If you’re an executive assistant thinking about making a career change in 2022, you likely feel a combination of excited and daunted. It’s exciting because there’s plenty of fabulous high-level roles on the market, with in-demand Australian employers. This means you have a wonderful chance to pick and choose the particular role that would be best for you to grow your career. But on the other hand, if you’re a loyal executive assistant you may be feeling some trepidation about departing your current comfortable situation and moving on elsewhere. As a specialist executive assistant recruiter, I can assure you that it’s perfectly normal to feel a range of emotions . After all, making a career change is an important life decision and not something to be entered into lightly. Here are some things to think about to prepare yourself to make a change in 2022.
Be clear on what you want in a new role
If you are considering moving in a new direction, consider the aspects of a new position: what do you exactly want on your wishlist? Demand for candidates is high, so you’re in a strong position to articulate your requirements. For example, you may prefer:
a specific location that’s close to your home or public transport
a particular industry that you enjoy most
a larger company or smaller company
an organisation that aligns with your values
a role that gives you a chance to grow your career
a role that gives you more work/life balance
When you have clarity on what you’re looking for in a new role, you strengthen your position as a candidate because you don’t waste time applying for roles that don’t meet your criteria. Plus, you’re far more likely to be satisfied in a new position because you’ve taken a strategic approach to growing your career. Spending time thinking about these options can help you clarify whether you really want to depart your current role too.
Evaluate the kind of executive assistant you’d like to be
Are you a business partner executive assistant, offering high-level support and strategic guidance to your executive? Or are you more of a transactional executive assistant, focusing on the more traditional aspects of EA support, such as managing diaries, meetings and correspondence. One kind of executive assistant is not superior to the other, but they are different. Perhaps you're looking to step up and become more of a business partner EA. Understanding how you can move into that more strategic kind of support can help you achieve the goal and often, a change in position is the ideal way to progress your career. Additionally, strategic business partner executive assistants may also consider whether they’d like to move to an even more senior chief of staff role.
Consider filling any skills gaps
Spend time looking at position descriptions for executive assistant positions and determine if you have the skills and experience to meet the key criteria. If necessary, you can build your knowledge and experience on key elements of the executive assistant function, to increase your chances of being an ideal candidate for many positions. You may wish to invest in building your skills such as learning the latest SaaS tools, or increasing your experience in key elements of an EA role, such as stakeholder liaison, meeting support or managing correspondence. If necessary you can invest in short courses to gain additional qualifications that increase your appeal as a worthy candidate.
Understand what you bring to your executive
What are your strengths as an executive assistant? This is a common executive assistant interview question, so it pays to be prepared to provide a compelling answer. Whether your particular strength is supporting your executive’s KPIs, stakeholder management, diary management or a combination of other skills, be prepared to articulate in detail how you make the day-to-day life of your executive smoother. It’s about putting your best foot forward in interviews so that you have the chance to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process.
At this point you can also consider the type of executive you’d like to work for. Someone dynamic and inspiring, or someone calm and controlled? The relationship between executives and assistants is unlike any other in an organisation so the kinds of personalities of both are important in establishing a strong working connection. If you’ve carefully considered the kind of executive you’re best able to support, you increase your chances of thriving in your new role.
Prepare your CV and cover letters
If you’ve been in your current executive assistant position for a while you may need to update your CV and cover letters. The key to a successful CV and cover letter is understanding the requirements that employers are seeking. So it’s worthwhile to peruse executive assistant position advertisements to understand how your skills align with the roles being advertised. Then, it’s simply a matter of ensuring that your CV highlights your particular skills and experience and presents you as a desirable candidate for vacancies. It may be worth investing in a professional CV writer to create a compelling, visually appealing CV. Freelance CV writers will be able to give you that extra polish to help your application stand out in a crowd, so it is often a worthwhile and wise investment.
It takes time and strategy
2022 is an ideal time to change careers as there is strong demand from employers for quality executive assistants. Salaries are rising, so making a career change can help you secure fair remuneration for your unique skills and experience. However if you are considering changing positions as an executive assistant you want to make sure you maximise your chances of success. So carefully considering your skills, your ideal role and employer, and making the effort to prepare your CV and understand what employers are looking for will help you achieve your goals. The best part about potentially making a change is that you can simply have a discussion with recruiters, find out what employers are looking for and let them know what you’d like as well. When recruiters understand what you offer as an executive assistant they’re in a good position to offer you the ideal role that will keep you satisfied and fulfilled for years to come.
Are you an EA considering changing careers?
Contact Anastasia for an obligation-free discussion on 0421 16 55 96. We can discuss your career goals and get a clearer picture on the right kind of executive assistant position for you.