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Yvette Pearson

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Does Experience Count for Nothing These Days?

You’re over qualified. The position is too junior for you. I’m sure pretty much all of us have heard one of these pitiful rejection phrases from an interviewer at least once in our lives. But what do they REALLY mean? Are we ever over qualified for anything that we actually want to do? I once went for an interview at a well known insurance company in the City. At the time I was working for a well known investment bank in Canary Wharf and was pretty desperate to get out. My lack of work/life balance was making me ill and I wanted something a little lower profile. I’d explained this to the recruitment agency and they happily put me forward for this team assistant role. The hiring manager had looked at my CV, and asked to see me, so off I went after work to my interview. It was clear…

Other Ad-Hoc Tasks

“Other Ad-Hoc Tasks” is present on virtually every single job description for PAs, Team Assistants and pretty much every administration role. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Do they want me to fetch the COO’s pizza from Pizza Express every friday lunch time and then write a formal complaint when they change the menu? Will I be expected to chaperone Barry* from IT to the tube after the work christmas party because he drank too many Blue Lagoons? (*He wasnt really called Barry but I don’t want to embarass him) Do they want me to trapse through old Management Accounts to find out where we have been over charged for inter-departmental services? Or perhaps I’ll get the honour of tracking a senior manager’s phone as it travels around London in the back of a taxi where it was left, and then having to go to Greenwich to meet a very nice lady…

Look after your future self

Look After My Future Self has been my motto in life for as long as I can remember. From when I used to fold up a spare fiver and stash it in the back of my purse so I’d “find” it a few weeks later (often just before payday – hurrah!), I’ve always tried to think of my Future Self as another person, and tried to help them out as much as I can. This afternoon I found a chocolate orange in the bottom of my drawer that I’d left there last week in the hope of surprising myself at some point in the future (thankfully the surprise wasn’t that it had gone mouldy!) I know what you’re thinking. Perhaps I just have a terrible memory. Not really the case. I have a strange ability to push something out of my memory when I know it’s been taken care of. Thus magnifying…

How productive is your commute?

Sitting on the train, I see people doing all kinds of things. Watching movies (some trains I get home travel all the way down to the south coast of England), reading books, listening to music, etc. Looking at all these people, it made me think. How productive is my commute? A few years ago I attempted to learn French on the train. I downloaded Learn French in Your Car  and put it all onto my iPod. It was working pretty well until I moved house and my commute was much shorter (and busier!). Even so, I wish I’d carried on with it – my last visit to Paris was proof that some of it had actually sunk in. Nowadays I work on my own businesses on my commute. I’m on the train sourcing products, writing blogs, updating my social media. The internet connection isn’t brilliant so sometimes I’m writing blog posts (like…

What Employers REALLY Want to See from a Summer Intern

I’m writing this blog post as someone who has sat on the trading floor while Heads of Desks discuss with their teams who they should hire as their summer intern. I know that what they say they want is often very different to the person who actually ends up being interviewed and ultimately offered a position. Your universities and recruitment consultants will have a load of criteria for you. They will give you advice on how to write your covering letter. How to lay out your CV. How to present yourself on the day of the interview. Whilst this is all valuable information and I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to it, what they can’t tell you is what the guys on the ground REALLY look for when they are hiring their summer intern. 1. Don’t be the Same The Head of the Desk is normally given a couple…

Career Advice for my 18 Year Old Self

I started my working life at the age of 17, with a job at my local estate agent (that’s me, on the left, at 18). It was initially meant to be work experience over the summer between my first and second years at college. However, when they asked me to stay full time, I accepted, and never started my second college year. Looking back, it was a really stupid or really risky thing to do (depending on how you look at it). That job went pear shaped after about 9 months and I was seriously wondering if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. The estate agent and I eventually parted company and I drove home in tears, scared of what to do. I hadn’t been earning much at all, and my mother was expecting me to pay rent. So when I got home I started to look for…

PA: The Hardest Job in the Office

Yes, I know I’m probably a bit biased, but I truly believe that being a PA or Administrator is the most difficult job in an office environment. Master of All Trades We must know how to take 2 phone calls, set up an excel spreadsheet, book a conference call and send several emails – all at the same time. Simultaneously, we must be able to review 2 inboxes, update 3 calendars, book dinner for 7 with parking, location map and 2 vegetarian options, knock up a PowerPoint presentation, courier a package to China and book three hotel rooms and three flights. We must know how to speak all languages and have visited all the countries in the world: and therefore know every restaurant and every hotel. We must have a complete understanding all local customs and visa and vaccination requirements for all nationalities and countries. We can personally affect the food on the flight, traffic lights…

CEOs – How about a PA on your Board?

A little controversial, yes. But there are some PAs out there with 20 or even 30 years of experience who would make excellent members of Boards. Heck, some of them would make better Board members than the Board you already have! In my various administrative roles, I’ve attended many a Board meeting and I can tell you – even though I’m “only” there to take the minutes, I contribute to every single one of them. I’ve been a valued employee everywhere I’ve worked, and my opinion on certain subjects is just as valid as everyone else’s. Plus, I have a unique perspective that comes only from being a CEO/COO’s right hand person. Couple this with being the PA to the analysts on the team and you have probably your most well rounded employee. In our positions, we speak to pretty much everyone, often in confidence, so we get a unique understanding of…

The Printer’s Prayer

Our printer, which art in thy corner, Xerox be thy Name. In thy office installed. Thy printing will be done, In black and white and in colour. Give us this day our double sided. And forgive it for Paper jams As we forgive those that don’t refill it. And lead us not to forget to order toner, And deliver us from black fingers caused by the waste toner box. For thine is the cyan, The yellow and magenta, For ever and ever. Amen.

8 Things Your Assistant Is Better At Doing Than You

Keeping your Schedule. Lets face it, you’ve all missed meetings because you entered them into your diary on the wrong day, wrong time zone, or simply forgot to enter them at all!Your assistant is the master of your diary. Your assistant knows who you’re meeting, when you’re meeting them, where you’re meeting them, and how long it’s going to take you to get there. She knows which meetings to interrupt if you’re going to be late for the next one, and she has the presentations printed and ready for you to take. She’ll also re-arrange that conference call with New York that you’ve put in your diary for 9am London time. Thinking of the small details. Most of the time these are things that will never ever even cross your mind. You dont notice when she’s done them, but you’d notice if she didn’t. She reserves an area in a bar…