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You’re a pro, so let them know it

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in Admins,Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Team Building

“Certification validates your skills, your knowledge, your professionalism,” says Judy Beebe, and she’s proud to list four little letters after her name, SDA/C.

Beebe, executive assistant at PB (Parsons Brinckerhoff) in Seattle, earned the “Certified Design Administrator” designation from the Society for Design Administration (SDA). The process meant going to seminars and workshops, showing leadership within the SDA and passing an oral exam.

“It was challenging,” says Beebe, who was recently selected as the winner of the 2007 OfficeTeam Administrative Excellence Award and who supervises a staff of 10 administrative assistants at PB.

Other ways to put your professional development at the forefront:

Join a professional organization. “That doesn’t mean just pay the dues and read the newsletter,” she says, “but participate.” You can chair a committee, or serve on the local or national board. Beebe joined SDA in 1983, and within three years was serving on her local board.

“I had a goal of serving on the national level, and I had a chance to do that last year as secretary,” she says. “Now I know a lot of other people inside and outside my firm.”

Take part in a certification program. “That shows you that a person takes the initiative and has mastered a technology or skill,” Beebe says. “When I got lifetime certification in SDA, I got a little bump in salary, just as an engineer at PB would. Prospective employers also look at that as a sign of professionalism.”

Get published. “Sharing your skills and your knowledge is a way to grow and be recognized. It’s also a way to network,” she says. Beebe recommends approaching associations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals and the National Association of Executive Secretaries & Administrative Assistants, with story ideas.

Look for ways to lead. Beebe has led both PB’s United Way campaign and the company’s quality improvement team, the first administrative professional to do so. Plus, she organized a series of PowerPoint training sessions for administrative staff in addition to brown-bag workshops on team building.

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