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Seasoned Admin Assistant changing to Exec Assistant

I've been an admin for many years, and want to apply for exec assistant positions. Two skills that are required are event/meeting/travel planning and calendar management. There are no opportunities at my present job or employer to acquire these skills. Is there any other way these can be learned, ie. books etc?

Submitted by: Rose


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There is some great advice here! But, I'll go ahead and add some of mine. If you are interested in books on the subject of executive assistants in general, do a search at Barnes and Noble (Executive Assistants in the Book area). Travel arrangements have become much easier now with the advent of all the travel sites: Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Take some time and "book" some fake trips on one of them. You don't have to go all the way to the payment portion. You can do the same on any of the airline sites too. You can learn by doing. This way, if you are asked about your familiarity with travel arrangements, you can honestly say you are familiar with doing it. You can do the same with hotel sites. Learn by doing. You can always ask a potential boss how he prefers his travel to be arranged. Does he upgrade? Does he prefer a certain airline? You get the idea. After you have the questions addressed, you can go back and do some more training keeping those requirements in mind. Besides your general experience as an admin, the best thing you have going for you is your interest in learning how to become an EA. That's a real plus and will make you stand out. Good luck! styler8599 on 9/30/2011 12:32:37 PM
Too easy! You're doing this stuff now but probably don't realize it. Ever plan a party or large dinner? Office meeting? If you attend an event planning course at the local community college (event planning, especially wedding, is big business these days it seems), you'll find the basics are the same; the devil is in the details and scope. If you're good with details and don't get nervous easily, event planning is easy. Ever plan a trip? airline reservations, hotel reservations, itinerary, rental car reservation. You do this stuff subconsciously every day. Ever go Christmas shopping? Do you have a day planner? Do you have Outlook? Outlook calendar is designed to be shared so if you have it, work with somebody in your office to figure out the ins and outs of how it works. You'll find that managing appointments and setting up meetings is intuitive. (Word of caution, though. Modifying recurring appointments makes them exceptions and you may lose everything if you are not careful...). Bottom line? You have life experience that mirrors what is expected in the office except you might not be using somebody else's credit card and frequent flyer accounts. Experience is experience. Flaunt what you know! Good luck. Anonymous on 9/30/2011 12:28:06 PM
Calendar management will be a relatively easy skill for you to learn and is something that should not be a huge stumbling block. I would ask to sit with some of the EAs in your office and watch them, ask them to tutor you in calendar management. Ask them to include meeting invitations, resource scheduling (if available in your office), etc. If there is not an EA in your office your comfortable in asking, perhaps you have a friend who would be willing to show you after work. You can, at a minimum, then tell your prospective new employer that while your current position does not have this skillset you have been learning it with one-on-one tutoring. They would be impressed. As for the event planning. I have done this for years. Prior birthday/home party planning DOES NOT COUNT in the corporate world. Trust me. They are worlds apart - literally. I don't say this to scare you, but so you don't say that to someone interviewing you. This is something that one becomes skilled in over time, there are so many specifics to this area (vendors, venues, A/V, food/beverage, location, RFPs, contracts, etc.). There are some classes you can take. You can also contact the Meeting Professionals Intl., perhaps they have a volunteer member in your area who can help you learn enough to get you in the door of a company. You can find them at You can also contact your local Convention & Tourism Bureau, maybe they would be kind enough to let you meet with them and you could sit with one of their EAs on one of your vacation days to watch and see how they do things. Good luck! You will LOVE being an EA! Kimberly Kissel on 9/30/2011 11:19:48 AM
I found a hotel web site that really has a good overview of what you need to know: Generally, if you are booking at a location that has frequent events, meetings or conferences, they will have meeting planners onsite that can guide you through the process. Honestly, in my experience, there are always going to be snafu's - even for the most experienced planner - so learn what you can on-the-job and roll with the punches. Sharing Life's Abundance, Cindy Brock Editor - The Executary Cindy Brock on 9/30/2011 11:10:53 AM
In addition to the previous suggestions. I would check out your local community college for one day classes on event /meeting planning. Marlene Howard on 9/30/2011 11:09:39 AM
Event/meeting planning & overall project mgmt can be accomplished through volunteer work - if your schedule has the bandwidth. Find a local, reputable organization with good visibility events throughout the year. They will welcome your organizational skills and you will add valuable experience to your resume. Also, in my experience, the most valued skill an executive looks for in an assistant is maturity, independent decision-making, discretion and diplomacy. Make sure you are demonstrating those traits every day and volunteer for tasks/projects at work that bring you into more contact with your company's executives. Good luck! Anonymous on 9/30/2011 10:49:01 AM
Hello! I started as an admin. asst. & moved to Executive Assistant myself. My boss really wasn't too concerned about prior experience in either of those areas. If you have Microsoft Outlook the calendar is really simple and quick to learn. They have free tutorials on Also have great co-workers who gave me some pointers. As far as event planning, if you have ever planned a birthday party or shower you can do event planning! Basically just making phone calls to find a venue, caterer, send invitations, etc. I have seen some seminars offered on this. You might search for something in your area. Good luck! If those 2 requirements are all you're lacking they are easy & quick to learn! Anonymous on 9/30/2011 10:48:40 AM
You can always Google "event/meeting/travel planning and calendar management" training and see what you get. When in doubt, Google it :) Lisa Stanton on 9/30/2011 10:32:36 AM
Hi Rosemary, AEAP's partner, Ed2Go offers an online course in event planning. Check it out at!.html. Anonymous on 9/30/2011 9:18:30 AM

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