On Becoming An Executive Assistant
We’re starting a new blog series where we break down what it means to be in some of the core positions we staff for. For our inaugural post, we spoke with our very own Executive Assistant, Christina. Not only is Christina our fabulous Executive Assistant, she’s also the creative mind behind Tips for Assistants, a blog dedicated to administrative and executive support professionals.
Parker) So, Christina – what’s the “elevator pitch” of an executive assistant? How would you describe what you do to someone you met in an elevator?
At the highest level, my focus is to save time and energy for the person I support. It’s my job to partner with them, and I provide assistance with both business and personal needs. I ensure they are able to focus on higher level items by being their trusted right hand, filtering distractions, anticipating needs, and preventing decision fatigue. I aim to be an extension of my executive and often represent them in interactions with clients, other employees, service people, and others.
my focus is to save time and energy for the person I support.
Parker) Ok, great – so for someone interested in getting into the career, where do they start?
For those who are interested in being an EA, I recommend seeking entry-level opportunities that allow you to develop similar skills. Keep your eyes peeled for receptionist, administrative assistant, or other office-related work roles. I would also consider looking into personal assistant roles – sometimes they offer the opportunity to get involved in someone’s business endeavors, which is crucial as an EA.
Parker) What if you don’t have the background for those roles?
Remember that you can grow any role you step into – you just need to find an employer that is supportive. Perhaps a big part of a role is answering phones or data entry, but stay vigilant for ways to support in other areas that align with your career goals. Look for opportunities to assist in areas that can help you develop higher level EA skills early on and make these interests known to those you work with. For example, since event coordination is a common responsibility for EAs, volunteer to help organize the next company event. I especially recommend keeping your eyes peeled for processes or other areas that need improvement – that’s how you can really grow and show your company that you can take on more.
Remember that you can grow any role you step into – you just need to find an employer that is supportive.
Parker) Would you mind sharing your own career progression?
I’d love to share my journey, in case it helps others! After college, I started out as an entry-level Corporate Receptionist. I constantly assisted my teammates – I offered my help to anyone I noticed needed support. Eventually I was promoted as our company’s first Office Manager, which also provided dedicated support to one of our C-level executives. This growth happened because I never limited my support to a set department or people; I always found ways to support our entire company any way I could.
Thanks Christina! Check out the second part of our series with Christina.