The term ‘business support’ can be quite a broad term but in general terms, jobs that fall under the category ‘business support’ are roles that provide administrative support to a business.
A career in Business Support requires a large variety of transferable skills that, if used wisely, can open your door to pretty much anything. Here is a breakdown of some of the typical roles we recruit for in Business Support and how these job roles can help you progress your career.
Admin / Office Support / Office Administrator
These different job titles typically all apply to the same role. This is a very good first role to start with it will give you exposure to a wide range of administrative duties which will give you a broad skill set and enable you to pinpoint which areas of administration you are most interested in.
Before taking your first role in admin, I would strongly advise that you take some time to research 1) what industry you want to be in and 2) what job you want to do later down the line, then choose your team/sector wisely.
If you want to be a PA you can pretty much choose any industry but it really helps if you are interested in the work the team you are supporting are doing. As you progress in your career, some firms will require specific experience in a similar firm (legal, for example) so it’s advisable to start working in a firm that works in an area that interests you as early as possible.
My best advice at this level is: don’t be afraid of hard work. The most successful administrators are those who nail the basics and aren’t afraid to muck in and prove themselves. You may have studied in the field but now is your chance to prove you can do the work. The harder you work at this stage, the more credibility you will gain and these worlds can be small so you never know who you will be working within the future.
This is now the time you will reap the rewards of your hard work as the administrator. It is important to remember that some companies will have more administrators than they will Team Assistant roles that they can promote into, so the more you prove yourself at that stage, the better your chances will be of getting selected for promotion over one of your colleagues.
Now is your time to shine! As a Team Assistant, you will be able to hand over the general office run around crown to someone else and will be given the opportunity to put all those skills you have previously learnt into practice.
In this Team Assistant role, you will get your own team to support who are normally at a junior level in their career too, so this will ease you into supporting your own team at a manageable pace. This role is normally a stepping stone and people don’t tend to stay at this level for very long as, in time, you will start to take on ad-hoc support for more senior people in your team which will give you the confidence to move up after a year or so.
Executive Assistant / PA Assistant
Again, two different job titles for the same role. My best advice would be to not read too much into job titles and always focus on the duties you will be asked to perform.
The EA role in a business tends to range from 1:1 to 1:3 allocation with C-suite Executives generally having a 1:1 allocation.
The workload will be focused around heavy proactive diary management, travel and gate-keeping. You will act as their eyes and ears. You will be given full autonomy to run internal projects that the person you are supporting doesn't have time to do and usually become their right-hand person with everything.
When someone says they want to be a EA this is normally what they are referring to but remember you can't jump straight into this as if you don't nail the 'small stuff' first which is ultimately most important stuff. These EA roles can be incredibly demanding but also incredibly rewarding. You will gain invaluable sector experience as you will always pick up some of the work they are completing so this is a great opportunity, if you have an interest in what they are doing, to look into roles of that nature.
As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity to progress your career in Business Support. Once you get to the stage of EA you will usually know what it is you have an interest in and people tend to go in one of two directions; either supporting an Executive at a senior level or start working towards people management.
If you are stuck on what you want to do in life, my advice is to pick an admin role in a sector that interests you and the rest usually figures itself out. If it doesn't, then your admin skills are still likely to serve you well in whatever career you might decide to pursue.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to start a career in Business Support or are looking to progress to the next level, take a look at our latest Business Support job vacancies here >
by Lucy McDonald