How to Get a Job as an Executive Assistant

Michele Warg
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If you have advanced job skills as an admin, it might be a good time to apply for an executive assistant job with your current employer or search for opportunities with another company. Although the job title may have "assistant" in it, this career actually carries some high-level responsibilities and the latitude to determine the best way to manage your time.

Generally speaking, successful executive assistants are organized, responsible, outgoing, and devoted. Although a lot of their work requires their diligence behind the scenes, they must also be comfortable taking the lead when required. As you develop a relationship with your boss, you'll likely receive more responsibility andyou may even gain the autonomy to make decisions for your boss. That means if you want to be a great executive assistant, you can't shy away from making decisions and expressing opinions. You should also be capable of dealing with office politics, which will undoubtedly come into play in this job. Executive assistants can bring in a decent wage, with the US national average at $50,758 per year, according to Nexxt's salary center.

The best way to get an executive assistant job depends on whether you want to advance in your current organization or seek employment elsewhere. If you want to keep working for the same employer, keep an eye out for internal job postings related to your area of interest. Executive assistants must be flexible and maintain their professionalism at all times, so work on developing good working relationships with your colleagues. Ask for additional responsibilities so that you have the chance to develop new job skills. Let people know you're interested in an executive assistant job. If you work hard, complain little, and your managers like and appreciate your work, you may get lucky and get a promotion. 

If you're looking for a job with a new employer, the process is a little different. You won't have the advantage of knowing a lot of people within the company or understanding the quirks of a particular executive. You also haven't had an opportunity to demonstrate your skills to supervisors, managers, and executives, so you're on the same playing field as other external candidates. In most cases, you initiate the process by filling out a job application or sending your resume in response to a job advertisement. Use your cover letter to explain why you would be a good candidate for the job. When writing your cover letter, make sure to focus less on the responsibilities you've had and more on your impact. Make it clear that you're a great candidate, that you can succeed in the role, and that you're capable of handling advanced responsibilities.

Once you apply for a job, you will probably have to meet with a human resources representative before moving to the next step of the process. You should prepare for this meeting like you would a job interview, so be ready to answer questions about your background and ask questions of your own. A professional demeanor will be important for showing the HR representative how well you handle stressful situations. It'll be important to appear as if you're more than ready to represent your potential employer. A smart suit, an organized presentation, and great posture can make a huge difference. If you make it through this step of the hiring process, you may have to meet with the outgoing executive assistant before you have a chance to speak with the executive. Be prepared to discuss why you're an ideal candidate for the executive assistant job. Back up your statements with examples of your work or anecdotes about how you managed previous projects. 

Executive assistants have a great deal of responsibility, so the hiring process for this position is a little more involved than it would be for a file clerk or an entry-level administrative professional. If you're applying for a position with your current employer, make use of your professional contacts and watch the company network for announcements about executive assistant job openings. If you're applying for a position with a different employer, expect the process to take several months. But remember to stay positive. Becoming an executive assistant can take time, and it can be a tough road. A positive attitude and a lot of grit can make all the difference.


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