Finding an Executive Assistant Position in today's tough job market

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Linda in Aurora, Colorado

67 months ago

Hello! My job as an Executive Assistant is being eliminated March 31. I've been looking for a similary position for the last three months. I have the assistance of my former boss (who retired) and a few other executives that I support. I'm out of steam and ideas. How do I get my resume noticed out of the hundred that are being sent for one position? Any and all suggestions are truly welcome.

Thank you.
Linda

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Mary in Tampa, Florida

67 months ago

Welcome aboard. We will try to keep you entertained, adviced, and give you compassion. But life sucks. You might want to go over to the legal assistant forums for moral support.

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annie451 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

67 months ago

Linda in Aurora, Colorado said: Hello! My job as an Executive Assistant is being eliminated March 31. I've been looking for a similary position for the last three months. I have the assistance of my former boss (who retired) and a few other executives that I support. I'm out of steam and ideas. How do I get my resume noticed out of the hundred that are being sent for one position? Any and all suggestions are truly welcome.

Thank you.
Linda

I am in the same boat as you are. I come off role from my EA position on April 2 and have been sending out resumes everywhere. I discovered something recently and that is that companies are looking for EA's with Bachelor's degrees and EAs that have killer ppt and excel skills. I only have an Associate's degree (in Business Management) but I'm finding out that EA positions are no longer process oriented positions; they are positions that require a whole lot of substance i.e., developing ppt presentations, gathering data for excel pivot tables, etc. and that is not the type of EA position I have ever held. I'm finding that you need to know Office 07 which I do not have yet and you need to be able to do a whole lot more today than just book meetings, organize his/her calendar and make travel arrangements. Let me know what you are seeing in the marketplace. Good luck in your job search.

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MariaElena in Port Chester, New York

66 months ago

Hi Linda,
The responses you have received are certainly true. EA's are no longer viewed as "assistants" but more the "right hand" of the senior executive being supported. You have to be able to be a successful multitasker and keep a very professional demeanor as you perform a million things at once.
I have killer computer skills and a long work history, but because I don't have that 4-year degree I feel I'm being shut out. I've been unemployed since November'08 and all I can say is I've never had such a hard time finding a new job. If you post your resume in the various job boards/ company websites you will see how important computer skills have become. (CareerBuilder offers a place where you can send in your resume and request a critique for free. Try that. That should help you focus on your "most important marketing piece".

The next most important tool is networking with your professional contacts. Good Luck!!

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sherrelldennard@yahoo.com in Detroit, Michigan

65 months ago

In my opinion it is about 'who you know' versus skills in today's market. Networking skills are required. I appreciate the input regarding what employers are looking for in a executive assistant posted. So after interviews,please post information regarding interview questions. Would be helpful to present Executive Assistants.

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Sharon in Columbia, Maryland

62 months ago

I have been looking for permanent employment since May 08. I moved to a more populated area thinking the job market would be better. So far I am registered with 5 temp agencies and have had no work. I've gone through my 401K, my roth account, and the last of my unemployment is next week. I am a skilled and dedicated Executive Assistant, with a BA in Business Administration, and my CAP certification. I have great references. I've redone my resume every which way but sideways, and am confident that it is right on. The problem is that prior to working for my last company for 4 years, I was a real job hopper. I was in the hospitality field and you change jobs in that industry about every two years if you want to get ahead. Having enough of that, I switched careers and started doing clerical work. I loved it, and found my last position rewarding & challenging, and I would have stayed there had the economy not already been showing signs of this downturn, my position was eliminated. Anyway, during my time off I have upgraded my skills even more, I dress for work everyday, and spend at least 5 hours per day on the computor learning new tips and tricks, exploring job boards, writing letters. I am confident that I am headed in the right direction, and I cannot let fear overtake me. It is very difficult, but I I have no other choice but to be positive. Even though I am making plans to possibly auction off my stuff and move in with a friend, (I am 56 years old) my journey will pay off. I just continue to believe that whoever hires me, will have the most dedicated EA they have ever had. In the meantime I hope to take a part time job at the local community college in the media tech department, that way I can keep learning current trends, stay in contact with people, and who knows maybe something will pan out.

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

62 months ago

I have been interviewing but have yet to get any offers. Every interview I go on they respond that I am everything they are looking for, but something goes wrong somewhere and I don't get the offer. I am convinced more than ever that it is because of my age--I am 51. It is very discouraging to say the least. I can dumb down my resume, I can alter my responses to interview questions as needed but the one thing I cannot do is fake my age. I am a well-dressed, in shape, healthy 51 year old, however, people tell me I don't look "old". This week has been extremely upsetting as the last job I interviewed for, and one that I really wanted, did not pan out--again! I think I'm just going to resolve myself to the fact that I am retired and get a job at Walmart as they are the one place that hire old folks!

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Sharon in Columbia, Maryland

62 months ago

I know it is frustrating and you just want to resign yourself to a less than perfect next 30 years, but somehow you have to pull yourself up and keep trying. I think sometimes that what separates us from the other candidates is not our age, but our attitude. We have learned so much about life and work at our age, that we know what we don't want to put up with anymore. I sometimes think interviewers can sense that. While I can't fake my way to being 30 again, I can approach my interviews with a younger mindset. I know that anything I pull off in the interview I would have to maintain in the job, so I try not to go too far from how I usually present myself. Again, as an Exec Admin, Exec's aren't looking for the young and robust, they are looking for maturity of thought, but also a demonstrated ability to keep on learning, and knowledge of current trends in technology and business. They are looking for someone who can really help them, yet remain in the background. It is more difficult at our age to convey that we still have drive, yet are content with EA work. They are still asking me what I want to do 10 years from now. When I'm 66, I still want to be considered a viable part of the business, not some one who is heading to retire. I have found that registering with temp agencies is great practice to come up with different ways of communicating your skills, and projection of self. One caveat is that you may never hear from them again. Their goal in this recession is to find businesses who might need their help in the future, and bring in candidates to meet their recruiting quota. None the less, I have gotten more interviews through temp agencies than I have been able to secure on my own. Dont' give up, know what you have to offer, and package yourself as a winner, a doer, and a problem solver. When we finally get our dream job, we will have solved a huge problem right there!

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

62 months ago

I think the key is to present yourself as a true professional; that you are reliable and not the stereotypical flakey 20-something year old (not that ALl 20 somethings are flakey).

I wonder if you aren't coming across as confident? Since you are feeling that it's your "age," maybe that's something in your head only.... just something to think about.... I don't think age is as important as attitude and energy projected.

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

62 months ago

I have a 4 year degree but I honestly think it's silly to "require" one for administrative or even EA positions. A bachelor's degree does not mean someone is better at administrative work! I've met plenty of more than highly qualified women who are also very polished without a degree at all!

I think some employers say they "require" it because "they can." The market allows for it....

There are a lot of women particularly with 4 year degrees that end up doing administrative because we are so great with multi-tasking and organization naturally.... so we gravitate to that... but I don't think as a rule, administrative is the best or easiest route if you want advancement. Advancement within organizations often begins with some kind of sales position -- often -- not always.

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

62 months ago

annie451 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania said: I am in the same boat as you are. I come off role from my EA position on April 2 and have been sending out resumes everywhere. I discovered something recently and that is that companies are looking for EA's with Bachelor's degrees and EAs that have killer ppt and excel skills. I only have an Associate's degree (in Business Management) but I'm finding out that EA positions are no longer process oriented positions; they are positions that require a whole lot of substance i.e., developing ppt presentations, gathering data for excel pivot tables, etc. and that is not the type of EA position I have ever held. **********

Definitely true that executives want outstanding computer skills -- mainly because they don't want to do it and don't have the time.

In an employer market like it is now, it's always something. I was told that my chances of getting an administrative job are nill unless I seriously "dumb down" my resume to emphasize the purely clerical/admin. duties.... On one hand, I understand they don't want to hire someone who will get bored quickly; on the other hand, why don't they let the candidate decide if he/she's happy? If it's a decent environment with decent pay and nice people, I'm happy!

It's a crazy job market out there....

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Heather in Saint Louis, Missouri

61 months ago

annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania said: I have been interviewing but have yet to get any offers. Every interview I go on they respond that I am everything they are looking for, but something goes wrong somewhere and I don't get the offer. I am convinced more than ever that it is because of my age--I am 51. It is very discouraging to say the least. I can dumb down my resume, I can alter my responses to interview questions as needed but the one thing I cannot do is fake my age. I am a well-dressed, in shape, healthy 51 year old, however, people tell me I don't look "old". This week has been extremely upsetting as the last job I interviewed for, and one that I really wanted, did not pan out--again! I think I'm just going to resolve myself to the fact that I am retired and get a job at Walmart as they are the one place that hire old folks!

I just wanted to say keep your head up high. Thats what others are telling me during my struggle in finding a job. i have received my associates in business 1 year ago and have yet to find a job in the field. I attended Sanford Brown College and one of their big things are "helping graduates find a job" well if you call e mailing ads off craigs list help then forget it!! I can do that myself.. i have had several interviews and many times they went great! I thought FOR sure i had the job but they went a diffrent direction... I am starting to think it is because i am only 23! I'm in the same boat you are. Unfortunally it is just very tough out there right now.good luck on your job search. im also starting think that it really does matter who you know within the company..

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

61 months ago

A basic Bachelor's Degree (Business Administration) teaches you how to think, analyze situations throughly, come up with solutions.

When someone says, "I have a Bachelor's Degree, so I should (have more job opportunities, etc), that is why she/he is saying that.

UNFORTUNATELY, almost everybody without a Bachelor's Degree literally attacks the person with the Degree for (if boasting) is a good word. I've lost count of the people/friends/workers who have have snide comments that I thought I was better than them, act like I'm better than them, etc. simply because I have a Bachelor's Degree. Funny, the only time I ever mention having a Bachelor's is when it's a work-related, or climbing the ladder issue.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

61 months ago

the word is thoroughly (or whatever)

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Anne in Littleton, Colorado

61 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: A basic Bachelor's Degree (Business Administration) teaches you how to think, analyze situations throughly, come up with solutions.

When someone says, "I have a Bachelor's Degree, so I should (have more job opportunities, etc), that is why she/he is saying that.

UNFORTUNATELY, almost everybody without a Bachelor's Degree literally attacks the person with the Degree for (if boasting) is a good word. I've lost count of the people/friends/workers who have have snide comments that I thought I was better than them, act like I'm better than them, etc. simply because I have a Bachelor's Degree. Funny, the only time I ever mention having a Bachelor's is when it's a work-related, or climbing the ladder issue.


*************
Employers are ONLY asking for a 4 year degree now BECAUSE THEY CAN.

There are enough qualified people with degrees that they can pick and choose.

If someone, however, has a great resume (longevity, technical skills, consistency), I am not sure all employers simply overlook them. Larger corporations might, only because it makes finding candidates EASIER.

Truly, that is how HR people do it. They are looking for REASONS to disqualify people, rather than reasons to qualify them. Makes their jobs easier when there are only 40 resumes to go through instead of 400~!

I would suggest applying at all size companies. Smaller co's generally don't care.... generally..... and make sure you emphasize your technical skills!!!

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ISchu in Marietta, Georgia

61 months ago

I am an Executive Assistant in search of my next job opportunity. We all seem to agree that the competition is fierce. If you are still out there searching, take the time to brush up on your PowerPoint and Excel skills. Make yourself the candidate everyone wants to hire! Never enter that interview thinking you are not as good as the next. If you were not good enough, they would not have brought you in for the interview!!

A good friend of mine recently said, "None of the things that have happened or are happening to you reflect who you are as a person. Remain true to you. Feel sorry for yourself today. Tomorrow is a different day."

My 20+ years experience as an Executive Assistant have been positive and rewarding and I'm looking forward to another 20 years! I'm just anxious to find that next opportunity!!

Chin up everyone! A little faith in you and the future of our support roles goes along way!!

Thanks for listening.

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Anne in Denver, Colorado

61 months ago

The more doubts you have in your own mind will reflect and come out in an interview.

You don't have to "apologize" that you don't have a degree -- or whatever it is. The biggest thing that I think is confidence and the ability and willingness to learn new skills.

Employers want the "perfect" candidate and they can find someone who has the "perfect" skill set; only to find that their personalities don't mesh and they are looking again!

Tell them you ARE the perfect candidate -- that you CAN learn a new skill as you have proven that already and give examples.

If you can brush up on skills somehow DO IT!!!

Stop criticizing and doubting yourself so much!

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Executive Assistant in Saint Louis, Missouri

59 months ago

I have read all the above blogs, and it is very discouraging. I have interviewed several time to only find out that the company is either not in a hurry to hire or are looking and looking for the perfect candidate. Which seems great, while I am on the hook wondering what is going on. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I have applied and had several interview with Recruiter and without on my own and to be one of two candidates is disheartening. I feel like the ole saying, always a bridesmaid never a bride.

I am keeping my chin up and striving for the opportunity to arise. I was laid off early summer of 2009 and to read all of these stories worries me. I know I shouldn't blame anyone for my downsizing. But in all my life I have never had this much of a problem finding a job. I am not at all a job hopper, but darn it. This sucks.

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Sharon in Columbia, Maryland

59 months ago

BE of good faith. Yes, I know what you mean about the dangling carrot, just to be left in the dark. I have found most temp agencies forget about you pretty quickly, in these times it's all about the recruiting. HOWEVER, I just came off a 6 week stint at an elementary school, and absolutely loved it. I wouldn't normally have applied for that position, but because it was employment and temporary... I took it and was greatly surprised. I went in each day, as if that job was the most important thing to me. When it went to perm, I didn't get the job, but I was determined to have a good attitude about it. Because of that, I was referred to another position, and it is my dream job. surprises happen when you keep up a good heart, and it makes the down times easier to handle. Because there is so little we can do about getting hired, when all the skills, and talents are there, I have found that feeling confident that things will work out, ( my unemployment ran out, two days later I got the temp assignment) The temp assignment finished, and three days later I was interviewed for this perfect job. Having that faith, and placing your trust in HIM, truly and completely, will make your way easier through the ups and the downs. The alternative is to be miserable, feel defeated, and useless. I always have a happy attitude, even when I'm was turned down. It got me through. I know its tough, but if all else fails, step back and look for the best Sr. Admin job, instead of the Exec Asst job. CEO's are a funny lot, and truthfully, very difficult. I know you need a job, but ask yourself if working for an ungrateful, uncommunicative exec is really what you want.. Try finding a position with less of a title, and more of a connection to the person you would be working with. It takes adjustment, but it might make a difference. paying the bills is important, not being miserable is just as important.

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Barbara H. in Corte Madera, California

56 months ago

As a very attractive female who seeking my third position as an “Executive Assistant” I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I have all the training and work experiences and bring a high level of skills to the position, my employers give me the highest marks.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

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Nancy in Astoria, New York

56 months ago

Barbara H. in Corte Madera, California said: As a very attractive female who seeking my third position as an “Executive Assistant” I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I have all the training and work experiences and bring a high level of skills to the position, my employers give me the highest marks.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

Barbara, I would just keep what you are doing! Kill them with your kindness as they say! You can't cure peoples issues, but you can continue being nice to them until they give up and with time warm up to you. Eventually, it will happen with time.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

56 months ago

I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

They loathe you because you are competition - simple as that. Do not go out of your way to help others. Next think you know, you are doing THEIR WORK, and they are on the Internet, and they are getting good reviews and raises based on YOUR WORK.

Be pleasant. Keep your mouth shut. Don't hear anything. Don't say anything. Just be pleasant and smile - and do your own job (not theirs).

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Keisean Raines in Long Beach, California

56 months ago

Linda,

I am finding myself in a similar position. My background is very industry specific in both Legal and Entertainment. Finding a position that is equivalent to my previous one has proposed a challenge. However, be diligent in your search and be sure to include any management related tasks you have performed in your last role. Also it is important to show any coaching or training you have have administered as well. Those are leadership qualities that employers look for.

Keep at it. Something will come soon.

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Keisean Raines in Long Beach, California

56 months ago

Remember that an interview is BILATERAL. Its an opportunity for you to interview the company to be sure it is the right fit for your needs as well. Although we all may be very eager to start working immediately and that can be communicated as desperation which will be visible in the interview. You want to be sure that you are going to be happy and have longevity with the company you're considering.

Not having a degree is something that the interviewer is already aware of (unless you fabricated a degree on your resume') so there is no need to make mention of it again. Keep in mind that work experience is equally as relevant as a degree and in some cases MORE.

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Liza in Garfield, New Jersey

56 months ago

annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania said: I have been interviewing but have yet to get any offers. Every interview I go on they respond that I am everything they are looking for, but something goes wrong somewhere and I don't get the offer. I am convinced more than ever that it is because of my age--I am 51. It is very discouraging to say the least. I can dumb down my resume, I can alter my responses to interview questions as needed but the one thing I cannot do is fake my age. I am a well-dressed, in shape, healthy 51 year old, however, people tell me I don't look "old". This week has been extremely upsetting as the last job I interviewed for, and one that I really wanted, did not pan out--again! I think I'm just going to resolve myself to the fact that I am retired and get a job at Walmart as they are the one place that hire old folks!

Just to ease your suspiscions I wanted to tell you that I am 31 years old and have been unemployed for 6 months. I have a college degree, my resume attracts plenty of employers and interviews - they all say positive things about me but they don't back it up with a job offer.

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

I wrote this comment nearly a year ago. Now that almost a year has past and I am still unemployed, I am at a loss as to what to do next. I am still optimistic I will land somewhere, but this whole job search process has been less than encouraging. I am actually getting to the point of freezing up when I go on an interview because I don't know what I said or didn't say that caused me to not get the last job. There is no feedback. Actually what I would love to do is call the company that rejected me and talk with the individual who did get the job to see what she has that I don't. At least I would know what area(s) I was weak in. I know that is silly or at least unprofessional but it is really tempting. Some one got the job so at least I would see what I was competing against!

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Sharon in Columbia, Maryland

56 months ago

I'm afraid that ( great interview, then nothing) is the way of it these days. My friends in HR say, that most of them are so taxed, as their companies have had lay off's etc, that they don't have time to be gentle, and no time to make follow-up calls, much less give pointers on what went wrong. I have been sent on several temp to hire positions, and haven't gotten the job. I've asked my "recruiter" and she assures me that I'm not doing anything wrong, but usually they find someone on their own that has industry specific skills, or a more solid work history. What I am seeing is more shorter term positions opening up. This morning I actually turned one down! ( Too far for too little) but I do see a little gleam of hope on the horizon. Don't let people or companies you don't know, make you feel like your old and forgotten... just keep up with your skills, go to Microsoft and review any new software, take tutorials etc. I'm thinking about getting a part-time job at best buy, just so I can learn all about the new gadgets and be knowleable. I am seeing more "mataure" people in cashier positions at places like "Target", when I speak with them, they all sigh, and say, it's just to tide them over till the job market breaks. It is disheartening, but we must be of good faith, and believe in ourselves, and our future. I refuse to be a forgotten statistic, and grow old into poverty. Stay positive, and just know that it isn't so much your age, as it might be they are looking for the "best" fit, and now they can pick and choose from more than a handful of "best candidates" whereas before there weren't so many. Your best bet at this time in the market, is to get registered with a temp agency, and take anything that comes up, this allows you to get connected, and impress more people with your skills, which comes in handy for networking and referrals.

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

56 months ago

I have a meeting with a temp agency this week. Actually I got my last job by starting with a temp agency and then that temp assignment turned into a permanent offer--but that was back in the mid-90's. Things have changed considerably since then. I truly do believe in temp agencies and I am hopeful I can be an asset to them. I will be taking skills assessments this week so that will enlighten me on what skills I need updating on.

I took my daughter's college Business Info Systems book which covers Microsoft 07 Word, Access, Powerpoint and Excel and did every exercise in the book in order to update my skills. That took some time but time is the one thing I have a lot of.

I am optimistic that things will turn around eventually. Right now, although my unemployment is running out, I am trying not to panic and am trying to enjoy every day becaus hopefully, this will be the last long "vacation" I will have until I retire!

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ilc in Toronto, Ontario

53 months ago

Some great feedback here, so I can't give you any suggestions as they've been stated here already. Just wanted to say that my position will be eliminated soon as well. I posted my story here called "does your title matter?"

I also find it disappointing that most EA jobs require a university degree. If I had one, I truly would not be working or want to work as an EA (just my opinion).

I hope you find a wonderful opportunity ... there are a lot of great tips here!

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dfisher9591@yahoo.com in Kansas City, Missouri

52 months ago

Linda in Aurora, Colorado said: Hello! My job as an Executive Assistant is being eliminated March 31. I've been looking for a similary position for the last three months. I have the assistance of my former boss (who retired) and a few other executives that I support. I'm out of steam and ideas. How do I get my resume noticed out of the hundred that are being sent for one position? Any and all suggestions are truly welcome.

Thank you.
Linda

Dear Linda:

As an executive assistant, you should know how to type. The use of misspelled words is unsatisfactory in today's market.

List your resume on as many search engines as possible.

Monster, Indeed, Stivers, Career Builders, Net Temps, GPC, etc. The more search engines you use for employment will guarantee you employment with a new future.

dfisher

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cdg127@hotmail.com in Toronto, Ontario

52 months ago

I am in the job market in Toronto and in the Job Search as well for an Executive Assistant position. I was most interested in all of the above comments and would like to get regular updates on this.

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Rona in Macungie, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

Barbara H. in Corte Madera, California said: As a very attractive female who seeking my third position as an “Executive Assistant” I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I have all the training and work experiences and bring a high level of skills to the position, my employers give me the highest marks.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

Your 1st statement defines you -- stop being concerned with your looks, concentrate on others, dress professionally, not sexy and I am sure you can turn yourself around so others like you. If sexy is on your mind all the time consider another profession. The office needs team work atmosphere, not someone who is trying to get ahead through their looks!

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

Dear Rona of Macungie, PA

You and I are neighbors. I live in Hellertown, outside of Bethlehem. I would love to hear about your circumstances and how your job search in the Lehigh Valley is panning out.

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AGLo in Toronto, Ontario

51 months ago

I sure wish I found out about this blog the last time I was looking for an EA job. I first want to say a big thanks to all who commented above.

To my fellow EAs, I'd love to know what are the challenges you're facing in getting an EA or other admin prof job? I'm currently looking again and would love to hear from you guys. For me it was trying to figure out & decide what kind of EA I was and what I had to offer then figure out how to market myself.

thanks,
AGLo

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

51 months ago

I am glad you find this discussion useful. Usually I am not a negative person but there are some things I am seeing that I was hoping I would never see in a job search. I, myself, am over 50 and that seems to be a huge barrier in finding new employment. I have over 25 years as a secretary/administrative assistant/executive admin but I really believe my age is the big barrier. I have an associate's degree in business management and I have my certified professional secretary certification but non of that seems to make any difference. It seems like employers want an executive admin that can do all the standard admin work and they want someone who can do market research, pull data together and develop management presentations. That to me does not really fit into the "support" role which is the type of executive admin I have been my entire career. The executive vice presidents I supported had vice presidents and directors who prepared the presentations and did the market research that was needed. It was my job to ensure the presentations were formatted correctly, etc. The main crux of my job was to keep my manager moving forward and to know what he/she needed before he/she knew they needed it! I have been tempted many times to walk into the company I interviewed with and speak directly to the individual who got the job I wanted--not to be mean, but to find out what she has that I don't because right now I am at a loss as to how to market myself. Let me now what you are seeing out there. I look forward to your response.

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AGLo in Toronto, Ontario

51 months ago

Hi Annie, you've got loads of experience and talent. Sounds like it's time to turn that into one hell of a marketing machine :-)and use your age as as an advantage vs. disadvantage. More about that later. You're absolutely right that our roles have changed over the years. But I think the change is for good. Oh btw I'm 43 but thanks to my mom's genes I look like 33. Yeah that's right 33. Some people even think I look younger. But i think they're nuts LOL. I just left an EA job with a consulting firm because I just couldn't stand the actual job. I really liked the people but all they wanted me to do was edit letters & docs, collate mtg packages and get this photocopy stuff :-) yep that's right photo copy. I supported the CEO & CFO. I knew my skills and talents were best used somewhere else. I really enjoyed all the projects & analytical work I did in my previous EA positions.

Why not market your skills & talents into a new business oppty. If employers are hiring youger people then turn that into an oppty and start a consulting business training them. Maybe you can work with the agencies in your area and put together a specific training program for EAs & Admins. Or you can even put together a program at your local college. It's time to think creatively about for yourself now vs the execs you once supported. You can do it Annie.

I'm finding that employers want you to have project experience along with solid powerpoint, word & excel. I noticed there's a lot of agencies out there who advertise a lot of EA/Admin positions but when you go for an interview and do all those tests I realized there really isn't any positions out there to interview for. I got to a point where I started ignoring ads by agencies. Yeah I know it was risky but I thought my time was better used for networking and focusing on jobs advertised by companies.

Ciao for Now

AGLo

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

51 months ago

I completely understand what you mean by marketing myself as the mature EA and that is how I have been approaching my job search and have the opportunity to discuss my background--however, thus far it is not doing much good. I will continue on until someone truly appreciates someone with my background and skills.

As for the temp agency route--been there. When I met with a recruiter and completed the testing, with test scores in the 90's, she told me she wished news reports would stop telling people to go with a temp agency because they have absolutely nothing to offer either. They are just as anxious for things to turn around but they have to wait it out just like all the rest.

These are really tough times.

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AGLo in Toronto, Ontario

50 months ago

Hi Annie, are you still out there? LOL How's it going for you? I'd love to hear what you're working on right now and would like to help. Hey I'm going to start a new discussion on Challenges That Mature EAs are Facing Right now. I haven't gotten a job yet but it's because I'm staling :-) I'm enjoying chatting with people and considering sharing my step by step system that I used to get my last job within 6 weeks. Yeah that's right 6 weeks and I had 2 offers. Hee hee heee. Let me know what's up with you and some of the techniques your using. I basically thought of myself as a product and thought of how I can market myself to get my next job. Oh an I used a lot of networking too.

Chow for Now

AGLo

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dfisher9591@yahoo.com in Kansas City, Missouri

50 months ago

I signed on to one of these chat lines about two months ago. I still hear the same things from different assistants.

All of you need to go back to school and at least receive certificates in Web Site Development and Design, Microsoft Certified Certificate, includes every task possible wiht Microsoft software, Media Concepts and Design Certificate, Database Design, Marketing and Development, etc. None of you are qualified to do what is needed to be done today by an executive assistant.

There are convention halls to be booked, local designers, stagehands, newpapers, publicists, program directors, that need to be contacted and organized to have a function.

All you do, is type a letter and make a reservation. Please, get with the program.

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annie451 in Allentown, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

Yes I'm still here. Still unemployed however I am changing direction. I plan on going back to school to get my BS. Maybe it will help, maybe it won't but it's better than sitting around apply for job after job after job with no luck. The competition is still fierce but one bit of good news came from an interview I had where they actually said that they were looking for someone with the right maturity level for the open position they were interviewing for. I have not heard yet as to whether or not I got the position but in case this one falls through I am going back to school the end of august. I will look for other chat threads on this subject. It will be interesting to see how others are coping. Whatever you do, do not pay any attention to the jerk from Kansas City, MO with the e-mail address: dfisher9591@yahoo. That individual is really out of touch!

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AGLo in Toronto, Ontario

50 months ago

LOL oh yeah I laughed at that response.

Nice to see your still hanging in there. Wow your going back to school. That's excellent. This will open up even more opportunities for you. Not to mention give you a renewed sense of direction and plan for your career.

I'm also considering changing direction. I'm currently working with a friend to help her get a job using my marketing plan. I have to tell ya it feels great to help in this way. I think I found my calling :-) in helping others to achieve the best they can. My friend wants to continue her career in the art/theatre field but is tired of the short term contract work. I'm helping her develop her marketing plan to get a management job within the industry.

Let me know if you want a fresh set if eyes to go over your resume and chat about your job search plans. Feel free to email me newbia99@yahoo.ca. Good luck with that company you just interviewed with. Hey I forgot to mention I googled mature EA and loads of job postings came up. So yeah they're out there. All the best. AGLo

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cobi in Yonkers, New York

49 months ago

Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida said: I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

They loathe you because you are competition - simple as that. Do not go out of your way to help others. Next think you know, you are doing THEIR WORK, and they are on the Internet, and they are getting good reviews and raises based on YOUR WORK.

Be pleasant. Keep your mouth shut. Don't hear anything. Don't say anything. Just be pleasant and smile - and do your own job (not theirs).

Too true, I am usually the most knowledgeable person in the room when it comes to computers. When others would struggle and struggle I would help them out of their difficulties. Then what happens? They get all the credit for being some sort of a genius innovator and I am passed over for the promotion. Most bosses are not paying attention. I will never help anyone ever EVER again.

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AtlantaAdmin in Seattle, Washington

48 months ago

I currently work as an EA/Admin in Atlanta. I have friends who are seasoned ADMINS and I can say that a few of the comments that touched on the computer skills are right on the money. I just want to add a few thoughts.

I don't have a BA, but an AS in Bus Management and I've been here 2 years.
I competed with some very good admins with BA's including internal ones, and the only difference was, I was a little more cross functional on some levels with what I could bring to the table. Brush up on the PP and excel, but become an Outlook PRO, and learn newer programs. MS Project, PeopleSoft, etc.

It's not so much about pivot tables, as it is learning how to manage information, because in a sense, most of our jobs are about managing information and performing a wide range of tasks from calendar management, multi-exec management, handling discretionary information among multi-tiered levels of executives, down to basic meeting planning 101. Tailor your resume toward your successes and cross-functions as an admin. Believe me, it helps.

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Tess

43 months ago

I agree with so much that is on here, if you get downsized and you are late 40's and up, getting back to work is brutal. I have watched my fellow coworkers who are younger but didn't have the work ethic or work history I have get offers and are back to work. I have tried EVERYTHING I know to do, in all kinds of industries to get on somewhere. I have a degree, doesn't seem to matter, I have oodles of experience, won awards, didn't matter. I have the can do, upbeat attitude, hasn't helped. I am on the verge of being out of unemployment and it is SCARY. I have volunteered, tried to acquire new skills and still it is rough for those of us in advanced years. I don't look my age, but the online process screens you out by age. Temp agencies I have found don't have anything, or they won't even consider you for opportunities if you are older than they are, which of course is comical. HR people are younger and younger, I couldn't even get my foot in the door to HR back when I was just out of college, now it is all I see in those positions. Times they have changed, and it is hard to find a place if you have been downsized...my last 3 jobs dissolved because of downsizing, not my fault but boy it counts against you as you being unstable in your work history. But it does help to know that others have had the same experiences, when you are in the thick of it, it is easy to start to doubt yourself.

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Haley in Columbia, Maryland

43 months ago

it is hard to keep your chin up, and especially hard to watch every cent you spend, always buying store brand foods(some are equal or better, some are noticeably bad. Not going to the doctor when you need to, or arghh, the dentist. Wondering if there will ever be a break again for you. My faith gets me through, but throughout, I have learned so much about myself. I have realized that I'm not the leader of the pack, I don't like high profile positions, and I don't like a lot of the games successful people have to play. I do like being of service, I love being an admin, organizing, writing, completing projects. When we say we have done all we know how to do, it's time to take such a hard look at ourselves and still feel we have worth. BUT... that is where you pretend that every day is like the first day on the job, you are eager, happy to be employed, and willing to tackle any job they throw your way. I have taken temp jobs in places i would never have considered permanently, but found those jobs to be the most enjoyable. I have gotten to temp to hire positions with CEO's and realized that I don't particulary like working for someone on that level, with that much opinion of themselves. I am now trying for lesser positions because I am happier there, and to make ends meet I have a second partime evening job. I really wish I could make the big money, I have the skills, but I supoose I don't have the sophistication that comes with that. That is the biggest obstacle for me. One more thing I've found, is that my can do attitude, makes people nervous. If something is wrong I want to fix it. But a lot of the places I go into, have worked with whatever is broken for a long time, they don't want you to fix it, because it threatens them, and if the other admins don't like you, the boss won't either. I hate to say this, it goes against every grain of work ethic I have, but it seems just doing what you are told is the way to go, and not to try to proove, or improve anything.

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Fran in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

34 months ago

I have been in and out of work since I graduated with my Business Administration Diploma in 2009. This was an upgrade to my Secretarial Diploma I got in 1986. I am 46 but look like I am in my mid 30's. I have gotten a few casual/temp assignments; but, nothing long term. I am in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where stable employment is hard to find, if not impossible. I have great work experience and terrific references. On Monday, I go to a new temporary assignment. Lately I have been thinking of moving to Toronto. I am wondering what the employment is like for Executive Assistants there now? I am hoping to eventually enter the financial services industry.

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Clay in Calgary, Alberta

32 months ago

Barbara H. in Corte Madera, California said: As a very attractive female who seeking my third position as an “Executive Assistant” I’m finding that other females in the companies loathe me.

I have all the training and work experiences and bring a high level of skills to the position, my employers give me the highest marks.

I’ve bend over backwards to assist everyone in the office and treat all with complete respect, sharing my knowledge with who ever needs or desires my input.

I would like to hear from both male and females as to how to proceed with these existing circumstances.

Confused and disappointed!

I would say that you may have stumbled upon a bad work environment, and need a better one! Id say we hired 43 people last week, with all those people if I or my partner see ugly behavior it's firing time. So just look for a great organization and you'll be part of a better picture!
Look for Clayton Thomas "Vancouver" (in Canada)to find me on face book... Still hiring in other words!

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