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Host

What are the top 3 traits or skills every executive assistant must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your executive assistant expertise?

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Kate in Washington, DC

92 months ago

I would say the first top skill is a strong sense of anticipation of what your executive's needs are and meet them before they even know they need them - sort of like mind reading.

Second would be to minimizing their distractions as much as possible.

And third, would be chemistry.

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Belinda in Norcross, GA in Norcross, Georgia

89 months ago

A great book to help you with this is "Managing Up" by Rosanne Badowski. She was the EA to Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric. I found it very informative and helpful with my two bosses.

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maria in Bucharest, Romania

73 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every executive assistant must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your executive assistant expertise?

communication skills
able to prioritize
computer proficient
languages proficient
inter-personal skills are a must
calm is a must as well

At least the above ...and more to follow...i've been doing this job for almost 7 years and there's always more things to learn ...

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E. Tracy Christian in Baltimore, Maryland

73 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every executive assistant must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your executive assistant expertise?

Master the art of mediation and diplomacy

At times it is important to be an observer and let situationss play themselves out, while at the same time taking mental snapshots and notes.

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Irene in Parlin, New Jersey

73 months ago

Don't panic no matter what.
Have a sense of humor.
Protect your boss from any distractions or upsets.

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dragicaa in Serbia

72 months ago

Good managin
Give the best from yourself
Be an comunnicative person

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nina in New Delhi, India

72 months ago

co managing daily work and projects with your boss
good relationship with other departments (HR and Accounts)
multi tasking while priorotizing work

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Renae in Belpre, Ohio

69 months ago

You must be reliable, self-motivated and very trusting. Your boss must be able to trust you with information. The more he trusts you, the more responsibility he will give you. Also, get everything completed within 24 hours from when the assignment was given, no matter who provides you an assignment. Word gets around to your boss if you delay in completing an assignment.

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jagmoney in Jacksonville, Florida

63 months ago

Hi I am lookin at becoming an executive assistant and I dont really know where to start. Almost all of my work has been blue collar and I would like to try working in an office. I have a high school diploma. I am willing to learn and work as hard as needed just not sure where to start or if someone would be willing to give me a chance. my email is jagmoney3@yahoo.com If someone can give me advice please feel free to email.

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E. Tracy Christian in Millersville, Maryland

63 months ago

It would be wise to sharpen your writing and verbal communiction skills. In addition, it is very helpful to become an accomplished Admin and strong Team Leader; as 95% of Execs were Admins.

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saipeople in kingwood, Texas

63 months ago

High level of proficiency with MS Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint works good for Executive Assistant

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I in Toms River, New Jersey

63 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every executive assistant must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your executive assistant expertise?

These are all good tips, but why not aim for something higher? Do you want to be an assistant for the rest of your life? Do you always want to be the one arranging meetings, instead of the one making company decisions? An exec. assistant position is fine for a few years, but then why not go to college, take courses, make your way up, and continue moving up in your career. Don't just be satisfied with the position of assistant.

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execassist777 in Washingtonville, New York

63 months ago

Melba J. Duncan has authored several books about the executive assistant role and her company in NY, The Duncan Group, (a search firm that exclusively places chiefs of staff and senior level executive and personal assistants) has amazing training seminars for assistants. Their website is www.duncangroupinc.com. I know they have some seminars coming up in the Spring.

The last book is called, "The New Executive Assistant" and she is in the process of writing another book. Melba was an executive assistant and chief of staff for over twenty years, before she founded The Duncan Group. It remains the only retained search firm that exclusively handles high end administrative support placements. She works throughout the world, and is an amazing leader in this field.

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On the contrary

63 months ago

Good advice to offer and if you choose the right company to pursue after you earn your degree, you might move on out of the assistant role to a real career for life. Some companies, however, will NEVER allow you to be anything else even if you earn multiple degrees, as well as have excellent evaluations, high level skills, etc. Some companies stereotype assistants and EAs as being unable to do anything else in life and absolutely refuse to allow you to do anything else. That being said, I would still pursue a college degree (work hard so you really learn and excel at what you are studying). Then go find a job that will be a fulfilling career for a lifetime. Be the person in charge instead of always having to do things for someone else so they can be successful and get all the nice rewards. You deserve more out of life than being someone else's servant.

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emy in Ethiopia

55 months ago

I really appreciate what people sugested and have got a lot of lessen learned.

thank u very much.

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EA in Falls Church, Virginia

55 months ago

You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

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Irene in Lakewood, New Jersey

55 months ago

Sorry, I did not mean at all to be condescending. I just don't think you are being fair to yourself. You probably have skills and talents far and beyond an Exec. Assistant. And is the job you have, really and truly and honestly your dream job? Be honest with yourself. Is this what you always wanted to do since you were young, when no one could tell you what to dream, and what not to dream?

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EA in Washington, District of Columbia

55 months ago

When I was a kid I wanted to be a lot of things, Irene, most of them not realistic, like a professional ballerina.

I really cannot believe that you say I'm not being fair to myself. REALLY?! I think I have a pretty fantastic life. My job is great, my boss even better, I live in our nation's capital where I am involved in several different political and community activities, I have a wonderful man and our dog together. I'm pretty damn happy with myself and my choices.

I'm gainfully employed, I pay my taxes, and I'm not popping out kids I can't afford. I wake up and ENJOY going to work!

How come I should want to be, by your definition, something "beyond" what I am already? Just because you wouldn't be happy as an EA, doesn't mean others don't find joy in it.

Do you say the same thing to women who are stay-at-home moms too? I can't believe I'm defending myself to you.

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Soli in Ethiopia

55 months ago

hi i think u right and wrong. Everybody has its own dream what to be in the future. For example let me tell you my dream i wish to be a pilot. But I’m more than happy to be in this position (EA). As u said my boss is wonderful they pay me a good salary and freedom too but for me that is not my destination. I have to look some better position different than what I have why not my boss place. One thing u didn’t get is having z baby doesn’t stop u what u need to be. Even women who are stay-at-home moms they are more than happy form u. b/c u don’t get what they feel giving full time for your child God is it is a blessing.

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Melissa in Bridgetown, Barbados

49 months ago

Hey guys, I am interviewing for a position as an EA next Tuesday, i have a Bsc in Management and i've worked as an administrative assitant for a couple months, i don't have any interview experience though, but I am a pretty intelligent young lady, who is very adaptable and acute. Any advice?

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Rakava in North Hollywood, California

45 months ago

Kate in Washington, DC said: I would say the first top skill is a strong sense of anticipation of what your executive's needs are and meet them before they even know they need them - sort of like mind reading.

Second would be to minimizing their distractions as much as possible.

And third, would be chemistry.

I'm glad you mentioned chemistry. I've been in the same job for 3.5 years: EA to the VP of XYZ. The person who hired me took another offer in Seattle. I like where I live. He and I had a great rapport, we could almost read each other's minds. His replacement is Satan to me. There is nothing I can do right for her and there is nothing I think she does right. The job is the same, the chemistry sucks. I knew the first day I met her. YUCK. Now I'm looking in the economy from hell.

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EA in Franklin, Tennessee

40 months ago

EA in Falls Church, Virginia said: You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

I totally agree! I LOVE being an EA for a fabulous boss. I don't agree with the camp that says that being an assistant is a dead-end job, and I also don't agree with the camp that says that being an assistant is necessarily a stepping stone to "better things." I absolutely love my job, I'm great at it, I'm appreciated every day, I'm paid well and respected in the company. I have a college degree, as well. I won't swear that I'll never want to do anything else, but I'm certainly not "settling".

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Iamrichlyblessed in Cave Creek, Arizona

39 months ago

I loved your comment! I loved being an EA and would very much like to get back into it. Will you please email me?

Thank you!

EA in Falls Church, Virginia said: You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

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majorshadow in Chula Vista, California

38 months ago

Song Title: Sweetest Lemonade (Bad Boss,Block Negativity,Reach Your Peak)
Subject: Soul song pokes fun at the bad boss and inspires the under-dog to strive to improve his or her position in life. Song suggests that the table could turn, making the boss the under-dog and the under-dog the top dog.
Video URL: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYcHW1kuP-k

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CBA in Atlanta, Georgia

35 months ago

EA in Falls Church, Virginia said: You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

I was about to comment but after reading, it is simply not necessary now.
Thank you.

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etc in Parkville, Maryland

35 months ago

As long as you are happy, that is the main thing. You don't need an opinion poll for that.

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Melissa in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

30 months ago

EA in Falls Church, Virginia said: You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

I Could not agree more!!!! I have an education I also own my own business but I find great joy in my day job as a EA. I would not change a thing!!!!!

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Destined4More in Houston, Texas

30 months ago

I agree that if you WANT to be an EA than this is a good career. But, if you are using this as a stepping stone to become management, than I would not recommend this route. Once the company has labeled you as an assistant than it is hard to be taken seriously as a leader.

I'm an EA with a degree in Finance and currently in a graduate program at a top 20 school. With all my education and experience I will always be seen as an assistant. You have to leave your company if you want to grow. Some EA have great bosses but the majority of CEO, CFO, Managing Directors, and Presidents are self centered A-holes that get a kick out of being superior to you.

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Elizabeth in Zambia

30 months ago

I have been working in this field for 7 years in the office of the Managing Director. I love the job itself and it also gives me a great salary. To me it is just the perfect job for me although in the 7 years I have had to change superiors 4 times. Each superior I have worked with has his own strengths and weaknesses and I have found myself using the experience that I have gained from the other superiors to try and help the other and vice versa and they (superiors) have always been appreciative. That also just gives me the impetus to do just work harder and finding ways to be an even better Assistant. My communication skills, dealing with people has also improved tremendously over the period because of the interactions that I have had with people at various levels.

I also believe that work is supposed to be enjoyed because then it ceases to be work and it is now like a hobby and you are getting a salary for your "hobby".

So go on girl, enjoy your work and the huge bonus that comes with it.

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Daisychain in Chicago, Illinois

30 months ago

I agree with EA in Falls Church! My job as an EA allows me to earn a good living in a pleasant office working for someone that I respect who treats me well. Also, most importantly, it allows me to have a life outside work (a novel concept for many!) I am able to volunteer one night a week and enjoy leisurely weekends with my boyfriend without thinking about work (unlike my friends with 'high-powered' jobs that usually spend time working on the weekends.) I also have the time (and energy) to take a creative writing class that allows me to indulge my own creative vision without compromising it (unlike my friend, a successful graphic designer, who is constantly having to adjust her ideas to fit in with her company's image or a client's expectations.)

I could go on but you get the point...so, you go EA in Falls Church (and others!) You are wise enough to understand that there are different ways to measure 'quality of life' and not to be affected by the narrow-minded judgements of others!

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joeExec in West Hartford, Connecticut

28 months ago

Kate in Washington, DC said: I would say the first top skill is a strong sense of anticipation of what your executive's needs are and meet them before they even know they need them - sort of like mind reading.

Second would be to minimizing their distractions as much as possible.

And third, would be chemistry.

yeah I agree. you can find some more information about <a href="www.executiveassistanthq.com/executive-assistant-role/">executive assistants</a> all over but the most critical is to be understanding of your client's/employer's needs.

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George in North Sydney, Australia

26 months ago

Here is a video that addresses your question.

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George in North Sydney, Australia

26 months ago

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Bhargavsharma in Hyderabad, India

26 months ago

Hey Hi

I recently got an opportunity as an executive assistance role in one of the MNC company . Now my question to all of you is will EA role really help full for career as i would settled my self as GM in 3 - 5 years of my time . Please give us your valuable suggestion which be helps in taking my decision.

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nimmi in Fairfax, Virginia

26 months ago

EA in Falls Church, Virginia said: You know, I truly love being an EA. I have a college degree, my boss is amazing, and I enjoy managing his day-to-day, his personal life, and knowing everything about what makes him tick. I enjoy being the gatekeeper. I like that people have to get through me to get to him.

For people to say that I'm "settling" for being an EA is offensive to me. I have a good job that I enjoy, the money is great, and I have made many contacts working for my boss that have and will be valuable in my arsenal. My boss thinks I'm invaluable and often says he wouldn't know what to do without me. I also get a pretty substantial bonus every year.

I know people in other jobs that "make company decisions" that absolutely hate their jobs, so tell me, are they really that much better off than I am because they aren't ok with being an "assistant for the rest of their lives?"

I'm sorry but that to me is a very condescending thing to say.

i totally agree with you. I have a question. I have been working as EA for more than 10 years but in India. I live in VA and looking for EA positions but no success so far. I have no idea what is going wrong here. any suggestions?

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EA in D.C. in Baltimore, Maryland

25 months ago

Hello, I start work as an EA in downtown DC next week. It is a temp to oosition...but i'vr got one foot in the door. Try applying with The Ford Agency (also in DC).

Good luck

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E.Tracy Christian in Elkridge, Maryland

25 months ago

I wish you the best; do not look at it as a temp position, it is your position. Work smart and stay on top of your game. You never know where the job may take you in the future.

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nimmi in Fairfax, Virginia

25 months ago

EA in D.C. in Baltimore, Maryland said: Hello, I start work as an EA in downtown DC next week. It is a temp to oosition...but i'vr got one foot in the door. Try applying with The Ford Agency (also in DC).

Good luck

Oh Wow!!!It doesnt matter..temp or permanent..love your job and show them what you are capable of and you will be good to go..Congratulations..
As of me no luck so far ..still looking for an EA job..soemthing is seriously wrong here since I am not even getting an interview call..How did you find this job?

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nimmi in Fairfax, Virginia

25 months ago

E.Tracy Christian in Elkridge, Maryland said: I wish you the best; do not look at it as a temp position, it is your position. Work smart and stay on top of your game. You never know where the job may take you in the future.

Yes..you are right..

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nikki9door in Airdrie, Alberta

23 months ago

How about excellent spelling? Looks like a few who responded to this thread would benefit from a few language lessons!

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Phyllis in Mount Laurel, New Jersey

20 months ago

I in Toms River, New Jersey said: These are all good tips, but why not aim for something higher? Do you want to be an assistant for the rest of your life? Do you always want to be the one arranging meetings, instead of the one making company decisions? An exec. assistant position is fine for a few years, but then why not go to college , take courses, make your way up, and continue moving up in your career. Don't just be satisfied with the position of assistant.

That's insulting. I do have a degree -- a Bachelor's in Business Communications. I like the work involved in being an Executive Assistant. It's a career like any other.

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knickols in Newport News, Virginia

18 months ago

EA in Washington, District of Columbia said: When I was a kid I wanted to be a lot of things, Irene, most of them not realistic, like a professional ballerina.

I really cannot believe that you say I'm not being fair to myself. REALLY?! I think I have a pretty fantastic life. My job is great, my boss even better, I live in our nation's capital where I am involved in several different political and community activities, I have a wonderful man and our dog together. I'm pretty damn happy with myself and my choices.

I'm gainfully employed, I pay my taxes, and I'm not popping out kids I can't afford. I wake up and ENJOY going to work!

How come I should want to be, by your definition, something "beyond" what I am already? Just because you wouldn't be happy as an EA, doesn't mean others don't find joy in it.

Do you say the same thing to women who are stay-at-home moms too? I can't believe I'm defending myself to you.

You go girl!

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knickols in Newport News, Virginia

18 months ago

It pays to not live your life by someone else's definition of talent. I love what I do as an administrative assistant. I love the fact that my role within the company is in a lot of ways why it works the way it does. My co-workers often refer to me as being the captain of the tug boat. I am the first line of defense when it comes to a lot of issues and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thank you!

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Noel in San Francisco, California

17 months ago

I'm seeing valuable advice here! I've been an AA for eight years. I'm ready to be an EA because, directly and indirectly, I've been supporting C-level staff. My title [and salary] just doesn't show this. I have been hard at work in the evenings earning my BS in Applied Economics w/ emphasis in Business. I'll graduate in May. I'd like to be an EA now in the hope that it will lead to lateral and slightly upward opportunities in my field. It also pays well. However, I'm reading mixed things here. Would it be a mistake to be an EA at this time? One person said that firms have a tendency to KEEP you in your role; I've found this to be true in some cases. They love you where you're at and don't see you as capable of much else. Please, what are your thoughts on this matter? Thank you in advance!

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EA at Fashion Company in New York, New York

16 months ago

Melissa in Bridgetown, Barbados said: Hey guys, I am interviewing for a position as an EA next Tuesday, i have a Bsc in Management and i've worked as an administrative assitant for a couple months, i don't have any interview experience though, but I am a pretty intelligent young lady, who is very adaptable and acute. Any advice?

My advice would be, DON'T DO IT. I hate being an E.A mainly because of my boss. He is an evil, heart-less, despicable person. I am looking for another job but definitely not going to be an E.A again. Funny thing is, when I was offered the job, I took it because it said "coordinator" in the title. I thought it could have been a stepping stone to another position within the company. Instead, it turned out to be a dead end job. Unless you like being treated like the help, I say, don't bother to take a job like this. Plus, in the end, all you are seen as is the "secretary"

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W. Donn in Washington, District of Columbia

7 months ago

jagmoney in Jacksonville, Florida said: Hi I am lookin at becoming an executive assistant and I dont really know where to start. Almost all of my work has been blue collar and I would like to try working in an office. I have a high school diploma. I am willing to learn and work as hard as needed just not sure where to start or if someone would be willing to give me a chance. my email is jagmoney3@yahoo.com If someone can give me advice please feel free to email.

I have been an executive assistant for over 20 years and if you want to get into this type of work I would recommend that you start by working as a receptionist. It's a simple place to start, while giving you an idea of what working in an office environment feels like. Normally, you would need a good phone voice, be able to be super polite to EVERYONE that calls, speak clearly and "GIVE GOOD PHONE".....(You would be the "Gate Keeper", so knowing how to talk to people well makes you a good person to handle calls as well as visitors. It's not a menial position as you are the first impression of a company. Your voice and your appearance are symbols of what the company is all about. It's where I started and I worked my way up. It normally pays anywhere from $8.00/hour up to $14.00/hour depending on where you live. Be willing to start at the lower end if you want to grow. (But ALWAYS take the best salary you can). Oh, most receptionist positions are salary positions, which is nice.......Not a hard job to get if you can talk nice and look professional. Look in th want ads for "ENTRY LEVEL" receptionist....that means, no experience is needed and the pay is "Starter Pay"..... GOOD LUCK!!!!

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