Project Manage like a pro

Project Manage like a pro

Project management is a key skill for PAs these days. So many organisations are recognising that PAs are natural project managers – we are organised, we structure our work in a way that lends itself well to project work and actually we’ve been managing projects for most of our working life! But as usual, most of us are not sent on project management training! So here you will find some great blogs, books, tools and general tips on how to Project Manage like a pro.
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Can a PA help their employer be more enterprising?

Can a PA help their employer be more enterprising? Today’s organisations require their employees to be more enterprising, more aware of the needs of customers and more involved in developing their products and services. It is harder than ever to differentiate as a business, keep customers returning and increase profits.  By having every member of staff thinking in an enterprising way and being more commercially minded it is possible to stand out above the competition.

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Want to work for a startup? What you need to know

With the end of the year hurtling towards us, many of you will be thinking about next year and potentially looking for a new job. Many of you will want to try something different and that may well be in the form of a new and exciting organisation – or startup, as trendy people like to call new businesses these days! There are many pros and cons when it comes to working for any new organisation, particularly when you are part of the initial setup. Working for a startup can be a real challenge, but for assistants it can also bring lots of rewards. Do you want to work for a start up? This is what you need to know!

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Is job hopping the only way up the career ladder for assistants?

Hi, I’m Nicky Christmas and I am a job hopper. There, I’ve admitted it. I’ve spent many years cleverly covering up the fact that I spent most of my career hopping from one job to another in an effort to climb the career ladder. Prior to running Practically Perfect PA, the longest time I spent in any one organisation was 4 years and in that time I took on two different roles. Recently, I’ve been reading quite a bit about job hopping and how common it is becoming, particularly for younger people entering the work force. Apparently, being loyal to one company doesn’t necessarily pay off (both in terms of salary and promotion) and moving from one role to another in pretty quick succession is becoming less frowned upon.

It’s an interesting topic for me because as I said I have always been a job hopper. During my time as an assistant I always felt that I had a variety of valid reasons why I was looking for a new role and in general job hopping didn’t do me any harm. But, I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons a bit more, particularly for assistants. Here are a few of my thoughts…

Salary increase

I didn’t job hop for an increase in salary, it was always for other reasons, but with every new role I did get a pay rise. For many assistants trying to negotiate a pay rise is extremely difficult and many are turned down because of their organisation’s internal structures. It can be a lot easier to find a new role and negotiate an increased salary during the recruitment process.

Applying for jobs outside of the PA role

Over the years I did apply for a few jobs that were not PA roles, but I very rarely got any response. Once you are in a role it can be very difficult to find a different job – you are effectively pigeonholed by recruiters and organisations alike. If, however, you stay within one organisation, gain experience, it can be easier to move outside of the PA role and find something different. During the course of my career, I applied for two roles that were not traditional PA roles. Both were internal positions and my experience within the organisation really helped me during the interviews. I got one of the roles and I didn’t get the other (to be fair, I didn’t have much experience, but I did get down to the final two). If you are looking for a job outside the normal PA role, perhaps job hopping is not the best approach…

Are you worth investing in?

Although I did job hop a lot I didn’t have much of an issue securing new roles. I always had a valid reason for leaving my current employer. It was often because I felt unmotivated and that I had reached my potential in that organisation. Although I would proactively look for new things to keep me motivated and fulfilled my employer wouldn’t be able to offer me anything more and I would reach a point that I was just ready to move on. Looking back, I wonder if this was a bit of a catch 22 situation. I job hopped because I was unmotivated, but my company didn’t motivate me because they knew I would probably leave anyway… I wonder if I was more loyal to the organisations they may have invested more time in keeping me happy.

Lots of different experiences

A huge pro for all of my job hopping is the amount of different experience I have as an assistant. I worked in lots of different environments, industries, countries and supported lots of different types of Executives. All of the different projects I have worked on over the years have provided me with lots of skills that I might not have otherwise acquired if I stayed in one role. For me that has made job hopping worth it.

I do find this topic really interesting. I think it is slightly different depending on where you work. Job hopping is easier if you work in a major city like I did (during a time that jobs were easier to find too). What do you think? Is job hopping the easiest way for PAs to climb the career ladder?

If you are thinking about changing your current job, we have a free eBook that will help you prepare for the perfect PA interview.

The Practically Perfect PA Guide to: Preparing for the perfect job

Download our free eBook!

Download the eBook

 

Using Instagram for business

I’ve been using Instagram for a few years now and I love it! Although since I’ve had kids, I don’t feel the urge to Instagram my life as much as I used to (who needs to see me covered in milk, pureed vegetables and goodness knows what else!) Anyhoo… I’ve been looking into how I can use Instagram for the blog and have found a few really good tips that I thought I would share with you today. Firstly, you may need to explain to your Executive why Instagram is a good social media platform to use for business but once you get over that hurdle there are a lot of benefits. Let me give you a few reasons you can fire at them…

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How important is office culture?

Our lovely friends over at Career Moves recently conducted a survey to find out how important salary is when looking for a new role. You will be surprised by the results. Here is Sarah with more details…

Do we just want a good salary?

The Career Moves Office Support team recently sent out a Salary and Insights Survey, which produced some surprising results. We surveyed over 200 office support professionals, and discovered some interesting facts:

A huge factor for Assistants when looking for their next opportunity is unsurprisingly salary with 89% saying this was most important when looking for a new role. Interestingly, only a 3rd of respondents are actually happy with their current salary and benefits package!

A salary increase can be extremely attractive, and often a big motivator to change roles, or sometimes even move industry. But interestingly, in the results of our survey, salary did not come out on top. The number one is actually job content with a staggering 92% saying it’s all about the job itself. Secondly, was workplace culture. A whopping 90% said that this is their number one factor to consider when thinking about their next opportunity.

So if you’re thinking of moving roles, and salary is a big motivator for you, stop and consider job content and culture. These are equally as important – sometimes even more so!

How to spot a good office culture

90% considered workplace culture to be the most important thing when looking for a new employer. That is a huge percentage! It can be difficult to get a sense of the office culture before you take the job so here are a few tips to help you spot a great work place:

  1. Has the organisation won any awards or put themselves forward for any. Every year in the UK The Sunday Times puts together a list of the top 100 firms to work for. Alternatively, have a look on the organisation’s website to see if they have been nominated or won any accolades.
  2. Extend your research on the firm to include office culture, values and benefits (particularly around wellbeing). If the organisation has a social media presence this is also a good place to look for examples of their office culture. Is their content fun and relaxed or professional and formal? This will give you a good understanding of the culture and atmosphere in the office.
  3. Remember, you can ask questions in the interview about the office culture! You will get a good sense of what to expect from the interviewer’s answers. During your interviews also take a look at the office itself – what is the set up and what does the furniture look like. Again a nice environment shows that the employer is thinking about their staff.
  4. What is the overall package you are being offered? Although salary is not the number one driving factor it is still important. An employer that offers a good salary for the work that you do shows that they will value you. Also look at the overall benefit package. What else do they offer to retain employees?
  5. Last but not least, you can also speak to your recruitment agency about the employer. What type of candidates have they placed before and if you will be a good fit.

If you are looking for a new role please do download our free Ebook – The Practically Perfect PA guide to: Preparing for the perfect job.

The Practically Perfect PA Guide to: Preparing for the perfect job

Download our free eBook!

Download the eBook

We would also like to thank Career Moves for access to their survey results. If you would like to get in touch with Career Moves, here are the details:

Sarah Savage
t: 0207 758 4308
e: sarah@careermovesgroup.co.uk
w: www.careermovesgroup.co.uk

Practically Perfect PA Giveaway: 10 Assist Travel tickets!

Thanks to our wonderful partners at Travo, we have a very special giveaway for Practically Perfect PA readers this month.

We are offering ten lucky readers the chance to attend Assist Travel for free. Yes, that is right – a whole day of fantastic training specifically for assistants – completely for free! The conference is taking place on Friday 9th September in London. More information on the programme and the speakers can be found on the Assist Travel website.

To enter the competition please complete the Travo survey. Remember to add your contact details so that we can get in touch with the winners. We will announce the winners on the 26th August 2016.

Practically Perfect PA GIveaway: Assist Travel tickets!

More from our sponsor

Planning travel for your team should take minutes, not hours! TRAVO is a cutting-edge, free trip planner developed specifically for Administrative Professionals.  Simply enter the time and location of your meetings and TRAVO will instantly create an end-to-end itinerary which includes not only flights and hotels, but expected traffic conditions and timing in every segment of your trip! Not only will admins get the job done quickly, but you will grow credibility by being familiar with the newest tools to do more in less time.

TRAVO allows Admins who plan trips to:

  • Find the most optimal flights for every event and meeting
  • Uncover the best (and most cost effective) hotel options
  • Predict future traffic conditions and delays to stay on-time
  • Compare travel rates across multiple companies to cut costs
  • Manage multiple travel profiles and preferences at TRAVO.com
  • Easier to communicate and get trip approvals from your managers

 

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