Other job seekers Erica has advised have been more interested in leveraging an administrative role into a different job. “I’ve worked with job-seeking candidates who took a receptionist role as a foot in the door at a company that interested them. After this initial job they have been able to shift into other departments such as HR, marketing, or facilities and operations management,” she says. So whether your work is a stepping stone or you are in it for the long haul, how do you build your career?
Start where you are
First you need to master the administrative or office operations role, from knowing every inch of your office to cultivating great communication. Be organized, collaborative, and detail-oriented. When Ashley Stires began her job at Tictail as the Executive Assistant and Office Manager, she spent her first nine months at the company focusing on tasks her job such as reorganizing the office and setting up a meeting structure. ”Organizing an office takes a lot time,” she reminds everyone.
Take on roles or projects related to where you want to next
“While it happened in baby steps, in only two years that I went to from being an Executive Assistant to running the full HR function in both of our offices. I was able to grow my role because tasks kept coming up and there was no one else to do them and I got to work on setting up procedures and getting them into place,” she explained.
To grow in your role like Ashley did, Erica from Clarity advises, “show an interest in a specific area, and be proactive when the time is right about pursuing growth opportunities within the company.”
Find a supportive community or mentor to help you grow
Building a career that is personally fulfilling and professionally satisfying need not be a lonely endeavor. Finding a network of peers in your field (like OrgOrg) can help you understand how to identify opportunities and and overcome challenges. You can also look further afield and get involved in community organizations and meetup groups for professions you are looking to learn more about.
Your career ambitions, as well as the companies you work for, will evolve over time. Check in with yourself regularly to ensure you are making the connections and taking on projects that will help you rise to your next role. For more career advice and to get to know other operations professionals visit All Hands and join our newsletter.
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