22 March 2016
As the US job market continues to experience growth, businesses across all industries are adding more and more employees to their ranks. And with companies increasingly hiring people for mid- to senior-level roles, the need to find administrative professionals to support these individuals is becoming more demanding than ever. However, hiring managers aren’t just looking for job seekers who can complete simple tasks like filing or answering phones; they’re looking for people who can assist with a broad spectrum of work. Since hundreds of professionals can apply for any one particular role, it’s important to make sure you stand out. In order to do so, there are several aspects of your professional persona to focus on improving. By adding on these increasingly sought-after, but rare, skill sets, you have a chance of hedging yourself above the rest of the pack. Before you send out applications for your next administrative role, consider your aptitude within the following skill sets: Typing speed Before you go in for an interview, you will want to know your personal words per minute (WPM) count. Typing abilities, and especially your typing speed, are becoming an increasingly sought-after skill among hiring managers looking to employ administrative professionals. While this skill may seem dated, many job seekers don’t realize just how important your WPM still is to employers. If you don’t know your current WPM, consider taking an online test like this one from TypingTest to see where you currently stand as far as typing speed goes. According to Lauren Pearce, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources division, a “solid WPM count is 65 words or more,” so strive to land within that number when you test your speed. If you fall below 65, consider taking some time out of your day to focus on typing speed and accuracy. You may find it frustrating at first, but you’ll thank yourself later when you find yourself being asked to take a typing test before or during an interview! More advanced Microsoft Office proficiency Similar to WPM, your level of ability in Microsoft Office programs, especially Excel and PowerPoint, is becoming more desirable in the eyes of a hiring manager. During the interview process, you can impress a hiring manager by demonstrating more advanced capabilities in both programs. “Assistants who possess intermediate-level skills in Microsoft Excel, such as the ability to create or utilize Pivot Tables and V-Lookups, can be of major assistance to the executive they support,” says Lauren. “Therefore, taking the time to enroll in an online tutorial can put you a step ahead of your competition.” Also, consider having a PowerPoint Presentation tucked away in your portfolio. Unless you’re a more seasoned professional, try to keep anything you put together in college out of the picture. While it might be impressive, a hiring manager will be more interested in seeing something you created in a professional setting; it gives them a better idea of what you can bring to the company should they choose to hire you. Interpersonal skills More so than in any other profession, your interpersonal skills matter when you work in a support function. If you’re an Administrative or Executive Assistant, you will more than likely serve as the face and voice of your respective company or department, and will be interacting with people internally and externally on a regular basis. Because of this, it’s important to be cognizant of any verbal or physical tics you may currently have, and then think of ways to improve upon them. For example, look out for any filler words such as “um” or “literally.” As an administrative professional, you need to be as polished as possible, and these words can distract the person you are communicating with from your ultimate message. If you’re worried you might have a subconscious verbal habit that could impede your chance of landing a job, ask a friend to practice interviewing you. Have them ask you a set of questions and, instead of focusing on your answers, ask them to focus on how you’re answering them. According to Lauren, a friend can better identify how many times you drop a particular verbal filler or phrase. She also advises asking them if they notice any nervous behaviors you may have, such as running a hand through your hair or clearing your throat. From there, you can work on eradicating these things from your professional persona and mold yourself into someone who can adapt seamlessly into a role.
22 March 2016
When Jennifer moved to the Washington D.C. Metro area after college graduation, she was introduced to the ever-evolving world of technology. Recognizing the growing need for IT professionals, she joined the staffing industry, and 5 years later, she still loves putting people to work! After relocating to the New York City Tri-State area in 2015, Jennifer joined The Execu|Search Group as an Account Executive and quickly moved up the ranks. Today, she is a Director within our Information Technology division, and was happy to share her story: On why she joined The Execu|Search Group… During the interview process, I was instantly drawn to the people! They all truly possessed an entrepreneurial spirit, and I could tell that this mentality is what has driven the company’s success. Not only was I excited to join such an energetic work environment, but also an organization that prioritized quality. It was clear that Execu|Search really takes the time to ensure they are not only placing great candidates for their clients, but hiring the right people for their internal needs. Specifically, I was really impressed to learn that Execu|Search meets with all of their prospective candidates before working with them. This is not something I had done in my past recruiting roles, but now wish I had. It truly makes all the difference, and sets us apart from other firms. On what she loves about working here… That entrepreneurial spirit is at the core of all the things I love about working here. For example, we do not have a metrics-driven environment, which is something I have realized is not necessary if you have the right people in place. The Execu|Search Group facilitates a very team-oriented culture, and we all work hard to motivate each other. It’s easy to be hard on yourself in a commission-based role, so it’s great to know that I have my team close by for support on both my good and bad days. In addition, the trust that leadership places in their reports really allows you to manage and take ownership of your business. They provide you with the foundation and support you need for growth, but don’t hold you back from developing your own approach. They really value and recognize hard work through annual promotions and other incentives, which lights a contagious fire throughout the firm. Everyone is motivated to put their best foot forward, and working in this type of environment is part of what drives me every day. On what she enjoys most about her job… As the Information Technology industry evolves, I enjoy meeting with my clients and learning about these trends through the projects and initiatives that we get to support. As technology continues to influence our lives, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to work with all the people who are making it happen behind the scenes. On what she thinks sets her apart from others in this field… Rather than focus on simply filling a role, I prefer to take a much more consultative approach. Before working on a search, I take the time to learn as much as I can about my clients. Going beyond the job description by inquiring about their culture, employees, and current/future initiatives allows us to identify the best fit for their team. As IT trends continue to evolve, I also believe it’s important to educate our clients on market trends and what we’re seeing in the industry. Doing so helps us establish expectations, match salary requirements to skillsets, and provide an honest timeline. Through these two strategies and my passion for this career, I’ve built really strong relationships with clients and colleagues. I’m looking forward to many more years with my amazing team at The Execu|Search Group!