Administrative Professional Today

While relationships between employees and their bosses have always seen their ups and downs, the turbulent economy may be forging stronger ties as employees look to shore up their job security.

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Whether penning an e-mail update for your manager, an all-staff memo or a letter of complaint to a vendor, you are striking up a relationship. Deborah Dumaine, author of Write to the Top, recommends that before you write, plan your document by running through the questions on this Focus Sheet.

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Dreams of a pay increase may be put on hold, but that doesn’t mean giving up on the idea forever. Eventually, the economy will shake itself out of its doldrums, and employees will once again be in the position to negotiate robust raises. In the meantime, lay the groundwork for a future raise.

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Demand for highly skilled administrative professionals will remain steady this year, predicts the 2009 Salary Guides from Robert Half International. While starting salaries for admins are expected to rise 2.6% on average in 2009, employees with specific skills can command even more.

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Not surprisingly, there are better ways to persuade others to listen to your message. Communications expert Jennifer Benz, of Benz Communications, advises sticking to the “four corners” of effective employee communication.

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Much more than a gatekeeper, a good executive assistant can double or triple a boss’s efficiency by staying one step ahead of him or her. The more an assistant can predict an executive’s needs, the less he or she will need to interrupt.

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In Working Girl, Melanie Griffith overhauls her appearance so others will take her seriously. In the real world, it takes more than a wardrobe change to lift your on-the-job reputation from “wet behind the ears” to “wise beyond your years.” Indeed, changing the perception others have of you at work can take up to 18 months …

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Emily Morgan works 60 to 70 hours a week and doesn’t even get a steady paycheck. You would think she’d loathe her boss, but you’d be wrong. Morgan is a virtual assistant (VA) and chooses how much work she takes on and how many hours she works. Ever wonder whether a VA career might be right for you?

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The trouble with that New Year’s resolution to declutter your desk is that it didn’t stick. It’s back to its old cluttered self. “You want to create new habits that last more than a week,” personal coach Miranda Kennet says. Five habits worth adopting:

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Create a cheat sheet for emergencies and leave it on your desk … Monitor spending with online tools … Reach out to someone who has been laid off … Be a valuable connection from the moment you invite someone into your LinkedIn network.

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