Day Seven: 12 Days of Real Careers

This  #12DaysOfAdminProfessionals celebration of peers you respect continues to grow.

Alongside those celebrations, here on Day Seven, I’m bringing you excerpts from some more of my Real Careers interviews. If you’re ready for some inspiring reads, here are  more gifts of experience, highlighting skills and professional approaches that benefit all.

If you’d like to read an individual’s full interview, just click on that person’s name below.

Always have confidence

Bonnie Cookson is from Solihull and lives in London, England.

I asked Bonnie what insights would have been beneficial in the early days of her career. Her comments? ” Always have confidence. Make sure you build a solid relationship with your boss and never be afraid to approach him or her.  You need them as much as they need you.”


Don’t take anything personally

Debs Eden lives is Bristol, England. What does she wish she’d known early in her admin. career? “Don’t take anything personally, and believe that you can achieve anything you set out to do.”

Debs also recommended, “ Learn from more experienced assistants, and never dismiss anyone – we all have knowledge that can be shared. Be a master of all trades; as an assistant, you’ll be asked to do all sorts of things, and you’ll need to be able to turn your hand to any tasks. Be interested in people, and in personal development – never stop learning and growing.”


Learn to say no, and dare to say yes

Maria Gottberg lives in Nynäshamn, a small town south of Stockholm, Sweden.

What pieces of wisdom would have beeen beneficial early in her career? “Learn to say no, and dare to say yes. Don’t let anyone treat you badly – leave!”


No matter how busy you are, it is vitally important to know what is going on in the world

Declan Halton-Woodward lives in London, England. In his interview, Declan described how he invests his commuting time. “I take the train to work, and my door-to-door my commute is about 35 minutes … On the train, I check several news websites including the BBC, Sky News, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Independent. Depending on what sort of news day it is, I don’t get through all of them. I think that, no matter how busy you are, it is vitally important to know what is going on in the world.”

Declan also discussed the importance of getting a handle on your executive’s priorities. “Find out their priorities, in every sense. Ask about the priorities of their business, their role, and which staff members, clients and projects should take priority, etc. I would also recommend talking about what sort of things they expect you to make decisions on, and what you should come to them with.”


Ongoing professional development is critical

Cathy Harris lives in Florida Park, a suburb of Johannesburg in South Africa.

In her interview, Cathy discussed the importance of ongoing professional development. She also shared her thoughts on professional associations: “Belonging to any association provides an opportunity to network knowledge and experiences, learn new things, be kept abreast of everything our profession has to offer”.


Listen to those with experience, make connections, and undertake training

Julia Robertson-Avenell lives in London, England. In her interview, she offered advice for those seeking promotion. “Listen to people who have done the job; how did they get their roles? What training could you commence right away? Begin to make your connections now.”


Now that I am connecting globally with other administrative professionals … social media is making me a better executive assistant

Emily Walker  works in Liverpool, England. In her interview, she described the positive impact social media has had on her career: “Now that I am connecting globally with other administrative professionals, I can honestly say that social media is making me a better executive assistant. I’ve been made aware of training opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have been aware of.”

Emily also discussed the relevance of networks. “I feel these networks have been vital in reassessing my own perceptions of my role and its importance in my organisation. The training provided by some networks has really elevated, motivated and inspired me. I am aware of a lot more training opportunities. Whilst my organisation is brilliant at providing a wide range of in-house training, it is not specifically designed for Executive Assistants – or is very basic, covering topics such as ‘How to take Minutes’. So, it’s been great to be able to access resources and training from experienced trainers who fully understand the role.”

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