The position of an executive assistant is a peculiar role often compared to others like a secretary. An exec assistant is a professional who provides help and support for the company’s executive high-level employees.
They have some similarities with administrative assistants or secretaries because their duty is to help executive officers in their duties and supervise office operations.
The distinction between an executive assistant and a secretary is that an exec assistant is a senior member of the office employees who works with top executive members. They also perform important tasks that have a pivotal and vital influence on the success or failure of the company.
What do Executive Assistant do?
Executive Assistant jobs may vary in different organizations. Most of them are responsible for the training of other younger members of staff as well as performing the following duties:
- Managing the company’s calendar
- Maintaining a good relationship with clients
- Having a means of filing essential company documents
- Writing minutes of meetings and keeping other important records
- Setting up meetings
- Arranging travel plans
- Event planning
- Prepare reports
- Making expense reports
- Receiving phone calls
- Sending memos, emails, and letters for senior members of state;
- Meeting with people coming into the office for the first time;
- Making the schedule for executive members of staff
Furthermore, they decide who gets to have an audience with the executive staff members and control what information reaches the executives. They also engage in research and provide reports to find out if the company is acting according to regulations and policies.
They deliver reports that influence the company’s policy. Essentially, they are a bridge between the executive and other clerical employees. They help other members of staff understand the needs of their employers.
Executive Assistant Salary expectations
The salary expectation is pretty good. However, how much a person gets paid depends on whether they are working full-time, part-time or temporary. They might work full-time, part-time, or temporarily.
Recruiters look at things like years of experience, time spent at the last job, skills, and achievement to decide how much a person will be paid as an exec assistant.
Salary will also differ based on the location of the job, the company’s size, and the executive’s position they will be assisting.
According to the US Bureau of Statistics, they earned an average annual salary of $59,340 in 2018. This puts executive assistants above the top 10% among all secretaries and administrative assistants:
- Median Annual Salary: $38,880 ($18.69/hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $64,230 ($30.88/hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $24,690 ($11.87/hour)
Some salaries might range from $14,000 to $121,000 per year.
Education, Certification, and Training
The position of secretary does not require a lot of education and training. This is not the same with an executive assistant. They usually require certain forms of education, certification, and training, especially if you want to have an edge in this field.
Education: A high school diploma would get you most entry-level jobs, but you will be more marketable if you have a bachelor’s degree in business-related fields. Although some employers might choose experience over education
Certification: You do not need to be certified to become an exec assistant, but there are online certifications available for most software programs so that you can increase your proficiency. Certifications give you a noticeable edge and advantage.
• Certified Administrative Professional
The International Association of Administrative Professionals is in charge of certification. They certify that you are an expert exec assistant. Y
ou must have at least four years of experience as an administrative professional, an associate degree, and three years of experience or a bachelor’s degree, and two years of experience is acceptable. After you have applied and experience is looked into, you are required to write an exam lasting approximately three hours.
• Microsoft Office Specialist
This certificate shows that you have expertise in Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, SharePoint, Outlook, and OneNote. The exams last for about 90 minutes and test your knowledge of these programs.
Having this certification would be an added advantage to your resume.
Training: When you become an exec assistant, you would most likely get trained on the job in the first few weeks or months of being employed at that company. At the company, they might be trained in certain software or programs, courses, and proceedings of the company. They may learn from another assistant or be supervised by them as they begin their job.
They generally have to prove themselves over some time on the job by displaying genuine experience and skills.
As an exec assistant, you will require a wide variety of skills because the nature of the job would require executives to give their assistants a lot of tasks and functions. You might also get new duties as you advance in that field. Although they are many transferable skills, including:
• Interpersonal skills
They most times relate with clients, the executives, office staff, and many other parties. If they do not have excellent interpersonal skills, the working environment might get pretty toxic.
To have a positive work environment, it is essential for them to have strong interpersonal skills and to be kind and patient people no matter the situation.
An exec assistant has to do a lot of writing. Most times, they might be required to write emails, prepare memos, reports, and other documents. This makes it imperative for them to have a good understanding of the English Language and write professionally.
If you want to get better with writing, you can take college writing classes or continuing education courses in business and professional writing.
There are a lot of things that an executive secretary would do that require exceptional organizational skills. These include file folders and shared online drives. If the office’s process would run efficiently, then an exec assistant needs to use the best filing systems and task management tools.
This is essential because they need it to make budget allocations and keep schedules, which requires a lot of task management skills. They also have to make use of a lot of data and information, like phone calls, emails, and other important files. If they are not incredibly organized, they will not be able to do a great job.
Executive assistants are naturally multitaskers with very busy schedules. Many new things might come up, which might require them to abandon what they are doing and engage in more urgent activities.
Being flexible is important and would come in handy so that they will be able to switch tasks, stop what they are currently doing and engage in something urgent that just arose.
• Time management
If you are managing another person’s time, you should also be good at time management yourself. Having excellent time management skills is an important attribute of a good executive assistant
• Computer skills
They require a number of computer skills to be able to function effectively in their roles as executive assistants. They have to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. They also have to be experts in word processing software, general troubleshooting, and research.
They have access to top-secret and complex information about executives and the company. The company and the executives should be able to trust employees with these secrets, and they should also be trustworthy.
How to become an Executive Assistant
- Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma.
- Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
- Step 3: Gain Employment.
- Step 4: Obtain Certification as an Executive Secretary.
- Step 5: Advance Your Career.
What are the top 3 skills of an executive assistant?
Your leadership qualities: Exec assistants also lead other members of the staff and clerical employees.
Project Management and Event planning: An Exec assistant would spend a lot of time planning events and meetings.
Knowledge of technology: A good grasp of technology will help executive assistants discharge their duties properly.
What should every executive assistant know?
A good executive assistant should know all of their duties and functions as required of them by the company’s executives.
How do I prepare for an executive assistant interview?
Take note of the following to prepare for an interview in this field:
Research the company and the executive you will be working for.
What makes a great executive assistant?
These are the top 5 skill sets an executive assistant must possess in order to excel in their job:
• Excellent Professionalism
• Superb Communication Skills
• Great Organizational Skills
• Outstanding Collaborative Skills
• Willingness to Learn
How can I be the best executive assistant ever?
Everyone wants to be the best in their fields. However, there are certain requirements to being the best. To be one of the best assistants out there, these are the following things you should know how to do and be very good at:
Always note the above if you want to be the best in this field, and stand out among others for longer career prospects.
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