An executive assistant is responsible for presenting the image of the executive(s) they work for in meetings, working with calendars to schedule meetings and scheduling travel arrangements. They represent the executive(s) they work for in meetings when they are unable to attend. An executive assistant job description shows that they have to have excellent computer skills and be able to filter valuable information from irrelevant information.
These professionals have to conduct research and prepare reports for presentations at meetings as well as supervise lower level administrative assistants. Their image is critical as they will be in important meetings and appearance matters in those meetings. Learn about the basic executive assistant job description, required responsibilities, essential skills, the education and experience needed, and the working environment and job outlook in this article.
What Do Executive Assistant Representatives Do?
Executive assistants provide support to one or a few executives for a company or university. They have a lot of high-level responsibility and can be considered an executive’s “wingman” who is there when they need them to be and a representative when they cannot be there. The executive assistant job description shows they are also responsible for supervising and training the lower-level administrative assistants and delegating tasks appropriately.
The education required for being an executive assistant varies. They typically need some combination of courses, but not necessarily a degree. Their median salary is $51,724 dollars. These professionals should prepare to work unusual hours depending on the nature of the job.
Executive Assistant Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
Executive assistants complete many of the same tasks as other administrative assistants, but often at a higher degree of complexity. They assign simpler responsibilities to those who report to them. An executive assistant job description will call for evidence of successful completion of the duties seen below.
- Gives information to the executive they report to in a variety of formats from emails to reports to graphs and charts.
- Decides on tasks that they can complete and tasks that the executive needs to complete in order to maximize efficiency.
- Attends meetings to record notes and also attends meetings in the executive’s absence.
- Greets clients or other business professionals who have meetings scheduled with the executive and offers them something to drink or snack on while they are waiting.
- Manages their calendar and the calendar of their executive making sure not to double book meetings or appointments.
- Works as part of a team to complete assigned projects and tasks.
- Uses computer and technical skills as required by the company they work for.
- Maintains accurate records by classifying metadata and curating information.
Executive Assistant Required Skills
Time Management skills. Executive assistants work in a deadline focused environment. Managing and making the most efficient use of time are important for deciding what tasks get done and when. The executive does not control their schedule and knowing when and how they like to schedule things is also essential for their time management.
Communication skills. Executive assistants need to communicate with primary three groups of people during the course of a day. They must communicate with the executive they report to by providing them with information and letting them know their schedule. They must communicate with the administrative staff who reports to them and also with clients or colleagues at other businesses who meet with the executives.
Management skills. To be an executive assistant means that there will be administrative support staff working at lower levels of the company or organization. They need to provide training and oversight to this staff, as well as give them appropriate tasks.
Patience skills. Executive assistants may have to deal with a demanding executive or visiting professional. They may also have to work with administrative assistants who do not complete projects the way that they would like them to be done. Having the ability to be patient is crucial for this position.
How to Become an Executive Assistant
While a college degree is not always required, executive assistants do need to take a certain amount of college courses that provide them with the prerequisite knowledge for the position. Some of these professional must have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree while others only need individual courses. These professionals must also have experience with different computer programs, human resource knowledge, and managing budgets.
All individuals who want to become an executive assistant must work their way to this position. Therefore, experience is required at other levels of being an administrative assistant. A few executive assistants may be required to earn a master’s in business administration.
Education & Training Requirements
The typical coursework for an executive assistant is in business, marketing, finance, accounting, and management. A bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, public relations, or human resources can provide the experiences necessary to become an excellent executive assistant.
There are more advanced executive positions that require specific training. For example, an executive assistant who works in a university will likely have to be versed in intellectual property and procedures relating to promotion and tenure for faculty members at that university. These professionals also may have to be knowledgeable in grant writing.
Prior work experience is absolutely essential for an executive assistant. There are benefits to gaining expertise prior to working in this position. For example, working as a level 1, 2, or 3 administration assistants helps an executive assistant to know what tasks are appropriate for different support positions. Another benefit is that employers could require 10 years of prior experience being an administrative assistant or secretary prior to being an executive assistant.
Valuable skills for an administrative assistant to gain prior to becoming an executive assistant are in office administration, event planning, scheduling, information and research retrieval, and the ability to use Microsoft products such as Access, Excel, and Word.
The most common structure for an executive assistant to be classified as exempt and therefore not be eligible for overtime. This means that they are salaried. Their day-to-day job responsibilities are varied. They will have to work normal business hours, but can also work longer hours to schedule meetings or communicate and send emails.
People who work as executive assistants love that their job is varied and they have many different projects they are working on. They can do things from creating Powerpoints to creating briefs, to preparing grants.
The growth for executive assistants is not favorable as they are supposed to decline 6% through the year 2024. These individuals most often work in universities, government, or enterprise companies. The projected job growth shows impacts by technology on the field as technology can now complete some of the tasks that executive assistants used to complete. Some executives are also completing the jobs that their executive assistants used to do to save costs.
The median salary for an executive assistant is $51,724. These individuals are likely to earn bonuses based on performance and profit shares in a successful year. Most of the open jobs will come from current executive assistants moving to another profession or retiring.
Executive assistants have always been seen as important to a company in supporting executive or other offices. In today’s climate they will likely have to support more than one executive and complete a variety of tasks. It is an enjoyable job, but can be stressful as the job satisfaction is often dependent on the executives that they work for.