How to Land that Executive Assistant Job

Julie Shenkman
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You’re a competent executive assistant, but times being what they are, you’ve been out of work for several months and haven’t been able to land a job.

The good news is you sent out a ton of resumes and you finally got called in for an interview. The bad news: it’s your second interview—the one where they’ll pick you clean, put you through the ringer and see what you’re made of. This interview will be conducted by Executive Assistants in the company—essentially your peers if you get the job.

To make sure you get the job, you’ll need to answer their questions carefully. That means having well rehearsed answers about your employment gap and how you’ve been keeping your administrative skills up to date. Be prepared to go into detail about your strengths and what you bring to the table. And be particularly adroit about explaining any weaknesses—something peer level interviewers often like to uncover.

After you’ve passed their gauntlet of inquiries, you’ll also need to ask them some questions, for you don’t want to end up in a bad situation that may land you back in the unemployment lines. Some suggestions on what to ask:
 

  •     Is this a new position? If so, what is the job description?
     
  •     If not, was the individual who previously held this position promoted?
     
  •     Has the job description for this position changed? If so, how?


There are also some "don’t ask" questions to keep in mind. For example, don’t ask about money, bonuses, vacation, sick leave, or travel reimbursements. And don't talk about promotions to a higher-level. Your peers and even your supervisor—if he or she is present—will expect you to remain and grow into the current position.

Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Beyond.com.

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  • Cynthia B
    Cynthia B
    Very interesting. Back in the early 90s, I was a recruiter with an employment agency.  In those days it was not hard to get any kind of a job (temp or perm).  One of the tools I used was a book published by the local Chamber of Commerce which listed all its business members and gave names of the key people, telephone numbers, how long they were in business, how many people worked there, etc., and I used this to make cold calls to get interviews for our employee candidates and believe me, it worked!  Right now, I have been without a job for a little over a year now; sent out hundreds of applications for jobs, gotten only a handful of interviews, and the usual run-of-the-mill rejection letter telling me that "we have decided to move forward with candidtes whose skills and experience more match, etc."  Such a "canned" phrase has been used to death!  I called two companies to task over it.  "How do you know I don't have those necessary skills?" I asked.  In reality I probably could work circles around the people they kept in the job possibility realm.  But you can't make someone hire you.  And so I move on.  It does get mighty frustrating sometimes.

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