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Drive your career into the fast lane

Put yourself in the driving seat and steer your career right to the top. JOHANNA BAKER-DOWDELL shows you how

If you’ve been meanderingalong in your career it’s time to push it into high gear – forget just fulfilling your job description and take a leaf out of Pam Brossman’s book. Pam, from Sydney, is now the CEO of global online company Social Media Woman but started her career as a receptionist. Pam wouldn’t have got to where she is now without spotting the opportunities to make herself stand out and grabbing them. While few PAs are looking to move from PA to boss, most are looking for ways to make the most of their career. Here’s how.

Take every opportunity “I saw a lot of PAs doing really well by learning PowerPoint. I decided I would master it, but little did I know that this one tool would be what made my whole career,” Pam says. “Learn a skill, become a real expert at it and use it for the benefit of other people.” Pam still uses PowerPoint now to create presentations, build her brand and even publish her online magazine. By making those senior to her look good, Pam quick- ly earned a reputation as the go-to girl when something needed to be done: “I used to take on extra work when most people had the mentality, ‘I don’t work for them, I don’t have to do it’. The more I did without asking for anything in return, the more opportunities I was given.” After working for five years as a PA, she was asked to interview for a position as a marketing executive with her former boss. Despite having no previous experience in marketing, she grabbed the opportunity and hasn’t looked back since. “She said ‘Pam you make me look

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good, and we’ll figure out the rest’”, recalls Pam. “I got a £16,000 pay rise – who’s going to say no to that?”

Position yourself at the top “Getting to the top isn’t about ‘fitting in’ so much as posi- tioning yourself as if you belonged there all along” asserts Ben Angel, author of Sleeping Your Way to the Top in Business. He suggests PAs become better communica- tors and sell others on the idea they are amazing at their jobs. “It’s done through visual communication, behav- iour, energetic engagement, knowing when to stand out and when to fit in, versatility in specific environments and cultivating the je ne sais quoi quality in every inter- action,” Ben explains. In his book he outlines the simple formula of Message + Perception = Reality, in explaining how PAs could change perceptions to get the results they want. Show others how you want to be seen through what you wear, how you look, confident body language and aligning your emotions and speech with those around you and that is what they will perceive. Ben also recommends PAs should “get into bed”, or

network, with their top contacts to ensure they get ahead. Word of mouth is critical to career success, so get out there and be seen online and off by the right people. “PAs need to step beyond their existing networks and cultivate connections to the new worlds they wish to enter. This can be done via LinkedIn, Facebook or net- working with high net worth individuals,” he advises. This feature originally appeared in Executive PA Magazine Australia.


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