Life as an executive assistant goes far beyond diary management. Indeed, the term “executive assistant” arose largely in recognition of this. Executive assistants are responsible for everything from managing budgets to supporting decision-making. To get the inside scoop, we spoke to Shelley, an executive assistant who was placed in her current role by our PA recruitment agency.
What does an average work day look like?
In my current role, I support an entire executive board that has four members. There are some quite different personalities amongst the directors, which mean my role is very varied! I have to adapt my approach and sometimes process according to who I’m working for. Due to the nature of the sector, I spend an enormous amount of time organising corporate events. I handle everything from planning to marketing the event and basically project managing it from start to finish.
Which skills are important in your role?
I have to be highly organised as well as ‘customer’ facing because I represent the board in a variety of settings. Utmost professionalism is vital. I also need to be very strong at prioritising, largely because I’m working equally for four different people. I certainly wouldn’t get through a single day without outstanding communication skills—face to face, on the phone, and email.
Why do you enjoy being an executive assistant?
Working for four executives, I love the variety. I also love the sense of satisfaction that not only am I making their lives easier, but I’m also a key person within the business’ success and personality. Having worked here for just over a year now, I love that I can pre-empt what is needed and provide a solution before my executives even know what’s coming!
What advice would you give to someone considering PA jobs in London?
Be realistic about the role. This means understanding that the central theme of all PA jobs in London has to be adaptability. No one can say what each day will bring, but it’ll be your job to face each day with confidence. I’d also say that this is a hard and intense profession. It’s hugely rewarding, but you need to be prepared to be the ‘unsung hero’ who works the magic behind the scenes.
How would you suggest someone finds roles like yours?
Because executive assistant roles are so varied, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re signing up for! This is particularly true when the position has been newly created and you’re not replacing someone who is moving on. Often, the executives themselves aren’t really clear on the role and it’s too broad to just advertise for office support jobs in London and get the right person.
For this reason I suggest using a dedicated PA recruitment agency like Love Success. They can liaise with executives to find out exactly what they need and help ensure that this matches your skills and aptitude before you waste time on applications.
If you’d like to find out more about PA jobs in London and executive assistant roles, get in touch on 020 7870 7177.
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