Julie Perrine's Blog

Earlier this week, All Things Admin hit an important and exciting social media milestone: 1,000 Likes on Facebook!

Thank you to everyone who liked and shared the page, and helped us reach this wonderful mark! We hope you find our page to be a useful and informative resource for professional and career insights, and a great place to network with other admins.

To show our appreciation for your support, we’re offering the Kindle version of The Innovation Admin free until midnight on Friday, July 19! Just click here to get your free Kindle-edition! (No Kindle required -- all you need is the Kindle app and a tablet or smartphone device or download the reader to your desktop computer!) Don’t miss this opportunity to get your free digital copy of The Innovative Admin!

Supporting

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I am VERY excited to be attending IAAP EFAM this year in Grapevine as an Office Expo EXHIBITOR with All Things Admin!

But my team and I need your help picking the promo items we should bring to the Office Expo.

Click this link to vote for your favorite OR tell us what you'd prefer instead:
http://www.allthingsadmin.com/administrative-professionals/we-want-your-opinion/ 

Feel free to share this link with other admins in your company, on social media via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and with your fellow chapter members. 

Voting will end on Wednesday, June 20!

We can't wait to see you all in Grapevine and share some really FUN things we've been cooking up for you!
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If you’ve followed me for very long, you know I LOVE travel planning! I love learning about new places and new resources. I enjoy coordinating all of the moving parts. And most of all, I love the feeling of relief and comfort that I sense from my traveling executives when I send them their completed travel itinerary with all of the details confirmed and laid out in a superbly organized manner.

But sometimes things just don’t go according to plan no matter how perfectly it looked on paper after my executives depart on their journeys. You can probably relate! That beautifully assembled itinerary can blow up in countless ways, and then my job instantly becomes one of “in the moment” problem solving. I’m often asked, “But what do you do if [fill in the blank with something going wrong once your traveler is in transit]?” My response obviously varies from situation to situation. But this week, I had an excellent example of travel trauma for one of my traveling executives. I want to share it with you because it illustrates how I approach travel planning issues “in the moment” and may give you some resources and ideas to apply to the next travel adventure you send your executives on as well.
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All Things Admin, a website providing tools, training and mentoring services to Administrative Professionals, will offer a series of free learning opportunities in celebration of Administrative Professionals Day and APW.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa  April 16, 2012—AllThingsAdmin.com, an online resource for administrative professionals, is launching a series of free online training events in honor of Administrative Professionals Week® (APW®). The promotion will kick off with a free webinar called “Become a Procedures Pro: Power Up Your Office Procedures in 5 Simple Steps” on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. Webinar attendees will be invited to participate, also for free, in the 5 Days to Better Office Procedures Challenge taking place April 23 through April 27.

Both events provide support and education around an important and often overwhelming task for administrative professionals: Creating a comprehensive Administrative Procedures Binder. The founder and CEO of All Things Admin, Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, has been a leader in this arena, helping hundreds of administrative professionals tackle this project successfully over the past three years.

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Our local community college has a saying they use on their promotional materials: Start here. Go anywhere.  As an administrative professional, I have always seen the administrative profession in the same way.  The career potential both within the administrative profession specifically as well as beyond it is so vast it is hard to truly comprehend sometimes.  It’s easy to forget all of the options that exists for us to expand our careers beyond our current position.  With the celebration of Administrative Professionals Week® later this month, I wanted to get you thinking about all of the potential that exists for you as an Administrative Professional and challenge you to consider where your own career path is leading you…or where it could.

 The International Association of Administrative Professionals ® (IAAP®) theme for the 2012 Administrative Professionals Day® is:

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As I watch the television news with all of the Mississippi River and Missiouri River flooding over the past few weeks, my mind flashes back to the spring of 2008 when the flood waters ripped through the city where I live.  It’s truly mind boggling to grasp how much damage water can do when it’s associated with a flood. While my home was safe from the flood waters in 2008, many of the companies that I supported were directly hit. (My current office is located in the flooded 8-story building pictured here. The entire first floor was FULL of water!) 

I watched in amazement as some companies quickly pulled together their vital files and computers and setup operations in remote facilities without any interruption of service.  Others were not so prepared.  Because of delayed responses, lack of planning, and no processes and procedures for this type of event, some companies lost way more than others.  But at the heart of most disaster recovery operations – no matter which company you looked at – were the administrative professionals!  If disaster were to strike your company, would you be prepared to step into a leadership role of guiding and supporting them through the disaster response?

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If I could help all admins develop one thing more fully, it would be stronger business acumen.

What is business acumen?

Business acumen is the keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a business situation in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. The term “business acumen” can be broken down literally as a composite of its two component words: Business literacy is defined in SHRM’s Business Literacy Glossary as “the knowledge and understanding of the financial, accounting, marketing and operational functions of an organization.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines acumen as “the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions“.  (

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I've put together a special gift just for you during Administrative Professionals Week 2011...a FREE webinar!

In honor of Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, all administrative professionals are invited to a register for a FREE webinar presented by All Things Admin.


At 10 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, April 27
, Julie Perrine will present, “From Stressing Out to Standing Out: Smart Admins Create Great Procedures Binders.” Attendees will learn about one of the most effective techniques for reducing stress when they take vacation this summer – documented administrative procedures. To register for the free webinar, visit www.AllThingsAdmin.com/webinar .

We know a lot of administrative professionals get anxious when they go on vacation or need to be away from the office because they’re concerned about how things will get done while they’re gone. The best way to prevent this stress is to create a set of documented procedures for your temporary admin or fellow office staffers. When you know they have the information to handle the administrative responsibilities with relative ease, the stress disappears so you can relax and enjoy your time off.

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Time. It’s a resource no one can make more of, so that makes TIME one of the most valuable resources anyone has. So when you start requesting or scheduling time on someone else’s calendar, you must master the skill and do it with extreme care if you want to be recognized as a competent administrative professional.  If you don’t, it’s one of the fastest ways to lose credibility with executives and completely irritate people beyond belief.

I want to share a simple way you can become a value-added admin when it comes to scheduling meetings: create descriptive and complete electronic meeting invitations.

 

I receive dozens of Outlook meeting invites on behalf of the executive clients I support.  It’s rare that the subject line is adequate in describing what the meeting is about at first glance, let alone once I open it looking for additional clues. Never assume that because you are familiar with all of the meeting details that all executives, meeting attendees, and their assistants are as well.  (Have you ever been the last to know?)

Here are a few simple strategies you can implement the next time you click NEW APPOINTMENT on your calendar invite program to ensure you aren’t wasting valuable time for everyone on the invite list – yourself included!

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A past newsletter article sparked a great question from one of our readers:

In the last newsletter, you encouraged your readers to set up a professional portfolio. I am new to the administrative field, and I am unemployed and no longer have access to professional documents I have written. What other documents can you suggest that I use? I am currently in school pursuing an associate’s degree, have a great resume that is getting me interviews, and have a profile on LinkedIn.. I also have been attending my local IAAP chapter meetings and enjoy them very much, and will be a member soon.  Your suggestions would be appreciated.

This is a common question I receive when I present on this topic.  It’s a very important one because this frequently causes admins to not make professional portfolio creation a priority if they think they don’t have the materials they need to get one started. But past work samples are only one component of a long list of things you should consider including in your professional portfolio, so let’s explore all of the options you may not have considered yet.

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Perhaps the better question is: Got 21st Century “Office of the Future” skills?

Decisions regarding hiring and firing are related to skills. Executives award special projects to those with the skills to accomplish the job. Promotions, pay increases, and bonuses are all connected to skills. So what kind of skills do you have? Are they current for the 21st century or current for 1985? Do you even know what skills you need to be an innovative, 21st century admin?

I have a recurring conversation with colleagues and executives I work with. That conversation centers on skills: the skills of the staff members they interact with both inside and outside of their companies. In short, your skills matter.

There are a lot of ways you can define “skills” and a lot of categories you can assign. But the best broad definition I found is this:

skill: the capacity to do something well; technique, ability. Skills are usually acquired or learned, as opposed to abilities, which are often thought of as innate (from http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/skill)

The

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Throughout my career, I have coordinated numerous board of directors meetings for executives and clients I support. One of my clients is on multiple boards and coordinating his calendar, travel, and participation in the respective meetings that occur monthly or quarterly for his boards can become quite a challenge if some key elements are overlooked – or left undone – by the administrative support staff involved in planning these meetings.  Whether you’re coordinating one meeting or multiple high-level meetings over the course of a year, there are some best practices that you MUST use to keep yourself, your executive, the executives who attend the meetings, and maybe maybe most importantly – those board members’ assistants organized.  When you implement these key strategies, all of the planning will run more smoothly, and your efforts will be genuinely appreciated by all.

Best Practice #1: 
Create a master MEETING DATE LIST for all board (and related) meetings for the entire year.

This master meeting date list should include:

  1. Company Name or Logo at the top
  2. Board of Directors Meeting Dates for [YEAR]
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Finally. You found or transitioned into the “perfect job” for you. You love getting up and going to work in the morning. You get to work on projects your thoroughly enjoy.  You LOVE your job. Then a freight train of change hits and the job as you knew it disintegrates.  Or maybe you had “the best boss” and then he or she got transferred to a new office or left the company.  Now what do you do?  It has happened to me multiple times over the course of my corporate career.  Losing the “best boss” or the “best job” can be personally devastating if you aren’t mentally prepared for it.  I’d slowly regain my composure each time, but my focus seemed to be looking for what I had before instead of viewing it as an opportunity to find an “even better” position or working relationship in the future. 

The only guarantee we have on our jobs in this current economic and political climate of the world today is things are going to change.  Sometimes they change in our favor, but sometimes they don’t.  So the best thing we can do is mentally prepare for it now.  When you’re in heat of the moment, it’s hard to think logically.  Emotions take over.  Reality spins.  Some things require more time to process through than others.  But when you regain your composure and force yourself to take an objective look at where things are at,

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The following is a true story…
It was a week after Thanksgiving when she got the news her job was being eliminated.  She had noticed the workload wasn’t what it had been over the past few months, but layoffs?  Seriously?  Right before Christmas?  She worked for this company for over 30 years!  She had planned to retire from this company!  How could this be happening to her?

When I got word of my colleague’s news, I immediately picked up the phone and called her to offer my support.  I had just heard of an executive assistant position that might be a great fit for her, and I wanted her to know right away.  I wanted to make sure she had her resume and professional portfolio updated and to offer to proof her resume for her.  What I learned, though, was truly astonishing to me.  Not only did she NOT have a current resume, she didn’t have a resume AT ALL!  And although she had heard a lot of her professional admin colleagues talk about their professional portfolios and why they found them so valuable over the years, she had never assembled one for herself.  Now, when she desperately needed both to even have a fighting chance in the current job market – not to mention to apply for the openings that were
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What do you read each week to sharpen your administrative skills?

What do you read each week to learn more about the industry in which you work?

What do you read each week to develop new knowledge in an area you don't know much about?

As administrative professionals, it's very important to constantly expose ourselves to new ideas, new methods or approaches to doing things, and industry related trends and issues if we want to excel in our profession.  You are what you read.  Reading expands your mental database.  The new ideas and concepts you expose your mind to can't help but work their way into what you do each day on the job!  I hear many people say that they enjoy reading, but they just don't have time to do it.  My reply, "You can't afford not to."

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If you missed the introduction and part 1 posted on Sunday, make sure you check it out by clicking here:
http://community.iaap-hq.org/IAAPHQ/IAAPHQ/Directory/BlogViewer/Default.aspx?BlogKey=b022e654-7a71-4e46-8eab-ca2a61a10d04

Additional questions for Administrative Professionals to consider asking in an interview:

  1. How many of the executives in this company commute on a weekly basis from another state? (I once worked for a company where several key members of the leadership team commuted from another state. When they don't have to leave the office to go home to waiting family members or activities of their children in the evenings, it makes it more difficult for those that support them to leave at reasonable hours also. It also makes for a work environment that is not as family friendly - even if they claim it is.)
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Are you ready for your next interview?  Do you have a list of potential interview questions to ask in an interview?  Even if you aren't actively seeking a position now, this is something you should develop and keep on file so it's ready when you need it.

One of the many services I provide for my entrepreneurial clients is recruiting for the administrative professional position.  One thing I'm always amazed by is the lack of research candidates have done about the company they are interviewing with.  The other thing that amazes me is how FEW questions they ask about the company, the position, or the job itself.  I'd like to give you a few questions you may want to consider asking in your next interview. 

As my career has progressed and I've added some interesting on-the-job experiences to my work history, I started to develop a list of interview questions that I asked the interviewers when I was in a job interview. Note: You're probably NOT going to ask every question here, but depending on the number of interviews and the number of people you discuss the position with, this will give you enough variety to ask something different each time. 

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What sets you apart as an administrative professional?

Is it the way you conduct yourself in social settings? In business settings?  Is it the type of speech you use or the positive attitude you display?  Is it the way you treat your co-workers and the executives you support? 

I think we’ve all worked with someone during our careers who simply stands out.  They are the consummate professional in almost every setting with almost all personality types.  They always know the right thing to say and the right way to say it.  It is impossible to imagine someone not wanting to work with them because they display so many impressive and polished traits.  And then we’ve all worked with the opposites.

What three things influence whether or not a person is perceived as professional?  According to Erin O’Hara Meyer, PHR, founder of Administrative Excellence, Inc., and author of Administrative Excellence, those three things are IMAGE, CONDUCT,

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In tighter economic times, training and development is typically one of the first areas where many companies tighten their belts. I’ve recently heard many administrative professionals lamenting this and offering it up as a reason for not being able to pursue additional training or professional development opportunities they wanted to this year. But whose responsibility is your professional development?

STOP WASTING TIME. START GROWING.
If you wait for someone else to take an interest in your professional growth, you’re wasting valuable time and opportunities. While some of the higher cost training programs may not as doable if you are financing them on your own budget, there are still lots of economical and no cost training options around if you know where to look. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

  • Local chapters of professional organizations typically hold monthly programs on topics that relate to your profession (my personal favorite is our own association the 
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What are your online profiles telling the world about your administrative personal brand? 

Is it professional?

Does is reflect your authentic, personable self?

Is it consistent from site to site?

For Administrative Professionals who are venturing into the world of social networking, this topic is even more relevant as you begin to build your online profiles and begin interacting in the online social scene. What current employers, potential employers, or colleagues in your profession think of when they hear your name or see your profile is part of your personal brand. Here are some things to think about as you continue developing your indispensable administrative brand in the online social networking scene.

IT’S NOT JUST PERSONAL, IT’S ALSO BUSINESS!

I recently posted a question to one of my groups on LinkedIn

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