Publication: Executive PA
Put yourself in the driving seat and steer your career right to the top.
There are many ways Personal Assistants (PAs) can fast track their careers, including upskilling, volunteering, dressing for success, networking and keeping their eye on personal goals.
Pam Brossman from Sydney is the CEO of global online company Social Media Woman, but started out her career as a receptionist. Instead of just fulfilling her job description, Ms Brossman saw opportunities to make herself stand out – and took them.
“I saw a lot of PAs doing really well by learning PowerPoint. I decided I would master it, but little did I know that this one tool would be what made my whole career,” she said.
“Learn a skill, become a real expert at it and use it for the benefit of other people,” Ms Brossman explained, adding she still used PowerPoint even now to create presentations, build her brand and even publish her online magazine.
By making those senior to her look good, Ms Brossman quickly earned a reputation as the go-to girl when something needed to be done. “I used to volunteer and take on extra when most people had the mentality, ‘I don’t work for them, I don’t have to do it’. The more I did without asking for anything in return, the more opportunities I was given,” she explained.
After working for five years as a PA, Ms Brossman was asked to interview for a position as a marketing executive with her former boss. Despite having no previous experience in marketing, she grabbed the opportunity and hasn’t looked back since.
“She said Pam you make me look good, and we’ll figure out the rest. I got a $25,000 pay rise – who’s going to say no to that?”
Position yourself at the top
Melbourne author Ben Angel wrote about getting ahead in his book Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business. He suggested PAs become more effective communicators and sell others on the idea they were amazing at their job.
“Getting to the top isn’t about ‘fitting in’ so much as positioning yourself as if you belonged there all along. It’s done through visual communication, behaviour, energetic engagement, knowing when to stand out and when to fit in, versatility in specific environments and cultivating the je ne sais quoi quality in every interaction,” Mr Angel explained.
He outlined the simple formula of Message + Perception = Reality, in explaining how PAs could change perceptions to get the results they want. Show others how you want to be seen through what you wear, how you look, confident body language and aligning your emotions and speech with those around you and that is what they will perceive.
Mr Angel also said PAs should “get into bed”, or network, with their top contacts to ensure they get ahead. Word of mouth is critical to career success, so get out there and be seen online and off by the right people.
“PAs need to step beyond their ‘existing’ networks and cultivate connections to the new worlds they wish to enter. This can be achieved via LinkedIn, Facebook or networking with high net worth individuals outside of one’s current network,” he said.
Spotlight on Colour
Brisbane Colour and Image consultant Ann Whitaker from the House of Colour & Image teaches students which colours, shapes and styles of clothing and make-up suit them so they can dress confidently.
“It has been proven that people who have their colours and image analysed are more likely to get promotions, or a new position or meet their life partner,” Ms Whitaker said.