It’s no secret that great executive assistants can make a vast difference in the productivity of a company, but how can you become a gun executive assistant? The requirements of the job are as varied and multifaceted as the companies that benefit from their services. While there are hundreds of EA jobs posted across the country, finding the right fit, outlining your skillset, and ensuring a harmonious relationship between yourself, the boss, and the staff takes time and research. The most respected and sought-after EAs and PAs (Personal Assistants) understand both the frustrations and the rewards of this position.
If you’re interested in tackling this career (or want to improve yourself), there are plenty of tactics that can help you become a gun executive assistant. Though your work ethic, communication skills, and CV have a lot to do with whether you get (and keep) the job, there’s a world of personal management advice that will allow you to go above and beyond expectations. Become a key player. Become indispensable. Be helpful and organized, pretend you can read the boss’s mind, and watch your career take off.
Read on, for our comprehensive guide to personal management, and get on the road to becoming an ace executive assistant!
12 TIPS TO BECOME A GUN EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Always listen, and do so without interrupting. Don’t propose new, different or “better” options before hearing what the boss has to say. Yes, even if you believe you know more about the topic at hand… Listening is the form of communication that conveys neither criticism nor judgment; just understanding, empathy, and the ability to lead a project because you can listen. Use the 80/20 rule to listen 80% of the time and speak 20% of the time. The ability to listen assures your superiors that you know their needs and expectations.
Carry a notepad and pen at all times. Never miss an opportunity to write down instructions, thoughts, and ideas. Also, remember to look up and acknowledge the boss regularly; it proves you are paying attention and taking direction at the same time. Taking notes assists memory and provides a reliable record of what has been said.
Ask the Right Questions
If you want to become a gun executive assistant, don’t nod and smile. Don’t walk away wondering if you’ve understood your tasks. Always ask and clarify if there’s any doubt. Not only will you save yourself the hassle of correcting your mistakes, but you will also demonstrate your communication skills and dedication to perfection. However, be wary of asking too many questions! You don’t want to take it too far and look incompetent.
Reading Minds is Not in the Job Description, But…
The successful EA manages to accomplish something like it. They know, based on previous experience, how an executive tends to behave in certain circumstances. They strive to anticipate what the boss thinks or needs, and provide the materials, research, and response to move a project to its next step.
Accountability is Power
The proactive EA believes in personal accountability and makes more than promises: they set goals and deadlines, track their progress and consistently work on improving their skills through education and mentoring. Show your willingness to take on responsibility, demonstrate effective results, and watch your influence grow.
Seek Out Responsibility
Successful EAs don’t stay in one place; they thrive on and continuously seek out new challenges. They understand that growth and development is the key to success. Though it’s not always about additional salary and perks, they also know that those benefits accompany professional success. A successful EA can move from an entry-level position starting at AU$61,000 annually to AU$150,000 annually with CEO responsibilities.
Turn Frustration into Affirmation
EAs can experience frustration due to poorly planned projects, missing materials, beleaguered bosses, and absentee staff. Gun executive assistants turn their frustration into action; they use ambiguity to their advantage and become the focal point, using their communication, leadership, and energizing skills to bring everyone’s attention back to the main issue.
Accept Your Mistakes
Errors are part of everyday life. Mistakes happen on the job, but experienced EAs don’t allow problems to slow them down. While all humans make mistakes, the productive ones don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Successful EAs know this, and always walk away from their mistakes having learned from them. Additionally, top-notch EAs use their past mistakes to direct their future endeavors.
Master Technical & “Soft” Skills
A survey of over 500 EAs and PAs found that the majority believed knowledge of the latest computer software and hardware is just as important as the ability to assist the boss with prioritizing and organizing the work day. These supplementary skills won’t make or break your job, but they will certainly set you apart, and help you become an indispensable asset.
Draw a Line in the Sand
Spending more than 40 hours a week in the office can blur the line between your personal and professional life. Make sure you set boundaries so that you are not overworked. Also, set limitations on when and how you assist coworkers in need of help. If it is beyond the scope of your responsibility and has little to do with the projects your boss is currently involved in, make that distinction clear. It is perfectly acceptable to lend a hand when you are needed, but keep it within reason.
Handling Conflict & Harassment
Conflict and harassment are not new in the world of business, and a gun executive assistant will not accept either. Do not hesitate to report bad behavior to management; you are their eyes and ears, after all. Sexual harassment in the workplace remains prevalent, but office professionalism ranks high with accomplished assistants, and they expect it of themselves and everyone around them.
Beyond the Regular Workday
For many EAs, some tasks occur outside the office. Whether it’s the office holiday party, a charity fundraiser, or a team-building exercise, there will be days where you must transfer your skills to real-world applications. Remember, even in these situations you are a representative of your company and your boss, so reach out to individual employees, build relationships, listen, and make mental notes as needed.
Being an executive assistant is a challenging and rewarding career that allows you to assume responsibilities, keep projects and people on track, and encourage the evolution of a team of employees working toward common goals. You’re practically a mind-reader and you motivate your superiors to accomplish their tasks by lending constant support and information. You make everything run smoothly and take pride in doing so.
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