working in a fast-paced environment. Rather than shying away from the unknown and sticking to the responsibilities of your remit, take advantage of new challenges to grow your understanding of the organisation as a whole. If the business is undergoing significant change or is dealing with a particularly complicated matter, this is your time to shine: your best asset as an EA or PA is reliability, and new challenges may offer you the chance to prove your unwitting ability to provide support and assistance wherever you can.

Always ask questions

As a Personal or Executive Assistant, you will be expected to have a deep understanding of how the business operates in order to contribute towards its growth and success. Therefore, it’s imperative that you ask questions whenever something is unclear or unexplained: you may feel silly at the time, but your boss will recognise your desire to learn and appreciate your commitment to the business.

Networking is key

Within the PA industry, there exists a vast number of networking groups designed to bring together people of the profession to share ideas, reflect on experiences and learn from each other.  Attending events with such groups will allow you to connect with likeminded individuals and grow your network. As well as providing comfort, support or useful advice, regularly attending industry meet-ups can often open new doors to exciting opportunities, so don’t hesitate in making new connections.

Consider professional development courses

While you may already have achieved certain qualifications from your school days and higher education, your professional development should always be treated as a continuous mission rather than a one-and-done task. To get ahead of the crowd, ambitious PA’s will embark on courses to improve their skills when the opportunity arises: this could take the form of an intensive business studies course, a commitment to gaining a Personal Assistant Diploma or even just learning a foreign language. These are the skills that will set you aside from the competition. Meanwhile, don’t forget to stay informed on new trends by reading articles and blogs via social media.

For 20 years, the Allen Associates team has been helping employers in Oxfordshire secure the Executive PA and Administration talent they really need. Can we help you? Click here for more information. 

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