Boosting Your Confidence Through Boosting Your Skills

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Are you stuck trying to figure out how to develop in your role and further your professional career? Continued education is key to success – especially in an industry where everything is moving at warp speed. There are many ways to improve the skills you already have, as well as broaden your existing skill set – Let’s talk about thinking outside the box. 

Tasks given to you by the Executive will most likely require a mixture of soft and hard skills, hybrid skills. Skills Administrative and Executive Assistants need to become an expert in are less evident to individuals who do not have too many hours of experience. To improve these skills, you need to commit to a plan for improvement and continue the pursuit as you gain more experience.

Ways to Improve the Skills You Have

Before you begin executing your skills improvement plan, you need to understand what type of learning style works best for your personality and lifestyle. First, you may be a visual learner, where you prefer to learn a lesson by following instructions written out for you. Second, many people are auditory learners, which means you choose instructions to be said aloud and may even repeat them to yourself. The third type of learning style is kinesthetic,  meaning you have an easier time retaining steps to skill improvement when you can experience them hands-on. Once you know which learning style to use, you can effectively plan to improve the skills you need.

An article on Indeed.com entitled How to Develop Your Skill Set suggests setting goals for yourself as a way to improve your skills and states, “consider organizing a timeline to achieve your goal by setting a beginning and end date, as well as smaller goals to achieve along the way.” Experts in being an Executive Assistant recommend finding a mentor you can learn from and seek feedback from your team and boss about your strengths and weaknesses. You will also boost your skills more effectively by taking advantage of continuing education courses and company training. You can even take classes outside your industry, which will give you a wider variety of skills to impress your boss. Remember the training offered by AdminUniverse? If not, you can find more information here.

Think Outside the Administrative Skills Box

Now, let’s discuss what skills confident Executive Assistants recommend boosting. Refer back to the blog post entitled 17 Executive Assistant Skills In 2021 For Insane Effectiveness on SnackNation.com. This article lays out a descriptive picture of the modern-day EA’s position when it says, “executives lean on their assistants not just for admin help, but for strategic counsel, technical expertise, and critical analysis. EAs are expected to dabble in things as wide and varied as project management, event planning, and internal communications.”

Below you will find a rough list of skills suggested by Jeff Murphy, the author of the article mentioned above from SnackNation.com.

  • All the Best-Kept Secrets

Throughout your career as an EA, it is crucial to improve problem-solving skills by keeping a digital or written list of a wide range of contacts along with an arsenal of tips and tricks that have successfully gotten you out of a bind.

  • Calm Under Pressure

An Executive Assistant’s skillful emotional regulation positively affects his or her boss’s ability to cope with a high-pressure job properly. Check out the SnackNation.com titled 14 Easy Ways to Create a Zen Office Space on a Budget for ways to keep calm and clear.

  • Dogged Resourcefulness

You use resourcefulness skills by utilizing your best-kept secrets or resources. Common strategies you would think to utilize in your everyday life outside of work, like Craigslist, often make up your resources list.

  • Tech Prowess

Understanding the devices, applications, and programs you use the most on the job and knowing how to troubleshoot common problems your boss experiences are valuable skills to have.

If you continue to the next blog post, we dive deeper into the last thirteen skills discussed in this valuable publication. See you there!

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Expanding Your Professional Circle

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Do you know how to use networking to create career opportunities? Networking is more important to your professional development than ever before: In this blog we explore  the importance of networking and growing your professional circle, as well as who should be in that circle and how to make the best connections. 

To reap your business network’s benefits, you must first figure out who to fill it with. Then, you need to utilize social opportunities and technology to grow your circle.

Who should be in your professional circle?

The goal is to cover all of the bases in your administrative position and prove yourself indispensable. An article in the online magazine Executive Secretary entitled Build the Strongest Network Ever states, “Building the strongest business network means you have access or contacts in all the areas we rely upon as assistants: travel, IT, project management, meeting planning, business writing, social media, AI, HR issues, finance, and many more.” 

For any Administrative Professional, building a network filled with people in all sorts of industries is vital. Ensure you know more than one person to call if the computer, phone, or tablet is not working correctly. Before traveling, research businesses near you that can quickly ship a new device to you and keep it for future emergencies. It is also handy to befriend tech-savvy people who can also keep you updated on the latest productivity programs and applications.

Executive Assistants are nominally responsible for planning and managing events and important meetings. A good portion of your network will include food, entertainment, venue, and party vendors for this reason. It is also essential to remember guests with different needs like alternative meals due to food allergies or special seating for disabled individuals and to include professionals or consultants specializing in such accommodations in your contact list. 

Use your discretion and make a list of the places you most commonly need to go for work. Do not forget international locations where you may benefit from knowing a translator or transportation. It will also be easier to find answers specific to your position if you keep up with other people with the same title at different companies. They may even share some of their reliable contacts with you. Last but certainly not least, keep an emergency contact list of individuals from the family and friends of your boss and the team members you work with the most.

How do I form a professional relationship with my progressing circle?

To fill your professional circle with the correct people, you must exercise your networking and communication skills in social environments, both online and in person. Old fashion face-to-face networking is very effective but is difficult with the global pandemic. Thankfully, there are many resources you can use virtually.

Twitter is a great way to meet professionals from different industries if you need anything from a technology expert to a catering contract for an event you are planning. Connecting with a wide variety of professionals from other companies can also be done through LinkedIn. To find individuals who understand what your daily experience at work is like, Administrative or Executive Assistants, join as many Facebook Groups and Meetup groups as you can. Maybe start your own. Keep these essential contacts by “paying it forward” as a blog post entitled 17 Executive Assistant Skills In 2021 For Insane Effectiveness on SnackNation.com explains, “If you’re browsing an online board or attending an event and hear of another EA in need, offer your services immediately.”

If your new connection is near you, ask them to have coffee and exchange tips and tricks. Be safe and wear a mask, of course, during these times. Many Executive Assistants have the advantage of being around many professionals from different departments because they work directly under management. Take advantage of your position and make as many lunch dates with as many people as you can. Try not to leave without their contact information. You can also safely attend events and webinars targeted towards professionals in diverse fields you can make use of in your overflowing contact list for any emergency imaginable. Many are online. If you find some meetings you must go to in person, you can always do so safely through social distancing and, the proper use of personal protection equipment.

It takes a village to properly raise a child and a strong business network to maintain a successful Administrative or Executive Assistant.

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Checking in with Your Goals

Remember those goals you set for 2021? We’re a few months into the year now, cautiously optimistic about how everything is going, and it’s time to check in with yourself about the goals you set at the start of the year. In this blog we will discuss the importance of revisiting goals that you set in the beginning of the year and how to revamp your goals after revaluation.

Possibly Revamping Your Goals

2020 was a rough year, and many experts advised individuals to make smaller, more available resolutions for 2021 since the mass majority of people needed to improve their mental health. Smaller goals are more likely to be achieved, which results in people feeling good about themselves.

Before revisiting your 2021 resolutions, you may want to revamp them to fit the global pandemic’s current, unusual circumstances. According to the article How To Set And Reach Goals In The New Year posted on a personal finance and lifestyle blog website called Making Sense Of Cents, “about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals each year. And, only 75% of those who are setting 2021 resolutions will follow through with them after the first week of the year.” The post also reports that “25% of people will stop working towards their resolutions after just the first week.” Many people make the mistake of creating goals they are not motivated to achieve or do not have time to complete.

With these numbers as our reality, this blog post is probably the only way to remind busy Administrative Professionals of the importance of revisiting one’s New Year’s resolutions or what many also refer to as goals. Many may even need to start over entirely and make new goals because they may have forgotten to write the original resolutions down. Either way, it is essential to ask yourself the questions addressed in the article mentioned above.

  • Is your goal specific enough?
  • Is your goal achievable?
  • Is your goal realistic?

How To Revisit Your Goals And See Them Through

By visualizing your resolutions regularly, you will easily remember what you are working towards and gain more motivation. An Administrative Professional can practice visualizing their goal by creating a vision board one can see every day, starting a blog or a journal, and keeping a picture, a visual representation of your goal, on your desk or in your home. If you need a more blatant reminder, you can use post-it notes listing your resolutions around your office and house or put the due dates of your goals into the calendar of your computer or phone where you can set the alarm.

Going back to the original suggestion of making smaller, more available resolutions, facing an entire year of working towards your goals can be daunting. These goals will feel more comfortable to achieve by breaking them down into steps. Each month can mark the time you must complete one of twelve steps that make up one goal. For example, if you resolve to start a successful Administrative Assistant blog, you can begin by brainstorming blog post topics in January. Then, by May, you can set a step to reach a certain number of subscribers. Finally, by October, you can select the action to earn a certain amount of money from your blog, and by December, you will have a successful blog.

Finally, if you happen to know someone with the same goal, use them as an accountability partner and maybe even turn into a friendly competition. By consistently reminding yourself of the goals you set for 2021 and completing portions of your resolution, you will find yourself less stressed and more likely to get to the finish line.