Career transitions for Executive Assistants

Being an Assistant isn’t for everyone. Let’s face it, the job has its challenges, and I think you must love the role to succeed genuinely.

If you think of the position as a stepping stone to something else or a job that you’ve just so happened to fall into, but it isn’t something you want to do forever, then you’ll never give it your all, and you know what? That is fine.

Not every lawyer loves their job, and I doubt every Accountant springs out of bed in the morning itching to crunch some numbers! So, it is inevitable that some Assistants will eventually want to switch careers.

Or if you are like me, who loved being an EA, something crops up that is too good to turn down. So from experience, here are my tips on how to change your Assistant career.

Look at what you do and what your role covers

What skills do you use that you can transfer to a different profession?

As Assistants, we are lucky because we do many tasks, so our skills are generally pretty broad, so we can quickly move into something different. It helps career transitions for Executive Assistants.

The tricky bit is demonstrating that those skills are ideal for a new role, so think about your strengths, core values, and skills and competencies.

How can you show that you are made for this new career? Veronica Richards has a great session on how Assistants can move into new industries and sectors using their transferable skills.

What are your career options?

Once you’ve evaluated your skillset, research to see where those skills are most needed and add value.

For example, you might have loads of project management experience and decide that actual project management is a better fit than the Assistant role. Alternatively, you might organise many events and want to do that full-time.

Once you have built up your experience, preferably in your own company, it is time to spread your wings and get a new job.

Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself on your CV; you can tweak your history to highlight all the experience that supports your new career path.

It isn’t fraud to emphasise all the positive skills that match the new career you want, and if you don’t use a little artistic licence, it could hold you back.

CV template for Assistants

CV Template for Assistants

Use this template to craft the perfect resume for your Assistant job search. 

Hard Skills for Assistant Template

Assistant Skills to include in a CV

Use this guide to capture all of your high-level Assistant skills.

Use your network

It is much easier to convince someone of your remarkable skills when they have seen you in action or know something about you.

Always reach out to your network when looking for a new role. Your network will be even more invaluable when you seek a new career.

Get qualified

I worked with an Assistant who had a real passion for marketing, and every time anything related to marketing cropped up, she put her hand up and got on board. While building her experience in marketing, she was also studying for a marketing degree through the Open University. Once she felt ready to move into this field, she had both experience and qualifications.

If you want to make a career change, ensure you have the qualifications and expertise to make the transition easier.

Consider a different role within your organisation

Again, this is easier said than done for Assistants, but we have many articles on how to get yourself in the best position for promotions and alternative career paths.

If you transition into a new role within your current company, be prepared for some people struggling to take you seriously. People don’t like change, and if you have been an Assistant and moved into another profession, some people find it hard to move with the times.

When it comes time to apply for a new job, make sure that you highlight the skills that match the profession that you want to get into. Remember to be realistic because transitioning your career can take time.

Life is long, and just because you have been in one job, as the world’s best Assistant, for some years doesn’t mean you cannot make a change if you want to.

The skills, patience and courage that come with being an Assistant will stand you in good stead in any new role and make you a fantastic, very employable person.

Don’t put any limits on what you can achieve.

Being an Assistant can be a rewarding and worthwhile career if you love the role. If you’re looking for something different and feel that a transition away from the Assistant profession is the right direction for you, know that it takes courage, time and effort to make a major change. You’ll have to confront your fears and take risks to succeed – but also remember that these attempts may eventually reward you with incredible opportunities and experiences.

With diverse paths of progression available, research potential roles that interest you, witness others making successful transitions in their own lives and talk to experts before taking any steps towards attaining your career goals. And finally, don’t forget that resources like Accelerate Your Assistant Job Search Online Course exist, which provide essential advice on best job search practices while enabling potential transitions away from the Executive Assistance role.