Happy Administrative Professionals Day! This holiday was created in 1952 initially to encourage more women to become “secretaries,” and wow…how times have changed! Goodbye to the days of the female-only “Secretary”, hello to both men and women pursuing the administrative path and being dubbed as a CEO’s “Secret Weapon.”
Administrative careers can be extremely fulfilling for the long term or can be more of stepping stone and the purpose of this post is to provide high-level insight on the types of administrative careers and what to look for in your job search to find the right match for you.
First, let’s discuss the two different types of admins:
- The Career Administrative Professional: Those who truly love supporting others to make their lives easier, are highly skilled with the details, and are master executers. Career admins want to be at the center of the action and support the most successful people as it’s exciting and rewarding to contribute to the success of the firm by ensuring the key players are set up as best as possible. Core responsibilities include calendar management, travel booking, and expense management. There is also the Admin +role that go beyond the typical duties and encompasses more projects that can vary depending on who the role supports. Examples of projects could be running reports, maintaining a client database, assisting with HR/recruitment, and more. As the name indicates, Career Admins/Admin+ look to continue to advance in their administrative career by either climbing the ladder in terms of who they support or increasing their responsibilities. Some career admins also enjoy the job because their skills are transferrable across firms allowing for flexibility over the course of their career. While some administrative positions can require a 24/7 mentality depending on who the role supports, there are others are offer great work/life balance which can sometimes be a reason people choose this path given their lifestyle.
- Stepping stone admin: Those who see the value in starting in an administrative capacity but are looking to use their skills and learnings to springboard into another department such as HR or operations given the transferable skills. This can be a great path for people who may not know what they want and would like to gain broad exposure to the business world. This can also be a starting point for someone who may know what they want but also understand they need to start in this capacity to learn the business and grow accordingly.
Once you have identified the type of admin you are or think you want to be, screen appropriately to ensure you are going for the right opportunities.
If you are a career admin looking to support a key player for the long term you will want to pay extra attention to the following important aspects of the job:
- The personality of the person you are supporting and if you could see yourself working with them for the long term. Especially at the high level/c-suite, many executives aim to hire someone for the long term and a lot of times if it’s a great relationship, will want to take their admins along with them as they progress in their career. It’s critical to truly feel it’s a match if you are looking for that longevity.
- The expected in-office versus remote hours. Most support roles require 24/7 connectivity especially if the executive is traveling and something goes wrong, the admin is relied upon to execute an immediate solution. However, most positions don’t require being in the office 24/7, but may require being in the office until the executive leaves. It’s important to nail down the hours to ensure it matches up with your lifestyle – these roles come in all shapes and sizes.
- The needs of the specific executive. Each executive has different needs and relies on their admins for different tasks – also some are treated as business partners others are seen as simply handling the administrative work. It’s critical to fully understand what your day to day will consist of – will it be managing multiple calendars? Booking intensive travel plans that require research? Will there be analytical work that requires strong numbers skills? Or will you be assisting with personal work such as booking doctor appointments? During the interview process it’s important to understand how your executive will view you so you can determine if it’s a match.
While all of the above is also important to stepping stone admins, if you are looking to use the admin role to advance your career in another way and are being intentional about it, it’s critical to know if an opportunity will truly allow for growth. There are plenty of instances where companies will say there is room to grow yet they hope their admins will want to stay put. While you need to be conscious of still showing interest and commitment to the role at hand, it’s important to find out the following:
- What is the company’s viewpoint on career growth?
- How have others grown at the firm?
- How long are you looking for someone to stay in this role?
- How is success measured?
The Point: This is just the tip of the iceberg in exploring the administrative career path, but to get started you want to identify the type of admin you are or want to be and ensure you screen each opportunity properly to make the right decision. In my six years of administrative recruiting, I’ve seen too many instances where administrative professionals get into a role where they had not done enough digging on their end and find out that it’s not the role they expected.
To learn more or to find out about relevant opportunities, email me at [email protected] and follow us on LinkedIn to see our latest postings. When working with Landing Point, we will be able to also provide the inside scoop on what type of admin role each position is as well as if there is a growth trajectory.
Here is a sampling of current opportunities we are working on at the moment:
- Executive Assistant to Partners – Hedge Fund
- Executive Assistant to Founder – Startup Private Equity
- Personal Assistant to Founder – Private Equity
- Executive Assistant/Office Manager – Legal Consulting
- Executive Assistant/Roadshow Coordinator – Private Equity Advisory
- Executive Assistant to President – Investment Management
- Executive Assistant to Investor Relations Team – Investment Management
- Executive Assistant/Marketing Coordinator – Investment Management
- Office Assistant – Real Estate Investment
- Floater – Real Estate
- Trading Floor Assistant – Investment Management
- Temp EA to CEO – Investment Management