Career Development

What Does an Executive Assistant Do?

Find out what an executive assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an executive assistant.

Executive assistants are the administrative support staff for executives in all types of organizations. They handle a wide range of tasks, from scheduling meetings and taking notes to arranging travel and ordering supplies.

Executive assistants often have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders—they’re expected to be highly organized, detail-oriented, and efficient. They may also be asked to take on additional responsibilities such as managing social media accounts or handling public relations issues.

Executive Assistant Job Duties

Executive assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Setting up meetings, taking minutes at meetings, and providing follow-up to ensure that action items are completed
  • Maintaining databases of names, addresses, phone numbers, and other relevant contact information for employees’ use
  • Sending correspondence on behalf of executives by email or mail, including memos, letters, or notices of meetings or deadlines
  • Screening calls and scheduling appointments for the executive in question
  • Preparing and filing legal documents such as real estate deeds or incorporation papers
  • Coordinating events such as meetings, conferences, seminars, and trade shows
  • Assisting with administrative tasks such as maintaining calendars, updating contact lists and databases, ordering supplies, and arranging travel arrangements
  • Maintaining executive offices by ordering supplies, arranging for maintenance services, and handling other office management tasks
  • Managing executive email accounts, including responding to messages and initiating email conversations with colleagues

Executive Assistant Salary & Outlook

Executive assistants’ salaries are affected by years of administrative experience and length of time in a particular position. Salaries can also vary depending on the geographic location of the job, the company size and the industry of the company.

  • Median Annual Salary: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)

The employment of executive assistants is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment growth for executive assistants has slowed because many companies have centralized their administrative functions, reducing the need for these workers in individual departments. In addition, some companies are automating administrative tasks, such as data entry and word processing, which will reduce the number of executive assistants needed.

Executive Assistant Job Requirements

Executive assistants typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most executive assistants have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, but many have a bachelor’s degree. Some of the most common majors for executive assistants are business, communications and English. Some executive assistants choose to earn a certificate or an associate degree in business administration.

Training & Experience: Executive assistants typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning the company’s policies and procedures, software and computer programs, and the workflow of the office. Training may also include shadowing another executive assistant or office manager until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: It can be helpful for executive assistants to obtain certifications to improve their skills and increase their earning potential.

Executive Assistant Skills

Executive assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Time management: Executive assistants often manage multiple calendars and schedules, so time management is a crucial skill for this profession. They also often manage multiple projects and tasks, so time management is a skill that can help them be successful in their job.

Organization: Executive assistants may be responsible for managing calendars, scheduling meetings, arranging travel and other tasks that require a high level of organization. Your ability to maintain a professional and efficient work environment is an important skill to have as an executive assistant.

Communication: Executive assistants communicate with many people throughout the day, including their manager, other assistants, clients and other employees. Effective communication skills can help you to be an effective assistant, as you may be required to communicate with others in person, over the phone or through email.

Problem-solving: Executive assistants solve problems for their managers and other executives on a daily basis. They may need to find solutions to scheduling conflicts, employee issues or other problems that arise in the workplace. Your ability to solve problems quickly and effectively can help you advance in your career.

Computer skills: Executive assistants may use a variety of computer programs, including word processing, spreadsheet and calendar programs. They may also use software for scheduling, email management and other tasks. Executive assistants should have basic computer skills, including typing and navigating the internet.

Executive Assistant Work Environment

Executive assistants work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. They typically work in well-lit, comfortable offices and usually have access to a computer, printer, and other office equipment. Most executive assistants work full time and some work more than 40 hours per week. They may work early morning, evening, or weekend hours to complete tasks, attend meetings, or take care of personal business for their employer. Executive assistants may also travel with their employer to attend conferences or business meetings.

Executive Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how executive assistants work. Executive assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As businesses become more technical, the need for executive assistants with more technical skills will grow. Executive assistants are often responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a company, which includes tasks such as IT support, data entry, and customer service.

In order to be successful in this role, they will need to be able to understand and use technology products and services. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with customers and coworkers.

The Importance of Cultural Fit

Cultural fit is becoming increasingly important in the workplace, as employers are looking for candidates who will fit into their team and company culture. This means that executive assistants who want to be successful in the future need to be aware of the values and goals of their employer and be able to align themselves with them.

By understanding what is important to their employer, executive assistants can better position themselves for success in the job market. Additionally, they can develop skills that will make them more valuable to their employer, such as communication or project management.

More Attention on Personal Branding

As executive assistants become more involved in the business side of things, they will need to focus on developing their personal brands. This means that they will need to learn how to promote themselves and their accomplishments in a way that is both professional and accurate.

By developing a strong personal brand, executive assistants can build trust with their colleagues and potential employers. In addition, they can use their personal brand to create connections and find new opportunities.

How to Become an Executive Assistant

Executive assistants have a lot of options when it comes to career paths. They can move up the ranks and become an executive assistant to the CEO, or they can specialize in a particular area, such as human resources or marketing. They can also choose to start their own business as an executive assistant.

No matter what direction they choose, executive assistants should always be looking for ways to improve their skills and knowledge. They can do this by taking online courses, attending workshops and conferences, and reading industry publications.

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance in this career is to get more education and training. Many executive assistants start out with a high school diploma or equivalent, but some employers prefer candidates who have completed postsecondary coursework in office administration or have an associate’s degree in a related field. Executive assistants who have a bachelor’s degree may be eligible for positions in other areas of the company, such as human resources or marketing.

As executive assistants gain experience, they may be promoted to positions with more responsibility, such as administrative manager or office manager. Executive assistants who are bilingual or have experience working in a global environment may have better job prospects.

Executive Assistant Job Description Example

As the Executive Assistant at [CompanyX], you will be responsible for providing high-level administrative support to the CEO and other members of the executive team. Your duties will include managing schedules, preparing correspondence, handling travel arrangements, and assisting with special projects as needed. The ideal candidate will have excellent written and verbal communication skills, superb organizational abilities, and a professional demeanor. He or she will also be able to work independently and handle confidential information with discretion.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all internal and external communications
  • Handle a wide range of administrative and executive support-related tasks, including but not limited to: scheduling, correspondence, travel arrangements, expense reports, event planning, and preparing presentations
  • Manage complex projects from start to finish, ensuring timely completion within budget constraints
  • Serve as a liaison between the executive and other members of the organization
  • Conduct research, compile data, and prepare reports
  • Maintain confidentiality with regard to all aspects of the job
  • Anticipate the needs of the executive and proactively take steps to address them
  • Use sound judgment in decision-making and problem-solving
  • Be resourceful and proactive in handling inquiries and requests
  • Exhibit excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Possess strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrate discretion, tact, and diplomacy at all times

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience
  • 5+ years of professional administrative experience, including experience supporting executive-level staff
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Proven ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, Google Docs, and other business software applications

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience working in a creative agency or similar environment
  • Familiarity with project management software, such as Basecamp or Asana
  • Graphic design or web development skills
  • Experience managing social media accounts
  • Proofreading and editing experience

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