When hiring an executive assistant, there are many things you need to look out for. For example, relevant experience, personality, and cultural fit, and, of course, the right qualifications. Executive assistant qualifications are the attributes and skills that help an EA thrive in their role. They also help them have the most significant impact on your business. They’re the primary qualities you need to look for during the hiring process.
What Does an Executive Assistant Do?
An executive assistant is a high-level administrative professional. EAs provide dedicated support to an executive or the entire executive team. You can think of them as your right-hand person and the gatekeeper to your time. An EA’s exact day-to-day responsibilities vary depending on the business and industry. But some basic roles of an EA remain the same.
Duties of an executive assistant include:
- Answering calls and emails
- Calendar management
- Scheduling meetings
- Managing office filing system
- Event planning
- Travel booking and itinerary planning
- Researching and preparing reports
- Maintaining client relations
Executive Assistant Qualifications
Executive assistants train mainly on the job. Past administrative experience is crucial for developing necessary EA skills. Besides EA experience, positions such as administrative assistant, secretary, and office assistant can help build the required qualifications to become an EA.
Below are the most critical executive assistant qualifications to look out for when hiring your next EA.
Verbal and Written Communication Skills
An executive assistant needs to communicate with other employees at every level of the company. They also communicate with clients and vendors. A large part of an EA’s day-to-day role is answering phone calls and responding to emails. They may also attend meetings on senior management’s behalf and act as the face of your company. Strong verbal and written communication are essential skills for an EA to have.
Discretion and Trustworthiness
You trust an EA with confidential information regarding the company and your personal life. They are privy to privileged conversations and need to work with sensitive documents. Discretion and trustworthiness are vital qualities. An EA should protect their bosses’ privacy, behave with tact, and avoid gossip.
Strong Computer Skills
Being technologically savvy is helpful in many areas of an executive assistant’s role. EAs use their computer skills to set up office filing systems, maintain company records, conduct research, and streamline daily operations. They should be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, able to troubleshoot simple tech problems, and keen to stay up to date with new EA tools and software.
Time Management and Prioritization Skills
Executive assistants manage the schedules of busy executives. They need to know how to prioritize time, maximize workflow, and keep everything running smoothly. Only the most high-priority matters should make it onto an executive’s desk. Many EA responsibilities are highly time-sensitive, so time management skills are necessary.
Organizational and Multitasking Skills
Organization and multitasking are critical executive assistant qualifications. EAs often have to juggle multiple tasks and client projects simultaneously. They also maintain important documents and files. Disorganization and missed deadlines can have negative consequences for the entire company.
Ability to Problem-Solve
A great executive assistant doesn’t only offer administrative and clerical support. Creative problem-solving and resourcefulness are skills that make an EA invaluable to your company. An EA who can make fast strategic decisions and deal with problems under pressure with little guidance will make your life easier.
Executive assistants never know what might happen in their day. They often need to help with urgent matters. Plans change quickly and regularly, and curveballs can come out of nowhere. An EA needs to be flexible with their schedule and ready to switch between tasks at a moment’s notice.
Executive Assistant Educational Qualifications
Having a degree isn’t always necessary for an executive assistant, but it can help. When hiring an EA, educational qualifications are something else to keep an eye out for.
A bachelor’s degree in business administration is ideal. This degree program teaches everything from information and operations management to solving business problems. Otherwise, a degree in a field related to your business can also be beneficial.
Professional Certifications for Executive Assistants
Additional training and voluntary qualifications can also help EAs improve their knowledge and skills. Although not mandatory, they’re a bonus to look for in top-tier EA candidates.
Professional certifications for assistants include:
- Certified Professional Secretary (CPS)
- Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
- Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE)
Specialized certifications for certain industries include:
- Certified Legal Secretary Specialist from Legal Secretaries International
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant from the National Healthcareer Association
At LifeSquire, all of our assistants can participate in our assistant training program, LifeSquire Academy. The professional online training program helps current and future EAs learn how to excel in a support staff role.
Let LifeSquire Connect You With a Qualified Executive Assistant
Every industry is different. And the roles and responsibilities of an executive assistant can vary. But the basic qualifications needed to be an EA pretty much stay the same. Organization, communication, discretion, resourcefulness, and flexibility are key executive assistant qualities to consider when writing your EA job description or interviewing potential candidates.
Need help finding your next executive assistant? Lifesquire can connect you with an EA with all the qualifications you need. We specialize in hiring, training, and placing exceptional executive assistants. Contact us today to find out more.