As a career-minded assistant, it’s easy to get to a place where you wonder, “Where do I go from here?”
Advancing as an assistant can take many different forms. For some, it involves climbing to the next level, becoming a “senior” support staff member or an administrative manager. For others, it means moving into a support position for a higher-level executive, assisting a CEO or CFO for example.
Regardless of what path you’re on, if you’re interested in moving up the ladder as an assistant, there are several strategies to better position yourself for success. These tips will help demonstrate your higher-level abilities and support your bid for promotion when the time comes.
Master the Fundamentals
As Joan says, “You have to master the fundamentals!” You can’t expect to move up if you aren’t already fully and completely (even exceptionally) competent with the basic duties and responsibilities of the role. If you’re still struggling with time management, organization, professional presence, and communication, focus on amplifying your skills in these key areas.
There’s no substitution for mastery. Proficiency isn’t enough. Become an expert in everything you do.
Take the Lead & Self-Manage
Demonstrate your ability to take charge, influence others, and see a project through from beginning to end. These kinds of leadership skills are only gained through practice and yet, they’re essential for advancement.
Show that you know how to collaborate and rally a group around a common goal. Prove that you can manage many moving parts with high-pressure stakes and deadlines and without a lot of supervision. The more you can self-manage and work independently, the more valuable you become to your executive(s) and the organization.
Become an advocate for yourself! Promote your accomplishments in a way that is honest and confident, without going overboard. Cite specific achievements and the impact they had on the organization. The more you speak about facts and results, the easier it is. You’re not “self-promoting;” you’re simply sharing information.
Remember that people are busy, and they often don’t know the great things you do each day. You have to bring those things to light. Don’t hide in the shadows and hope that someone notices all you do.
As you grow in your own role, help others to do the same. Don’t hoard your knowledge. Share it with others, especially those who are struggling. Mentoring shows you are team-oriented and not afraid of helping other people shine. You’ll establish a reputation for being a go-to resource—and you’ll probably gain all kinds of new insights along the way.
Ultimately, all of these strategies will show that you are at the top of your field right now, and that you can leverage your skills to support the entire team’s success. That’s exactly what managers are looking for when they promote employees.
Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach and corporate trainer who believes that work can be a nourishing, enriching part of the life experience. Her website, EatYourCareer.com, is devoted to that mission. You’re invited to join the FREE Eat Your Career Resource Library where you’ll gain immediate access to dozens of tools to advance your professional skills and achieve career fulfillment.
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