The role of an executive assistant, also known as an EA, has morphed over time. What was once considered a good entry level job for those without formal education or college degrees has now become a prominent role of power and responsibility in the office. Now, the executive assistant role comes with important tasks requiring a specialized skill set. The most successful EAs have excellent organizational and time management skills and are adept at taking on a large range of tasks, even doling out some to other employees in order to free up time and resources as necessary.
While the specific job responsibilities are dependent on the particular role, executive assistants are typically and primarily responsible for more complex sets of tasks, including calendar and schedule management, travel arrangements, acting as the point person for answering questions, addressing issues, and following up on requests on behalf of their executive. If you are looking to land an executive assistant job, preparation is the most important step in realizing the role. Research shows that there are certain times of the year that are better than others when pursuing an executive assistant job. Here’s why.
The start of the new year brings more than just New Year's resolutions. This is the time of year where the job market heats up. With a fresh year comes a fresh perspective, and companies are casting their vision. This is a great time to hit the job boards because new positions tend to post in January and February, when leadership prepares to onboard new team members for upcoming projects.
Another reason that the start of the new year is rich in job opportunities is budgetary. Most companies complete their next yearly budgets toward the end of the prior year. This allows for new HR allotments, and positions can be added to align with the company’s fiscal goals and growth expectations.
Although personal circumstances can’t always account for when you are hitting the job market, there are times when it isn’t the most ideal. Research shows that in the summer months, executive assistant opportunities are few and far between. The reasons for this vary, but among the most common are employees taking time off for summer vacations, causing variations in the day to day operations. This causes limitations in time and resources for onboarding new employees. Also, during the holiday season, job postings are scarce, due in part to the stresses of the season, employee vacations, and business closures.
The second half of the year has also shown to have a drought in new opportunities for budgetary reasons. During this time, companies are oftentimes reconvening to go over budgets, making decisions on how spending and planning will need to be adjusted to meet projections. This can lead to hiring freezes, which fortunately will likely reopen once the new year comes around.
Experts recommend taking advantage of the slow times, by getting better prepared for when things break in the job seekers favor. Spend this time brushing up on your skills and updating your resume and cover letters. Take a few weeks to research different companies to see where you might want to focus your energy once positions start opening up.
Since executive assistant jobs are multifaceted and progressive, you might want to use these slow seasons as a time to get the specialized expertise you need to stand out among the competition. If you want to work in a specialized environment, such as in legal or medical, you’ll need education and certifications specific to those fields. Spend time researching and discovering resources that can help you get a leg up.
Stepping into the role of an executive assistant for the first time, or transitioning to a more specialized role, is an exciting time. There are good times and slow times in the market, but jobs for executive assistants are trending on the growth curve. We hope you land your dream executive assistant job. If you do, check out these tips on how to successfully transition to a new executive. Also, don’t forget to scroll through our blog to see more helpful tips and info!