As a Secretary with the European Institutions you can pursue a fascinating future and help them make a difference for 500 million European citizens. Working alongside colleagues of every nationality in the heart of Europe, you will be vital to everything they do and you can expect a challenging international work environment and a career full of opportunities.
To join EU Institutions, you’ll need to be a qualified or experienced secretary with English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Maltese, Portuguese, Spanish or Swedish as your main language. You’ll also need a good command of a second language (English, French or German), great problem-solving skills and the initiative to make things happen.
Life as a Secretary With the European Institutions
If you join the EU Institutions as an ‘Assistant in the Secretarial Field’ (Secretary), your career could take you almost anywhere you want to go.
Here is the story of Deborah, who is working in the Directorate General for Competition (COMP) in Brussels:
“I started here as a Secretary in 1998, and then took a degree in Law with the Open University. Now I’m a Paralegal dealing with cartel cases. I am also the current President of the ‘AST Network’. This is a group which ensures the exchange of best working practices between the Assistants within the Commission. The Directorate General for Competition is a very high-profile area of the Commission, and the issues we deal with are extremely sensitive. For example, we’re the Directorate that conducts dawn raids when we believe there may be cartel or anti-trust activity. Secretaries actually have the opportunity to go on these dawn raids, provided they have the right language skills and they have followed the relevant training, so it’s far from being just another office job. There are also plenty of opportunities for learning and development.
Although the work can be fascinating, the best thing about being here is the people – they’re extremely nice and supportive. We really feel like a team with a common goal, and these days I simply can’t imagine working in an environment that isn’t so international! It broadens your horizons to be surrounded by people from different countries and with different perspectives and languages. My language skills are comparatively limited, as I speak only English and French, but there’s plenty of training available if I want to take it up.
As for the future, I’m happy with my present role as I was promoted relatively recently – I’m thoroughly enjoying myself! There are just so many possibilities here, so people can always find the right niche. Good secretaries are always in demand, as are people who have English as their mother tongue, and Brussels is a wonderful city in which to live and work. I’d recommend this career path to anyone.”
Applying to Join the EU Institutions as a Secretary
EU Institutions invite you to enter the “competition” for a secretarial career in a fast-moving international environment. This isn’t quite like “Europe’s Next Top Model” or “Europe’s Got Talent”, but it’s not entirely dissimilar, as they’re looking for the very best brains and professional skills. The whole procedure can take between five and nine months, as they’re very thorough and intend to invest heavily in your future.
They hold a competition, as they believe this is the fairest and most transparent selection procedure when there is a large number of candidates. The competition aims to measure your competencies through a series of tests and assessments, making sure they take on the very best people.
If you are interested, please view the EU Careers website for more information here: http://eu-careers-online.eu/index.html.