From EA to Anywhere: Moving up the Career Ladder

Many of us in the EA role are not planning to stay here forever – we’re always looking for new mountains to scale. But where do we start? Whether you’re looking to move from EA to Chief of Staff at your company or to enter a new field entirely, here are five tips to getting you there.

Attitude

As Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”. Let’s face it, the climb up any career ladder for anyone is riddled with countless challenges and failures, but what’s going to set you apart is your attitude. Having a positive attitude in the face of crisis and defeat won’t necessarily make you better at what you’re doing, but it is definitely going to make the whole process a lot easier.

Having the right attitude can also increase your chances of getting promoted or given a pay raise. According to a survey done by CareerBuilder, the employers cited “having a negative or pessimistic attitude” as the top behavior that hurt an employees chances for promotion. So even if you’re terribly good at doing your job, the way you carry yourself while doing it is going to matter more to your employers and colleagues.

Acquire new skills

One sure fire way to increase your attractiveness when it comes to promotions would be to acquire and possess technical skills, especially in areas that can add tremendous value to your organization. Stay on top of industry trends and technology so you can understand what skills sets to pick up. For example, as technology advances and processes are digitalizing, now would be a good time to familiarize yourself with the new technologies like CRM tools such as SalesForce and Zoho or email marketing tools like Mailchimp or PersistIQ.

Learning new skills doesn’t always mean that you have to attend a proper class or pay exorbitant prices to join a course. There are many cheap or affordable online platforms such as Udemy or LinkedIn Learning that can take you through learning new skills. EA’s on Cabinet have recommended tons of online platforms that helped them and you can check out that thread by clicking here.

Have Courage

You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. Whether it is applying for jobs you’re not fully qualified for, asking your manager for a promotion, connecting with new people, you have to step out of your comfort zone before you can step up the ladder. This way, you can discover new opportunities and push yourself to you full capabilities. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, I would suggest having a chat with your manager. Discuss opportunities for you to grow and ways you can make a bigger contribution to your team.

Most of all, don’t be afraid of failing – it’s the road to success.

Prove your worth

Building on my previous point of asking your manager for a promotion or pay raise, you’ll have to prove to your employer that you deserve it! Simple things like compiling a report on the ways you have contributed to the organisation through your actions can go a long way. Many employers tend to overlook the work done by EA’s and underestimate the impact we have on the company.

Given the nature of an EA’s work, it is often hard to keep track of the tasks you’ve done and for who. EA’s complete tons of bite sized tasks that often go untracked and unnoticed, but these small matters that make a big difference, even if no one can see it. There are tools out there that can help with this, and I would recommend Cabinet Plus. Cabinet Plus allows you to organize your to-do list in a way that tracks your tasks and wins, and eventually use data to measure your impact on your organisation’s success.

Do your homework

Last but not least, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into! Before plunging into the deep end, research on the industry or field you’re in or looking to enter and understand what employers are looking for. This will help you decide which path is most suitable for you, prepare yourself for the roadblocks ahead and figure out how you can overcome them.

Connecting with and talking to industry leaders and players is also a good way to gain first hand insights and advice on your career progression. Thanks to the internet, this can all be done easily online, with platforms such as LinkedIn that enables networking opportunities.

Moving up the career ladder or changing fields completely is no easy feat, you’ll have to hustle hard for what you deserve. With the right attitude and mindset, I’m sure that you will go far. All the best!

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