The aim of many PAs is to move from a PA role to an Executive PA job. However, there are many areas of skill and work experience that are required in order to progress your career to this level. In order to achieve this; varying levels of work experience will be required and also appropriate training in a range of skills.
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How to Make the Move
Confidence and assertiveness in an Executive environment is a key element of becoming an Executive Assistant. This can be developed through work experience and increased exposure to an executive atmosphere, but this does not mean that you will necessarily develop your skills appropriately through this medium. Therefore, a well balance Executive PA Course with soft skills and management training is ideal.
What are the specific soft skills that are needed?
In relation to all of the below skills, you need to be flexible in the application of them and be aware of the situation best to use your skills.
Communication skills are required in all forms of communication. You will need excellent spoken communication, clearly conveying messages and influencing others when required. Your written communication also should be equally effective and capable of adjusting to different levels of formality.
Presentation skills take communication skills far beyond the role of a PA. This is because Executive Assistant may be needed to deliver presentations to management and other staff. This is quite a difficult skill, but very important to ensuring success in an Executive PA role.
Delegation skills are essential when you have a busy role and the person you are supporting is super busy. You must be capable of delegating and effectively allocating resources in the most appropriate way. It is easier to delegate to direct reports, such as an Admin Assistant or Secretary, but more difficult to influence others to help without any structured influence over them.
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Negotiation skills and Managing upwards are two fundamental soft skills that will be required throughout your job. Application of both of these areas is a very skillful exercise and it requires confidence to execute well.
These types of skills are possible to learn on the job, but you can never be sure that you use them effectively without undertaking an Executive PA Course.