Are You Really Ready to Go Remote? 

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

In a culture where working remotely is booming, it makes sense that it’s perked your interest. Who wouldn’t want to work from home? Roll out of bed, power up your laptop and answer emails, all while in pajamas…sounds like a dream! Especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it feels like almost everyone has the opportunity to work remotely, it can feel like the ultimate goal. While flexibility to work from home when needed is a lovely perk, are you sure you’re ready to go remote full-time? Let’s dig a little deeper… 

Communication Complications 

Let’s be honest, communication can be hard enough. Now add emails, calls, and texts on top of that with no chance to have any face-to-face interaction. I know there’s Skype and Zoom, but I’m talking about real face-to-face, human interaction. Without the opportunity to sync up in-person with your Executive, things can easily get lost in translation – especially if your Executive is an over/under-communicator. With an over-communicator, it will be more difficult to weed out the unnecessary information; with an under-communicator, since you’re not onsite, it will be harder to fill in the gaps.  

Out of the Loop  

A huge part of being a great Executive Assistant is being able to anticipate your Executive’s needs. Unfortunately, when working remotely, it’s challenging to keep a pulse on ever-changing priorities, and therefore it’s much easier to fall out of the loop. When you are a remote employee, it can feel like your role is much more transactional. It’s harder to provide strategic support without being in the office to collaborate with your Executive and the rest of your team.  

Lack of Social Stimulation  

Speaking of teams, who doesn’t love some good ol’ office banter? When you work from home, you miss out on those workplace relationships and just being around people in general. Yes, it’s totally acceptable to talk to your dog, but does it really count as a conversation? When you’re not in the office, you miss out on having all of those inside jokes with your colleagues and, dare I say, the office gossip!  

Distractions 

Curve ball: there are actually fewer distractions when you work from home. You might think this is a good thing, right? Wrong. Distractions are mini “brain breaks” – they allow you to take a breather from your work and then re-approach it with a fresh perspective. Working in an office provides many opportunities for these much-needed “brain breaks,” whether you’re popping out for a coffee or collaborating with a coworker, which ultimately improves your quality of work.  

No Clear Boundaries  

It’s much harder to set boundaries between work life and home life. When working remotely, you don’t have the luxury of hitting the light-switch in your brain that tells you to kick it into high gear, or to clock out for the lunch hour… it all just sort of blends together. Believe it or not, this can actually lead to burnout. Check out our blog post on combatting that! 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind 

Enough said. When you work remotely, it’s difficult to be recognized for the work that you do, which ultimately means you’re slower to getting promoted, and you have less opportunity to grow in your role. Again – out of sight, out of mind.  

Are You Ready? 

There are many advantages to working remotely and we’re all way too familiar with them, but there are other factors to take into consideration. Before you decide to pursue this specific dream job just because it’s remote, be sure to take some time to consider all the implications. Working remotely isn’t for everyone and that’s okay! 

How to Avoid Summertime Sadness: Achieving Work-Life Balance

Written by Julia Francis

Written by Julia Francis

The Fourth of July has come and gone, and we are officially in full swing of summer! With longer days and (hopefully) more sunshine on the horizon, you might be catching yourself gazing out of your office window as you daydream about sandy beaches and piña coladas. Unfortunately, this can also lead to the feeling of burn out. The solution? Finding work-life balance in your daily routine and carving out some well-deserved “you time” because sometimes you need to be a little selfish.

For those of you who don’t work a typical nine-to-five workday, it’s especially important that you’re mindful about creating some work-life balance in your life (especially during the summertime!). It’s always important to make time for the people and things that you love, but this can seem like it’s exponentialized during the summer. Whether your kids are on school break or your significant other gets to take off early on “Summer Fridays,” it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one missing out.

I’m sure your job ebbs and flows just like everyone else’s. Maybe you’re firing on all cylinders to prepare for an important board meeting – if that’s the case, now is not the time to try to make that Wednesday happy hour with your girlfriends! However, chances are, your projects will slow down at some point, or your Executive will go on vacation. This is the time to set boundaries and carve out time for yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, “you time” is equally as important for those of you with a nine-to-five schedule. Because let’s be real, just because you get off at 5 pm doesn’t mean that you can’t burn out. This brings me to my next point. Do you have stacked up PTO? If so, use it! Take it from me, I used to be the kind of person who only took PTO when I absolutely had to. Even if you don’t have a vacation planned this summer, plan a three-day weekend! It doesn’t have to be anything crazy – it can even be a staycation (my personal favorite).

On the contrary, maybe you do have vacations planned, but they feel more like obligations (weddings, family reunions, etc.). Don’t fool yourself, this can also lead to burnout. If you don’t take the time to recharge, and I mean really recharge, you might return to the office feeling more exhausted than you did before you left for your trip. Some easy solutions? If you have PTO, tack on an extra day so you can spend a day at home relaxing. In other words, don’t fly home on a Sunday night and expect yourself to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at work on Monday morning. Instead, fly home Saturday so you can spend your Sunday in solace – whatever that might look like for you.

Here’s the bottom line: summertime sadness is a real thing. Burnout is a real thing. “You time” is definitely a real thing. And the better you take care of yourself, the better your performance will be in the office. You’ll be more present, more energized, more proactive and ultimately, more impactful. And chances are, your rejuvenated energy in the office won’t go unnoticed by your Executive, and who knows, maybe taking a vacation will end up propelling your career forward! You just never know.

As our good friend Katy Perry once said “Baby, you’re a firework!” Now go pencil some much-needed “you time” into your schedule so your spark doesn’t go out!

Happy Summer!

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Seeking a New Administrative Role

Feeling that Itch to Try Something New?

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

Maybe you’re reading this article because there’s something inside of you telling you it’s time to make a move. But before you get to where you want to go, you need to understand where you’re coming from. And for that reason, we’ve crafted the perfect checklist to prepare you for or refine your job search. As you sift through these questions, an obvious answer might jump out – for others, you might need to dig a little deeper. So, break out your pen and paper (or let’s be real, your iPhone or iPad), because this is an interactive article!  

1. Why Are You Looking for A New Role?  

For some, an external force might be driving your job search. Or perhaps it’s just a gut feeling you have, a thought that has been growing bigger and bigger in the back of your head. Maybe you’ve been with your company for five years and want to see what’s out there; maybe you want to try a new industry, shorten your commute, or you’re simply seeking a greater challenge. Regardless of the reason, be sure it’s clear what’s motivating you to look for something new.  

2. What Are Your Responsibilities in Your Current Role?  

This might be tedious, and the list probably goes on and on, but trust me, it’s important. You do a lot in your role – I know you do! And sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much you do. When I’m talking with someone who is looking to make a career move, I always ask them to make a mental pie chart of their responsibilities. What are your main “pie pieces” and how much time are you giving to each? When you break it down this way, you might realize that 85% of your time is going towards scheduling (and rescheduling). Or you might discover that Office Manager piece is taking up more of your time than you originally thought. Either way, this pie chart helps us answer our next two questions.  

3. What Is Your Favorite Part of Your Role?  

What lights you up? What energizes you? Which piece of your pie chart brings you the most fulfillment? Think about this. Yes, it could be project management or event planning. Or maybe it’s providing EQ support to your Executive, ghost-writing on his/her behalf, or who knows, maybe you love travel coordination! Whatever it is, identify what you love about your role, and make it a goal to keep that piece of pie (and maybe even increase it) in your next move.  

4. What Is Your Least Favorite Part of Your Role?  

Okay, so realistically, some of these things are unavoidable. Chances are, you will always have to reschedule meetings, cancel flights, etc. But maybe you realized that 40% of your time is going to office management duties, and you really want to focus on your EA role. It could be that you’re supporting seven executives and feel spread too thin. Or maybe you’ve realized that HR is where your heart belongs and it’s time to let go of the admin piece. Again, identify whatever you don’t love about your role, and make it a goal to decrease it in your next move.  

5. What Intangibles Are Important to You?  

This could be so many things. Think of this question in terms of both the Executive that you are supporting as well as the company you are joining. Do you appreciate a warm office culture that works hard and laughs harder? Maybe you know that direct communication is important to you – you like having clear objectives and goals, so you know you wouldn’t do well working with a “mad scientist” type of Executive.  

6. What’s Important to You in A Company?  

Industry, size, stability, funding, leadership, innovation, benefits, mission, location… the options are endless. Before you take on this question, take a step back and consider the bigger picture because the company you work for will have major implications on your everyday life. I’m sure we all have wish-lists that run long, but let’s narrow it down to the things that truly matter. So, tell me, what are the three most important things to you in a company?  

7. What Are You Hoping Gain in Your Next Role?  

There is no wrong answer here, so don’t be shy. It is totally okay to say that you want more money. More responsibility. Maybe you’re looking for a change in title. When you think about taking the next step in your career, don’t be afraid to look one or two steps ahead and visualize your life in ten years. Your next role doesn’t have to be your forever role! Or maybe you don’t want to look ten years ahead and you are just looking for a role where you can wear jeans to work. To that I say, cheers!  

8. What Are Your Non-Negotiables? 

All right, this is an important question. Whether it’s compensation, PTO, or only supporting one executive, whatever it is, BE CLEAR – both with yourself and the companies you are interviewing with. Nothing is worse than getting to the offer stage of a role and then having it fall through because you weren’t communicating your needs and expectations. Maybe you found your dream company in Mountain View, but last-minute you decide that the commute really isn’t doable for your lifestyle and you decline the offer. That’s a lose/lose situation, my friends. Know your non-negotiables prior to going into your search.  

9. Are You Ready to Put the Time and Commitment into Interviewing?  

Let’s be honest here: interviewing can be exhausting. And if your company doesn’t know that you are looking, it can mean having to get creative with why you’re popping out of the office or why you have so many “appointments.” Interview processes can also move surprisingly quickly at times. So the question is, are you truly ready should the stars align? 

10. What Are You Waiting For?  

You’re ready? Great! Let’s get this ball rolling! If you’re looking to take some of the legwork out of this process, look no further. Maven has an amazing team of recruiters who will serve you amazing opportunities on a silver platter, all while walking you through the process, prepping you for interviews and setting you up for major success in finding your dream role! Check out our website here to see some of the exciting roles we are working on. We look forward to working with you!  

 

How to Tell Your Executive You Want to Take on More 

Executive Assistants and Special Projects 

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

So you’re tired of being referred to as a true-blue “traditional” EA. You want something more because you know you’re capable of more – you have the time, you have the passion, you have the strengths, all you have to do now is pop the question to your Executive.  

Maybe you’ve played out the scenario multiple times in your head or perhaps you’re stumped trying to find the right words. Some of you may be worried about offending your boss, or you’re just flat-out scared of rejection. It’s normal to second-guess yourself, or to ask yourself whether it’s the right time, or wonder if you’ve truly earned this next step in your career. You might even be wondering if your Executive trusts or values you enough.  

Here’s the good news: we wrote this blog for people exactly like you. Yup, this is for all the Executive Assistants sitting in the same hot seat you’re in. And we’re making it simple by breaking down our advice to five main points. 

1. Take a Step Back 

Before you add more to your workload, do yourself a favor and take a step back to evaluate your current role. Refresh yourself with the original job description that you were given – you should be able to check off anything and everything on that list before you go asking for more. If so, think about the ways in which you’ve gone above and beyond the tasks you’ve been given. Next, think about the industry you’re in and the organizational structure you’re a part of. Are there special projects for you to work on? Does your Executive need additional help? Will you be able to continue doing your current job while adding to it? These are good questions to ask yourself before moving forward. 

2. Be Confident  

You’ll need to channel your emotional intelligence for this one because too much confidence will kill your chances and not enough confidence will too. My mother-in-law once taught me that you don’t want to be passive and you don’t want to be aggressive, which leaves being assertive as the happy medium. This advice rings true in just about every social situation, both personally and professionally. Whether you’re asking your boss for a promotion or you’re asking the waiter to reheat your meal, assert yourself. Put simply, asserting yourself is just a way of being your own advocate in a polite and respectful way. When you address the situation with confidence, your boss will likely be impressed with your thoughtfulness and preparation, which means you win!  

3. It’s All in the Details 

When your wedding coordinator or 5th grade art teacher told you “it’s all in the details,” you probably didn’t think they were imparting a greater life lesson. Believe it or not, they were. Your boss wants to know that you’ve prepared for this conversation. You’ve strategized and you’ve done it thoughtfully. When you present this idea to your Executive, be sure to back yourself up with the data, the plan and the details – you probably won’t go through all the nitty-gritty, but it’s there just in case. After the high-level conversation, you can share your pretty spreadsheet with your boss and voila, you’re already three steps ahead of the game.  

4. Call It Out 

The worst thing you can do is say, “I’m ready to take on more!” without having the slightest clue what that actually looks like. You need to call it out and be specific. Is there a cross-functional team you're hoping to help out? Are you wanting to play to your strengths by diving into a specific area of the business? Are you just bored and wish you had a more significant workload? Have you been brainstorming how you can solve a specific problem? When you can confidently answer the question, “What exactly would you like to take on?” you’re ready to chat with the decision maker. 

5. Timing is Everything 

Despite the cliché, timing really is everything. Asking the minute you’ve fully ramped up on your current role is not the right timing – remember, your co-workers have taken time out of their day to train and onboard you. Bringing up the conversation before you’ve mapped out the details and prepared for pushback is also not the right timing – don't jump the gun and embarrass yourself. However, chances are, if you’re reading this article then you’re nearing the right timing. And for those of you who have already spoken with your significant other or best friend about what you’re going to say, you’re on the right track. For the EAs who have mapped out and color-coded the spreadsheet you’re going to present to your boss, you’re even closer. And for the rest of you who have Googled every article to give you the validation you need to schedule that precious one-on-one time with your boss, it’s time. Go and ask for it! 

5 Apps Every Executive Assistant Should Have in their Back Pocket

Because You Deserve a Secret Weapon, Too! 

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

Behind every successful Executive is his/her secret weapon: YOU. As an Executive Assistant, you handle the behind-the-scenes work to make your Executive as efficient as possible. But if someone were to ask you what your secret weapon is, what would you say? If you’re thinking, “Oh no! I don’t have one, but I sure could use one!” then we’re glad you’re reading this. 

Here’s the cool part. In the SF Bay Area, we live and work in the heart of technology and innovation. Heck, maybe you even work for one of these cutting-edge companies that plan to change the world. So why not take advantage of the tools that are designed to make your life easier, the products that have been built with you in mind. 

Let’s break it down and say that the five overarching aspects of an administrative role include scheduling, travel coordination, event planning, expense reporting and task management. We’ve picked out our five favorite apps that meet these exact categories, so if you haven’t already, download these five game-changing apps. You deserve to have a secret weapon, too! 

1. Calendly [Scheduling] 

You and I both know that an EA isn’t an EA without some mad calendar management skills. And, believe us when we say that our clients are looking for a calendar guru – someone who can schedule in their sleep. An Executive Assistant without a scheduling app to make their life easier is like a dog walker without a leash… you get the point. Rather than emailing back-and-forth with your Executive, with Calendly, you’re the one in charge. By indicating your Executive’s availability, invitees are able to view your Executive’s schedule and select a time that works best for them. Voila! 

2. Travelocity [Travel Coordination] 

Travel Coordination to the Executive Assistant role is like peanut butter and jelly: you can't have one without the other. Whether you’re organizing domestic or international itineraries or planning accommodations from start-to-finish, Travelocity is the tool for you. You know you’ll probably have to book a last-minute flight to Chicago, or Hong Kong, or Los Angeles, so before you panic or scramble (and/or blow your entire budget on one trip), remember that Travelocity is an online travel agency that will help you with the logistics AND the deals! 

3. Asana [Event Planning] 

If you’ve ever planned an event, you'll be the first to say that you need some way to organize your thoughts, get your creative juices flowing, assign tasks to others and, at the end of the day, just make sure all your ducks are in a row before the big day. Introducing Asana, your new best friend. Why? Because Asana lets you execute all of the above. From checklists to timelines, you’ll look like a professional event planner in no time (and hopefully you won’t have to encounter any Executive-zillas!). 

4. Expensify [Expense Reports] 

One of the most dreaded projects EAs talk about is managing expense reports (especially if your Executive is constantly traveling). Dread no more: Expensify is your new secret weapon. Simply upload screenshots or iPhone photos of your receipts and boom, consider it done. Say goodbye to itemizing because this app automatically records and submits your expenses. And if you haven’t watched their 2019 Superbowl commercial yet, you’ve been missing out. YouTube. Now. 

5. Slack [Task Management] 

When you’re expected to juggle multiple projects and adapt to ever-changing priorities, you need Slack in your life. No matter how much of an office ninja you are, I can bet you could use a task management tool to keep you sane and to keep your Executive on task. Slack centralizes your communication through channels organized by project, topic, team, or your Executive’s favorite sports team... it’s up to you! With Slack, the ball is in your court and you’ll never miss an important task. 

As an Executive Assistant, you already have enough on your plate, but thankfully there’s this thing called technology that’s designed to make your life easier, your stress lighter and your Executive more efficient.

PS: The majority of these apps are free, but if not, it’s on the company’s dime. ;) 

The Secret Success to Managing Up 

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

Okay, real talk. We all know that sometimes we need to “manage up” to our managers. Whether it’s because they are in back-to-back meetings with no time to catch a breath, they have their hands in on multiple ventures, or perhaps they’re just a space-cadet (sometimes the most brilliant Executives are just that), it’s up to us to make sure that our Executive is as productive, efficient and effective as possible. (No pressure, right?) 

Chances are, this is probably something that you’re already doing on a daily basis. However, the act of managing up is truly an art, and one that can always be perfected (I, myself, have made many a faux pas in this exact department). As an Executive Assistant, managing up is a huge part of the role and if you can manage up well, it’s only the better for your career.  

So, you’re wondering, “What’s the secret sauce?” 

1. Understand what “Managing Up” Means 

No big surprise here. Managing up quite literally means managing your manager: in your case, your Executive. As in any situation in life, at work and in your role, you have agency. Managing up means using that agency to lead your Executive, rather than follow.  

2. Build a Relationship on the Foundation of Trust  

This obviously takes time. I’ve met Executives who give their full trust at a drop of a hat, and alternatively, I’ve met Executives where it takes blood, sweat and tears to gain their trust. If you’ve been supporting your Executive for a while, you probably know where they fall on this spectrum and where you stand in terms of your relationship. If you are supporting a new Executive, leverage the team around you to gather intel.  

How do you gather said trust? Simply be being the exceptional EA that you are! (If you need a little refresher, go read our blog post on “The 10 Intangibles of an Exceptional Executive Assistant.”

3. Understand Your Boss(es)’s Business Priorities  

In order to manage up successfully, you need to have a pulse on your Executive’s business priorities so that you’re able to execute on them. I can only assume that your boss is pulled in a million different directions – and it’s up to you to help navigate where her/his time goes.  

For example, maybe your Executive loves getting that 1:1 time in with their direct reports, but they’re losing 5+ hours a week in meetings with them, which means they aren’t getting enough facetime with their portfolio companies. YOU are in charge of their schedule, so YOU are in charge of their time. Assist in developing an agenda for the 1:1 check-ins so that there is structure to the conversation, and maybe stagger the 1:1s so that your Executive is meeting with each direct report every other week, cutting down on time spent in 1:1s and opening up more time to spend with their portfolio companies.  

4. When You Identify a Problem, Come with a Solution 

This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned! Whenever you identify a problem, it is imperative that you approach your Executive with a solution.  

Let’s say you walk up to your Executive and say, “Hey Lisa, I noticed that you’re spending over five hours a week in 1:1s with your direct reports, but you aren’t hitting your onsite goals for your portfolio companies.” Um…awkward. That’s not going to help anyone out. 

Instead, try this: “Hi Lisa, earlier you mentioned you’d like to find more time to spend with your portfolio companies. I was looking at your calendar and noticed that you’re spending over five hours a week in 1:1s with your direct reports. I created a meeting agenda that you can try out to help streamline the conversation, and I think we should test-drive staggering the 1:1s so you only meet with each direct report every other week. This will open up a couple extra hours for you to focus on your portfolio companies.” Whew…much better! 

5. Bring Concrete Evidence and Information to the Table 

This one is short, sweet and straightforward. It’s important that you always bring concrete evidence and information to the conversation. Instead of telling your boss, “Lisa, you’re spending a lot of time in 1:1s each week,” say, “Lisa, I audited your calendar and found that you are spending over five hours each week in 1:1s with direct reports.” Chances are, Lisa probably didn’t even realize how much time she was spending with her direct reports! When you give hard evidence, it helps give perspective and ultimately gives you credibility. 

6. Honor Your Instincts While Honoring Their Time  

Part of managing up means making judgement calls. In an environment where you’re constantly on your toes and operating on all cylinders, I’m sure things are getting thrown at you and your Executive left and right. Honor your instincts: you know their business priorities, you know their schedule, you know their clients, you can make a judgement call. Honor their time – only escalate what needs to be escalated. This is a perfect recipe for success. Trust yourself! 

7. Push Back and Don’t Back Down 

Okay, I’m not saying that you should go all “Bruce Banner” or anything. I’m just saying that sometimes you will have to stand your ground. Sometimes (most of the time), you know what your Executive needs more than they know what they need. It’s okay to give pushback; it’s okay not to back down. In fact, most of the Executives we work with here at Maven look for an EA who has a strong backbone.  

8. The Secret Sauce 

Spoiler alert: it’s actually not a secret. In fact, it’s the first thing that I mentioned. A relationship built on trust is going to be your key to success, plain and simple. Now believe in yourself – you got this!  

The 10 Intangibles of an Exceptional Executive Assistant 

Do You Have Them? 

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

At Maven, we're all about the intangibles. In fact, we get the real skinny by working directly with the people making the hiring decisions. Connecting with senior management enables us to truly understand the company's philosophy and culture and the idiosyncrasies of the search—all the important but intangible elements that can't be found in a job description. 

One of the first questions we ask our clients is to identify the intangibles of an exceptional Executive Assistant. They quantify the qualities and characteristics of their ideal candidate, which can be dialed down to any number of things, like emotional intelligence, grit, a scrappy work ethic or a heart to help.  

As we partner with some of the Bay Area’s most well-established and up-and-coming Executives, we’ve got a pulse on what our clients believe to be exceptional. And as advocates for thousands of Executive Assistants in the Bay Area, we're able to spot an exceptional EA when we see one. Here’s what it takes to stand out in this saturated market. 

1. Assertiveness 

When supporting a high-caliber Executive, being assertive is one of those qualities that can really make or break it for you. You know how it goes – you’re supporting a Founder who’s ramping up a Series-C Startup and all you can think is, “When on earth does this wo/man sleep?” That’s where you come in: when it comes to taking initiative, providing insightful push-back or making key business decisions on your Executive’s behalf, asserting yourself is absolutely vital to your success. This might even mean telling them when they need to take a nap. Seriously.  

2. Confidence

Nine times out of ten, an Executive will say to us that they want a confident EA: someone who knows their job, does it well and feels confident taking on more. Confidence is “managing up” your Executive when necessary. It’s instilling confidence in your Executive by staying on-the-ball and never letting a detail slip through the cracks. Confidence is also an attitude; it means that some days you’re going to have to fake it until you make it, and that’s okay too. 

3. Intellectual Curiosity 

In this industry, Executives want to know that you’re hungry to learn, that you want to expand your horizons, grow your skillset and capitalize on your career. This is often how Executive Assistant roles turn into strategic partnerships – when you’re intellectually curious about the business or your specific industry, the opportunity to work on special projects will very likely fall into your lap before you know it. 

4. Adaptability 

Can you roll with the punches? Do you crack under pressure? Can you handle the complexity of a fast-paced industry with poise? Many of our Execs say they’re looking for someone who’s calm, cool and collected – someone who’s flexible and able to bounce back from hurdles. An exceptional Executive Assistant is multi-faceted, a jack of all trades when it comes to office management or personal assistant responsibilities. 

5. Problem Solver

When you break it down, any and every Executive will say they want results. They want someone who is solutions-oriented, success-driven and ready to solve problems like it’s a jigsaw puzzle. Because when it comes down to it, being an EA is putting out constant fires – whether it’s booking a last-minute flight to ensure your Executive makes a spur of the moment business meeting or making a day-of schedule change to accommodate your Executive’s shifting priorities. 

6. Personable 

At the end of the day, our clients want to work with a real. human. being. And before you utter the word "duh" under your breath, listen closely. To be an all-star, you have to understand people, you have to maintain relationships, and you have to make a personable impression on clients and the people you work with. You are an extension of your Executive, which means that when you remember to send a baby gift to a potential investor or ask a business partner how their vacation to Maui was, it reflects positively on your Executive, and might even lead to a big deal.  

7. Grit 

In every aspect of your role, your Executive wants to see that you are strong-willed. Grit shows that you have courage, strength, character and passion for what you do. Treating your work like you have skin in the game shows that you’re committed to persevering through any obstacle. 

8. High EQ 

Emotionally, you get it. Relationships are your thing. You pick up on social cues, you recognize different personalities and you can adjust your communication accordingly. When it comes to making a judgement call, your Executive is confident in your ability because you have a pulse on every factor. 

9. Supportive 

An exceptional Executive Assistant, no matter how experienced, successful, prestigious or award-winning, must be willing to roll up his/her sleeves and lend a helping hand when needed. Having a “no task is too small” attitude, a strong work ethic and a servant heart shows that you appreciate the very nature of your role. When you look at the foundation of the EA role, it was designed and intended to meet the needs of others, and your mentality should be the same. 

10. Trust

Above all else, trust is essential to any partnership – especially one of this stature. When asking our clients to provide us with their must-haves, most everyone finishes off their list by telling us they need someone dependable, reliable, committed, honest, confidential and trustworthy. Whether it’s having access to confidential documents or ghost-writing on your Executive’s behalf, this is a highly personal role which requires an incredible amount of trust. And with trust, you are no longer kept in the “Executive Assistant box,” but rather considered an invaluable asset, confidant and partner. 

If you feel that you resonate with the qualities above, we encourage you to leverage these intangibles to your benefit. These are the touch points you want to convey when interviewing, and these are the traits you want to highlight when giving specific examples of your work ethic and experience.  

Being exceptional isn’t something you’re born with or something you can gain overnight, but with mindfulness and a little practice, you’ll find yourself leaping milestones in your EA career.  

Five Reasons to Ask Your Executive for Constructive Feedback

Yup, Even the Superhero Ea’s— There’s Still More for You to Learn!

Written by: Julia Francis

Written by: Julia Francis

Feedback can sound scary, and you might even ask yourself why you would ever go out of your way to ask for it. Things are going just fine, so why disturb your boss’s busy schedule just so s/he can tell you about all the things you’re doing wrong? But before you make your way down the “negative nancy” path, ask yourself this: how many relationships do you know that have fallen apart due to a lack of feedback?

Feedback can mean a number of things. It’s all relative: anything from you telling your significant other, “It annoys me when you don’t put the toilet seat down,” to Steph Curry telling his teammate, “You need to change your attitude on the court!” When we don’t have open lines of communication, relationships suffer. While you might not consider your partnership with your boss a relationship, it is! And just like any relationship, communication and feedback are vital to success.

Need a little more convincing? Here are five (darn good!) reasons to ask your Executive for constructive feedback!

#1: Feedback is Always There (And Executives May Be as Nervous to Give It as You Are to Get It!)

Just because you aren’t given feedback doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You manage your Executive’s calendar – you know the deal. There isn’t a lot of time in the day, and sometimes day-to-day urgent tasks take priority over other important ones like giving feedback. Furthermore, your Executive relies on you to keep things running smoothly and might not want to rock the boat or cause friction in a relationship that isn’t broken. But just being “unbroken” isn’t what you’re aiming for, is it? If your goal is to excel in your role, then asking for feedback might be the single best way to figure out how to achieve that goal. And before you say, “But my I’m running on all cylinders and my Exec has back-to-back meetings all day,” I know you can find five minutes to schedule time for this conversation! It’s worth it. And may I remind you that you’re the one who controls the calendar! ;)

#2: Take Responsibility for Your Own Performance

Asking your Executive for constructive feedback shows that you’re invested and ambitious when it comes to your work. It’s safe to say that any boss appreciates an employee who takes initiative and ownership for their own growth and performance. By approaching your boss with this one question, not only will you discover career growth opportunities, but you will enhance their trust and confidence in you. Ding-ding-ding! You may be in line for a promotion before you know it.

#3: We All Have Blind Spots

Even if you are a Superhuman EA (which I know most of you are), there is always opportunity for improvement. Why do you think Batman has Alfred, his trusted butler? It’s because we all have blind spots, and we count on the people around us to help identify them so we can have better visibility. When thinking about your work life, who better to identify your blind spots than the person(s) you directly support?

#4: Motivation – It Keeps Our Engine Running

I don’t know about you, but when I feel like I have mastered my role and can do my job with my eyes closed, I get…bored. But here’s the thing: there is always room for improvement. Constructive feedback is just one tool to help keep our engine running. Even if you feel like you’ve outgrown your role, asking for constructive feedback is a great way to fully prepare yourself for the next step in your career!

#5: It Might Just Lead to Bigger and Better Things

Asking for constructive feedback can open doors! By proactively approaching your Executive, you’re letting him/her know that you are worth investing in. Whether you are looking to take on more responsibility, or you have your eye on a conference that will further your professional development, asking for constructive feedback is a great way to turn your goals into a reality!

Convinced? Good!

Now that you know why constructive feedback is so important, go plug some 1:1 time on your Executive’s calendar to have this fruitful conversation.

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Maven Recruiting Group Gave to Me: 12 Questions for My Job Search in 2019

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

‘Tis the season to be jolly... and reflective! We encourage you to spend the final moments of 2018 celebrating your achievements from this past year and, if contemplating a job change next year, taking some time to think about what your job “wish-list” looks like. So grab your slippers and a cup of peppermint cocoa, because it’s time to cozy up and have a “real-talk” with yourself.  

We’ve come up with 12 critical questions to ask yourself before kicking off your 2019 job search. We promise there will still be time to binge-watch your favorite Hallmark movies afterward! 

1. What’s so holly-jolly about your current role? 

Is it the fast-paced nature of your position or the ever-changing day-to-day that gets you up and motivated in the morning? Think about the specific projects and tasks you do on a regular basis that make you genuinely happy. We get it – work is work, but what’s the added value that you are gaining from your position, or hope to gain in your next role? 

2. Future Career Resolution? 

New Year's Resolutions are great and all, but have you ever sat down and taken the time to dream about your career resolutions? You might find it quite invigorating! We encourage you to think about your dream role and where you are on that path. Moreover, what are you hoping to contribute or learn in your next role to keep you squarely on that trajectory?   

3. What’s at the top (and bottom) of your Career Christmas list? 

Without being a Scrooge, what can you live without? Maybe you’re open in terms of base salary, but full medical coverage is a must. Maybe a generous 401K/retirement program is essential to you, or you’re more motivated by daily lunches and snacks. We all have our ideals, but also consider the rank order of your priorities and which areas you’re willing to compromise on. It’s helpful to be thinking about these things upfront so that you’re not caught off guard when it's time to make a decision.   

4. Unbox the Christmas lights and put up that 10-year-old Frosty: how can you recycle and leverage all your previously-learned skills? 

So maybe you’re ready to switch gears. Whether changing industries or roles, take the time to ponder your transferable skills. Potential future employers will expect you to be able to relate your experience to their needs, so start thinking about how best to do that.  

5. Who are the little elves in my life willing to help me with my job search? 

As the carol says, “say hello to friends you know and everyone you meet.” Whether it’s reaching out to your circle of friends or your professional network, be willing to ask for help and introductions from the elves in your life, who already know and vouch for you.  And don’t hesitate to call upon those professional elves either, like the recruiting team at Maven Recruiting Group, who are here year-round to help you find and land your ideal job!   

6. Sugar and spice and everything nice? 

Two of the elements employers appreciate most in a potential hire are resiliency and tenacity. Before you launch into a job search, ask yourself whether you’ve done all you can to make the most of your current position or work through challenges. A candidate who appears to be flippant or runs when the “going gets tough” is far less appealing to a potential employer than one who made an impact and improved things before departing.  

7. Not to sound like the Grinch, but when's the last time you've updated your resume and LinkedIn profile?  

If you’re sinking in your seat thinking “2015?” it’s time for a refresh. Think clean, simple, professional and YOU. The goal here is to stand out (positively) so make sure you are representing yourself in the best light. Remember your LinkedIn profile and your resume are likely to be the FIRST impression you make, so make them count! Building out your resume is itself a reflective exercise that will help you further clarify your accomplishments and what you hope to do in your next role.  

8. Sleigh ride or flying reindeer: what’s your preferred commute? 

We all wish we had some magical reindeer to get us around in a flash, but unfortunately real life isn’t all jingle-jangle. And especially in the Bay Area, this is an important question to consider. Think about your life outside of work. What makes sense in terms of a daily commute? Are you willing to drive? Is picking up your child from school or being biking-distance away from home important to you? If you haven’t given to much thought to this question in the past, it’s time to start because this is one of the first questions your Recruiter will ask you. 

9. Suit and Christmas tie or denim and ugly Christmas sweater? 

Before you think we’ve had too much eggnog, we believe these are real conversations to have. If you prefer more straight-and-narrow, chances are you’ll appreciate the structure of a polished professional services firm. If you’re more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, chances are you’ll enjoy the ever-changing nature of a scrappy tech startup. There’s no right or wrong, just know what you like to avoid wasting time (both yours and your future employer’s!). 

10. If you were given all the Christmas magic, who’d be your dream boss to work for? 

Are you the little kid on the nice list looking for daily kudos? Would you prefer to report to an Exec who’s as sweet as gingerbread? Or maybe you’re more like the kid who needs his parents threatening to take away Christmas gifts in order to be on your best behavior. Your relationship with your manager is a huge part of your work life – as the saying goes, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers – so take some time to ponder about what management style works best for you. 

11. "Bye Buddy, hope you find your dad!” When should you wave goodbye to your current employer? 

Goodbyes are never easy, so it’s natural to wonder when’s the right time to move on. Ask yourself why you want to leave your current role? Maybe the growth opportunity just isn’t there, or you feel you’ve already exhausted you’re learning trajectory, or maybe you’re planning to move cities and the commute just doesn’t make sense. Whatever the reason, be sure to give this question some serious thought so you know you’re leaving for the right reasons.  

12. How early should I start my holiday shopping for next year? 

Like yesterday. And the same goes for when you should kick off your job search. But not to fear, this is a candidate-driven market and many of our clients are looking to make hires faster than your cart zooming through the aisles of Target. PS: Maven Recruiting Group is kicking off 2019 with some new roles that are hotter than your cocoa. 

And a partridge in a pear tree! 

We hope you find this season of reflecting to be insightful and rewarding as you gear up for the new year and begin a new job search. In case you need some help along the way, one of Santa’s elves told us that Maven Recruiting Group is the agency to call to assist you with your job search. Our goal for 2019 is to help make your career goals come true. *Cue the fireworks and confetti* 

Cheers & Happy Holidays! 

-Maven Recruiting Group 

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Maven Recruiting Group Gave to Me: 12 Hiring Observations of 2018

Written by: Haley Garrison

Written by: Haley Garrison

During this reflective time of year, we encourage you to cozy up with some eggnog or maybe a peppermint mocha and join us as we recap 12 recruiting trends we saw in 2018. 

1. Don’t expect a plethora of candidates (or gifts): 

Rudolph isn’t the only one with the reins...and heads up, you’re not driving this sleigh either. This is a candidate-driven market, not an employer’s market. Sometimes we receive requests from clients who believe they need to talk to 10+ plus candidates before they make a hire. In a tight market like this, that’s just not a reasonable expectation (you’ll be lucky to see 5 candidates that fit the bill). So, if you’re fortunate enough to meet “Mr. /Ms. Right” right off the bat, don’t let an all-star candidate pass you by.  

2. You can have your milk & cookies too: 

It helps to be calibrated on what you need prior to meeting candidates. Be specific and think about the intangibles – what does this new hire need to have in order to be “the chosen one”? Set up your expectations ahead of time, that way you can recognize a good thing when you meet him/her. These high-caliber candidates in a tight market like this one move faster than your cart zooming through the aisles on Black Friday! 

3. Before the clock strikes midnight: 

As you reflect on 2018, ask yourself if each stage of the interview process is adding value. If it’s not additive, chop it down like your own Christmas tree. We recommend two on-sites with key decision makers and, if needed, squeeze in a tangible assessment.  

4. Referrals aka the Secret Santas! 

And we’ll let you take a guess at who has the best word-of-mouth, curated, defined networks? You’re right... recruiting agencies like Maven Recruiting Group who have spent years building lasting relationships with industry-specific professionals. Chances are, a referred candidate will shine brighter than an applicant who applies to several jobs via job boards. Think about it – most high-level candidates who are currently in a role don’t have the time to apply to jobs on their own, instead they work with recruiters they trust. Like us. :) 

5. The New Year’s ball isn’t the only thing that should be dropped...  

Unless this is a long-distance relationship, we recommend doing away with phone interviews, especially if they’ve already been vetted by a recruiting firm you trust.  Phone interviews are a low-yield activity and in this market, we want nothing but high-impact steps.  

6. Whether you realize it or not, you’re in the hospitality industry -- bring on the milk & cookies: 

Haven’t you heard? The new gift-giving trend has switched from stockings and Santa gifts to experiences... and the same goes for your hiring process.  If you're not thinking about your hiring process from the perspective of experience, you should be. Perceptions of your company and culture start from the minute a candidate steps out of the elevator, meets your receptionist and sits down to wait in the lobby.  

7. Naughty & Nice List? No more. 

In 2018, California and San Francisco enabled laws so that companies are no longer allowed to discriminate against candidates for previous convictions. No coal in the stockings this year.  

8. Your employees want to partake in the “Fa-la-la-la-la," too!  

Before you plan your New Year’s Resolutions, take a moment to reflect on the now. Do your employees feel like they have a voice within your organization? How about opportunity for growth and impact? If not, make 2019 a year of adding value. Look for new and improved ways to offer good tidings to your employees... because if you don’t, another company will.  

9. No one’s shaking this year’s card for cash. 

We bet you want to know the number one reason candidates are receptive to new roles... hint, hint: it’s not necessarily compensation. The majority of candidates we come into contact with who are receptive to new roles are looking more for intangibles than tangibles.  Things like a sense of empowerment and autonomy in their role, respect, appreciation, growth and learning, and overall recognition, which doesn’t have to be financial.  

10. Help your employees achieve their New Year’s Resolutions! 

Do you have a total rewards plan that supports what your employees' value? Have a health-conscience bunch that just made New Years’ fitness goals, think about whether it makes sense to add a gym stipend or reimbursement to your offerings? Or team fitness classes?  Take a minute to consider whether your benefits package mirrors the interests and priorities of your staff and, if not, think about tweaking them. This doesn’t always mean more $$, sometimes it’s just redistributing resources you’re already contributing. Can’t go up on base? We’ve seen candidates take less money with a “Work from Home” policy in place. 

11. Candidates want to give back too (and not just during this time of year): 

Believe us when we say, “mission-driven” is the new Google. Every day, candidates are telling us they want to get behind something bigger. They want to join companies who produce meaningful work and be a part of teams who support the marginalized and get their hands in on projects that provide solutions to the world’s biggest socio-economic problems. As you gear up for the new year, think about the various ways your company can give back... and then use that as a selling point when making your next hire. 

12. Christmas raise, anyone? 

In the Bay Area administrative space specifically, we’re seeing higher base salaries. C-level Executive Assistants are being compensated an average of $120-140K+ depending on experience and administrative professionals with around 2-3 years of experience are at the $85-95K mark.  

And a partridge in a pear tree!  

We hope our recap of hiring trends in 2018 was insightful, motivating and entertaining. Wishing you a final season of reflection, celebration and success as you gear up for 2019. And if you’re looking to build our your administrative or HR team in the new year, a little elf told us that Maven Recruiting Group is the agency to call to make your hiring wishes come true. 

Cheers! 

– Maven Recruiting Group