How to Advocate for Your Professional Development as an Administrative or Executive Assistant

November 23, 2023


An administrative or executive assistant writes in notebook, sitting next to coworker who is working at a computer

For some administrative and executive assistants, training and professional development happen as they work alongside the executives they serve. However, this is not always the case.

Advocating for yourself is critical to receive more role-specific training and development for your career. Here’s how you can make your goals known to senior leaders and get your professional needs met. 

How to Achieve Professional Development Goals as an EA

Executive assistants rarely have downtime throughout the day. You’re busy, often assisting multiple people at once, so it can be hard to ask for time and a professional development budget to attend training events such as EA Ignite or pursue online training.

Remember: Advocating for your growth is essential, and you deserve high-quality professional development training for both the role you have and the role you want.

Here's how you can start those conversations with senior leadership.

Set Goals with Your Executive

Sit down with your exec or supervisor and determine your goals as an executive assistant and the areas in which you'd like to grow.

Maybe you want to improve your time management skills or communication with clients and partners. Other goals include taking on new responsibilities such as event planning or project management, and leveraging new technical skills for various tasks. Aligning your goals with the executive you serve will remind them to lean on you for specific projects that will ensure your growth. 

Ask for New Challenges

As an executive assistant, you may seek ways to expand your skill set. Maybe you feel prepared to start managing other team members, or you’d like to get more involved in supporting marketing or sales teams. Once you’ve mapped out your goals, asking to be involved with these tasks can be an easier conversation. 

Find Training

Investing in your professional development means finding relevant courses, conferences, or classes to attend. Present your findings to your boss and be ready to discuss how this training will improve your workflow, increase your skills, and benefit your organization.

Why You Need a Professional Development Plan

If you’re wondering, “What is professional development for administrative assistants, and why do I need a plan?” you should know that professional development is a key contributor to growth and success for all admins.

Not only does advocating for your professional development increase your confidence around executives, but it also shows how committed you are to the organization. Let’s discuss how administrative assistants can advocate for themselves to move their careers forward.

Learn from Leadership

If you're interested in moving into a senior leadership, office manager, or executive assistant role, ask someone already in this role if they’d be open to you shadowing them to learn more about their daily work. If you report directly to this person, ask if they'd be willing to spend time teaching you about specific tasks or functions critical to learning. 

As you climb the corporate ladder and seek a promotion to one of these roles (or something similar), the more experience you’ve had in the position previously, the better off you’ll be. 

Find Tools and Resources to Streamline Tasks

Stay on top of current tech trends to discover new platforms and AI tools your department can adopt to save time. This creates the opportunity to free up your workday, so you can attend more skills training, webinars, or conferences to further enhance your skill set.

Discover Your Interests

You may be new to the admin assistant role, so finding your interests and strengths takes time. As you complete tasks, help with other departments, sit in on meetings, and interact with senior leadership, you’ll discover the parts of the job you enjoy and others that need work. Once you know the facets of your role that you want to strengthen, you can volunteer for tasks and projects that will allow you to work on those qualities. 

Find Your Passions with Professional Development 

Regardless of your current role, you can build self-confidence and become more efficient with professional development. ASAP offers a variety of training resources to help administrative professionals strengthen their skills and discover their passions in the diverse admin field. Explore our content today!

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American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APC  EA Ignite