When you think of an Executive Assistant, what do you picture? Probably a person sitting behind a desk with a notepad and stapler. Well, things have changed since the “Mad Men” era and that visual isn’t quite as accurate anymore. The role has expanded far beyond administrative duties and now, Executive Assistants even play a role in larger project management and steering the direction of the company.
Not only are the tasks evolving, according to Glassdoor, the average entry-level Executive Assistant salary in the Toronto area is $56,549. And while it’s a little more difficult to get an accurate range for Personal Assistants in Toronto, this is a similar role which is also becoming a more in-demand position with growing responsibility and salary.
So if you’re starting to think a career as an Executive Assistant (EA) or Personal Assistant (PA) is a path you’d like to explore, here’s what you need to know.
The Skills You’ll Need to Be an Executive or Personal Assistant
Organizational, communications, time management, and event planning skills have been pretty standard skills that EA and PAs need in order to get hired. But as the role changes and expands, the skills you’ll need to be an effective EA are growing as well. Here’s what the top employers are looking for:
As EAs and PAs take on more responsibility and participate in strategic project management, they’ll need to be able to take initiative and delegate tasks effectively. Leadership experience will be key in seeking an Executive Assistant or Personal Assistant position.
EAs and PAs often support one or two individuals in a company, but working on larger projects requires them to collaborate with other departments and functions. To get hired, candidates should be able to show employers examples of cross-functional projects they’ve worked on with success.
Advanced computer skills
As technology advances, companies invest in new platforms and tools to help them streamline the business and become more efficient. Many companies are even developing in-house software tools. This requires EAs and PAs to be very well-versed with computers and software and have the ability to learn new systems quickly.
How to Land a Career as an EA
The Executive and Personal Assistant job landscape is competitive. You need to stand out from the rest. In addition to brushing up on the skills mentioned above, use these tips to help you find and get hired for an EA or PA position.
Amp Up Your Social Media Profiles
Recruiters and employers time is valuable. To save time and get a more accurate snapshot of applicants, they often look to LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get more information. So make sure your profiles are professional, complete, match what’s on your resume, and are not private.
If going back to college or university isn’t an option, consider a certificate program. The Advanced Certificate for the Executive Personal Assistant (ACEPA) offers an intensive 5-day program which would look excellent on a resume.
Master Your Email Skills
Your email application is your first and only opportunity to make a positive first impression. Essentially, it’s the ‘make or break’ of your application. Even if you’re communicating with a recruiter, it’s important to be professional and pay attention to the details in the job description. Recruiters are always analyzing candidate’s emails to identify a skills match for their clients (employers).
Look in the Right Places
Not all EA and PA positions are equal. Some will offer a lower salary, some companies may have a poor employee satisfaction rating, and some may undervalue your worth. Find a recruiting company that specializes in Executive and Personal Assistant positions that works with the top employers. That way, when a job is posted, you know it’s a great job.
Ready to consider a career as an Executive or Personal Assistant? Take a look at the latest EA and PA job listings to see more detail into what the career entails.