A Step Up

Q: I am an administrative assistant with a large pharmaceutical firm with a bachelor’s degree in advertising/public relations and an M.B.A. in marketing. How do I transition into management with limited experience?
–P. Myers, New York

A: If you just look at titles, you may think that an administrative assistant’s function doesn’t lend itself to management potential. Depending on the skills you’ve accrued, coupled with your educational preparation, you may be able to land in a supervisory seat sooner than you think.

The key in your job hunt will lie in presentation. Design your résumé by skill, rather than by title. A book that effectively demonstrates this approach is Proven Résumés: Strategies That Have Increased Salaries and Changed Lives by Regina Pontow (Ten Speed Press, $19.95).

Next, you’ll want to know how to sell those skills in person. When it comes time to state your case to potential employers, focus on the skill, not the position. Replace the tendency to say, “I was just an administrative assistant, but I learned…” with, “I effectively and comfortably interface with numerous senior-ranking executives and know how to approach them to get things done.” It’s all in the presentation.  4R.D.C.

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