Administrative Professional Today recently spoke to Miriam Salpeter, career coach and author of Social Networking for Career Success, about how administrative professionals can combine social networking and traditional career strategies to empower their success.
APT: What’s the most important step an admin can take on her first day of work?
Salpeter: Be on time, smile, ask questions and remember what people tell you. Don’t ask for any special favors! Make it a point to learn people’s names. One tip: Repeat someone’s name back when you first meet: “Nice to meet you, Sarah.”
Make notes after you talk to new colleagues and they will be impressed by what you remember about them. Write down things you need to remember to do your job as well as personal things you learn. For example, if you discuss the fact that someone is going on a cruise, you can make a note and ask about the cruise later.
Another tip: Practice in advance how you will introduce yourself, and consider having a few stories or anecdotes to share with people you meet. For example, you may have an interesting story about how you learned about the company.
APT: What’s your favorite piece of advice for someone who wants to develop a satisfying career as an admin?
Salpeter: Make it a point to identify a mentor in your organization and outside the company where you work. These people may work in positions you hope to have in the future, or they may be professionals with good ideas who inspire you to do your best. Identify goals and do what you need to make sure you are moving toward them. It’s easy to become complacent and just get your work done. In this highly competitive economy, people who just do what is expected may be the first ones to lose their positions when times get tough.
Ask your boss for feedback and be open to constructive criticism. Solicit opportunities to learn new things—either by formally enrolling in a program or by attending workshops or seminars your organization provides.
Don’t forget to continue to network both inside and outside your company. Join organizations and associations, engage in social media groups and chats, and demonstrate your expertise online.
APT: How can you tell during the interview process that an organization will be a good fit?
Salpeter: Be sure you meet the person or people you will work with directly. Your first impression will be important; trust your gut. If the prospective boss doesn’t seem to have time to even meet or interview you, or seems at all unpleasant, don’t expect anything to improve once you work there.