How to become an indispensable Executive Assistant


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How to become an indispensable Executive Assistant

  1. 1. Sumathi Agambaranathan August 2011 1
  2. 2. As an Executive Assistant for over a decade, I have held thisposition in various designations and capacities. I couldactually write a book on my experience! Here are some tipsfor growing Executive Assistants/ Executive Secretaries, toenable you to become indispensable in your company. 2
  3. 3.  Executive Assistants are established professionals with proven managerial and operational skills. The role is for people with very good communication skills, advanced proficiency in computers, and the ability to grasp new technologies. They usually work with CEOs and other senior executives. Because of their dependability, accountability and proximity to the CEO/Senior Executive, Executive Assistants are considered key players in the organization. The role requires someone who can work independently, be very discrete and tactful dealing with people, has excellent communication skills to operate on his/her behalf and make informed decisions in a tough situation. 3
  4. 4.  Three fundamental requirements of the Executive Assistant role is the ability to prioritize, remain calm under pressure and remain focused. Executive Assistants have to cope with an ever changing set of priorities, so flexibility and adaptability are essential attributes. Each day can differ from the previous one and bring new tasks and challenges. Be smart, sharp, confident and reliable Hear every thing that is said; extract relevant information; organize that information efficiently, and take appropriate action. The more organized and well-prepared you are, the more efficient your time with the CEO/Executive will be spent. 4
  5. 5.  Try to master Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint Express a desire to learn. This is a huge plus and your boss will notice! Keep yourself updated on the latest trends and technologies in the line of your business The most important attribute is building trust which must be sincere and routed in integrity. Once the trust is lost, it becomes very difficult to function in the CEO and Executive Assistant relationship. Focus on learning to “read” your bosses. What kind of pace do they like. What do they need from you. What’s their response time like. What is their behavior under stress. 5
  6. 6.  People skills, discretion and a being able to be on top of things all the time are actually very high on the list of must have qualifications. Use Outlook extensively. You will never lose track of assignments to be completed or follow-ups to be done. Prioritize, delegate and fulfill commitments Time management is crucial Ability to multitask is the key Communication is important When your boss gives you instructions, do not count on your brain to remember these things for you. Bring a notebook and write down whatever they tell you to do. 6
  7. 7.  Another learning curve is corporate office email etiquette. Pay close attention to how other people type, the sort of language they use and how they word things. Be proactive and follow-up The easiest way to impress a boss I think is to anticipate If you make a mistake, which you will, own up, apologize and tell them what you have done to fix it. This gets you far more respect than trying to hide it and getting caught later. Use your judgment and take decisions. It comes with experience. 7
  8. 8.  Always arrive a little early to prepare for the day, and do not start shutting down 30 minutes before office closing hours Don’t wait until the last minute to get work done. Get an early start on tasks. Your boss will appreciate it. Keep a to-do list. Take notes when given instructions Be proactive and try to anticipate the needs of your bosses for future projects (or) tasks Keep a can do, upbeat attitude Never fall into the “its not my job” attitude Write down everything, summarize and follow-up! 8
  9. 9.  They might rattle of a ton of things at once. Always keep a notepad for this purpose. Your work is not going to change, and you still have those 100 things to do. But, if you focus on one thing at a time, you’ll be done quicker, and your work will be more accurate. When you have got a big project (or) a complex task, it is best to ignore other distractions. Don’t try to answer every mail the second it comes in. Let the phone go to voice mail. Although you may not believe it, your company will not go bankrupt if you are unavailable for an hour!! Be loyal and go the extra mile. It will make you INDISPENSABLE. 9
  10. 10.  Start each day with a smile. Maintain professionalism, and treat everyone with respect Be careful about gossip. Do not participate in it whatsoever Be professional and friendly with everyone! The person who empties your garbage tin, the receptionist, your boss’s boss, because you never know what resources you will need to tap. Respect all employees. When things go wrong, as they always do, it is important to have reliable friends in every department. Remember that the Finance people are super important, and you need them on your side 10
  11. 11.  Please ensure that you are not taken for a ride by any of your colleagues in the company. Remember that this is a extremely privileged position and maintain your self-esteem Do not discuss your boss’s personal matters with anyone in the office – this is very important Do not date anyone in the company Do not play office politics under any circumstances. Do not talk about people. Smile and listen; listen and smile. And finally, no romance with the boss. It simply does not work! Keep your relationship very professional to establish yourself in your career. 11
  12. 12. My LinkedIn profile: Blog: 12