If you're like many administrative professionals who have been in the same job for a while, you're probably ready to take your skills to the next level. But you may not be sure where to begin.
Administrative professionals are filling more strategic roles and meeting higher expectations in today's demanding and dynamic business environment. So, it’s a great time to take stock of your career and position yourself for the next stage of your professional journey.
Here are six tips for setting out on the right foot.
1. Pursue training and development
Investigate your company's internal training offerings, if it has any. Ask if your employer would provide tuition reimbursement for an outside development course, conference or seminar. Consider the skills you want to develop and whether you can demonstrate how a particular training program will improve your administrative skills, on-the-job performance or contributions to the firm.
2. Join industry associations
Become active in organizations like the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Participate in committees, attend seminars and other educational events, and talk with your fellow administrative professionals at meetings. Networking, both in-person and online, can help you get out there and connect.
3. Choose a mentor
Find someone with strengths in the area you wish to improve and ask if he or she will assist you. If your employer doesn't have an in-house mentoring program, look for individuals inside or outside the organization whose administrative skills you admire.
4. Take on new challenges
If you feel stagnant in your current role, ask your manager about ways you can assume more challenging assignments. Most supervisors will welcome initiative from staff if it adds value to the team. Showing motivation and ambition also may help you stand out as a candidate for promotion.
5. Help a nonprofit
If you can't do more at your company, consider possibilities outside the office, such as charitable organizations. These groups may be receptive to your interest in supporting them, and you might find mentors who can help you expand your abilities and knowledge. By volunteering on committees or for leadership roles, you can develop administrative skills that not only benefit the organization but are also applicable to your paid job.
6. Participate in diverse projects
Listen up during meetings for colleagues requesting assistance with special initiatives. This may be your opportunity to expand your skill set by getting involved in other areas of the department or company. Also, offer to help if your boss or colleagues seem overloaded with projects.
It is up to you to cultivate your marketability. Thoughtfully evaluate any weaknesses in your set of administrative skills and commit to making improvements. Also, stay on top of trends by reading industry research such as the Robert Half Salary Guide that discusses developments in the administrative field. You'll help ensure you're staying ahead of the curve rather than scrambling to keep up.