An admin’s world is always changing. New software and technology comes along, better strategies are implemented, and executives require more support than ever before. If you can’t keep up with the pace, you’re going to be left behind!
The skills that got you into the job won’t keep you there forever — you need to be constantly learning, growing, and adapting if you hope to stay relevant in your position. And the only way to do that is to continuously invest in your professional development. Here are a few suggestions for getting started!
1. Professional Portfolio Development
Developing your professional portfolio is an excellent way to showcase your skills and prove your capabilities to your current and future employers. It’s also one of the best tools you have to aid you in your career advancement.
But you have to put the time in to make it fantastic!
I recommend a three-pronged strategy for your portfolio:
- Print: Your print portfolio is a tangible way to document your achievements. It serves as a hard copy of all that you’ve done, and when you present it at an interview or a performance review, it immediately differentiates you from all the others, showing the value you offer to a company and the dedication you have to your profession.
- Social: A social profile (such as LinkedIn) keeps your accomplishments front and center for all the world to see, and makes it simple for opportunity to find you, rather than the other way around.
- Digital: Your digital portfolio is “the whole package” — a combination of your print and social portfolios all in one place on one website. (I recommend WordPress.com. It’s free and extremely user-friendly!) It’s a chance for an employer to “meet” you before you ever walk into their office, and it becomes a living, growing record of your skills, accomplishments, certifications, etc.
Although even one of these components is better than none, taking the initiative to put together a comprehensive professional portfolio is a great way to invest in your career!
There is always a cost to investing in your career — whether it’s money, time, or both, nothing comes free. However, the benefits of earning a certification will definitely outweigh the costs when it comes time to seek out a new job, apply for a promotion, or ask for a raise.
Whether you choose an admin-specific certification, such as Certified Administrative Professional or Qualified Administration Assistant, certification in a certain software program, or a specialty certification in something like event planning or marketing, you are going to have to put in the time, effort, and even cash to make it happen!
3. Training Opportunities
Certifications can increase your earning power and will look awesome on your resume. But some employers don’t care so much about the fancy piece of paper as they do about your ability to excel at the task in question. Free and low-cost training opportunities can often teach you the same skills without offering a certification.
The All Things Admin website is always full of information, webinars, and training opportunities for admins. Office Dynamics regularly offers free training videos for administrative professionals on subjects such as time management and travel planning tips. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Although workshops and conferences can get expensive, especially if there is travel involved, they are a fantastic way to get invaluable training, meet admins from all over the world, and expand your network!
Be sure to take advantage of all the training opportunities offered by your company, as well! Some organizations provide in-house training; others offer discounted or free outside training to admins who want to improve their skills. Don’t leave anything on the table!
No one understands the challenges you face on a daily basis like another admin, which is why it’s so important to build a network of like-minded professionals! Bounce ideas off of each other. Ask for help with your problems, and help others with theirs. Share resources, tips, and suggestions with people across town or across the ocean.
While social media is a great place to start, you can’t tap into all of your resources unless you get out and meet people! Attend local networking events, or plan your own. Start a monthly coffee group, or get involved with a professional association.
Networking is a key part of your professional development, but you have to get out from behind the keyboard to get the maximum benefit.
Most admins lead busy lives that don’t allow them to volunteer as much as they’d like. But when you do find the time, volunteering isn’t just personally rewarding — it’s a great professional investment!
Are you helping to plan a charity event for work? Document it for your portfolio! Do you need to add a new skill set to your resume, but don’t have the experience to back it up? Add your volunteer work! Volunteering will also help you meet new people you can add to your professional network.
Investing in your career — whether it’s with time, money, or effort — matters more than you think. When you choose to make your professional development a priority, you’ll always be high in demand!
© 2016 Julie Perrine International, LLC
Want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or website? You can — just as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker, and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.