Sun | Dec 9, 2018

Glenford Smith | Frustrated secretary seeks to transition into management

Published:Saturday | March 5, 2016 | 11:02 PM

QUESTION: I am a regular reader of your Gleaner Careers column. I find it very interesting, helpful, educational and informative your Sunday, February 7, 2016 article being a case in point. It prompted me to seek your advice.

I have been an admin assistant for over 15 years, during which time I've acquired a second degree which qualifies me to function as a manager. The administrative job has now become mundane. I would welcome your suggestion on how best to transition from secretarial to managerial, as I'm finding it quite frustrating.

Petrina S.

SMITH: Thank you for your encouraging feedback on the column. Congratulations on acquiring your graduate degree. It is an inspiring reminder that it's not where we start in our careers, but rather where we set our vision.

It doesn't matter the current position we hold at work. We can advance ourselves by going back to school, getting better qualifications, and by working hard to develop ourselves. Your example demonstrates that we don't have to complain about our current station in life. Instead, we can create a higher vision for our life and take decisive action to improve our circumstances.

Making a successful career transition can be daunting, Petrina. Your frustration is therefore quite natural and understandable. Successful career change requires patience, self-knowledge, career development skills and the willingness to try different things, some which might not work out.

You should find the following suggestions helpful in making the transition from being a secretary to becoming a manager.

1. Get clear on the type of managerial job you want. This is crucial. What kind of work do you want to be doing? For whom? With whom?

2. Is there the possibility of landing your target position at your current company? Answer this question and tailor the following career transition plan below accordingly.

3. Get into job-hunting mode and update your rÈsumÈ. It's best to do this away from work and outside working hours, for obvious reasons. Get professional help in updating your rÈsumÈ if possible.

4. Pay special attention to clarifying your career objective you're seeking a managerial post. Also, make a thorough review of your work history to identify the key achievements you've had and skills you've developed during your secretarial career. Frame these in terms relevant to the position you're seeking.

5. It's time to campaign. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities regarding vacancies or approaching job openings. Search newspaper job ads. Visit the websites of prospective companies. Inform people in your network that you're seeking this particular type of job.

6. Do remain enthusiastic and engaged with your current job, despite its becoming mundane.

7. It's possible that the issue of your previous managerial experience will come up, especially if applying for an advertised vacancy. This need not deter you. The key thing is to frame what you've achieved and learnt in terms of what's required, even though you were never a manager, but you may have worked closely with several through the years. Highlight what you've learnt from them about management and leadership, as well as how your university training has equipped you.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. glenfordsmith@