How to Become an Executive Assistant
Wondering how to become an executive assistant? Well, you’re in the right place.
Being an Executive Assistant, or EA is a challenging, rewarding role. But, no two days are ever the same. You’ll do everything from planning travel to helping senior executives make business decisions.
EAs are a vital part of the success of an organization.
But, such great responsibility requires candidates to have key skills and relevant experience. Requirements that you should take into account as early in your career as possible.
This post will help you learn everything you need to know about becoming an executive assistant.
What is an Executive Assistant?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is an executive assistant?
An executive assistant is a high-level administrative professional. EAs provide executives with support and guidance. They are crucial to the executive’s and company’s success.
As an EA, you’re an executive’s right-hand person. You manage many aspects of their life. You answer phones, schedule meetings, help maintain client relationships, and accompany them to work events. You’re the gatekeeper to an executive’s time. You’re also their sounding board.
An EA’s exact day-to-day duties vary, depending on the business and which tasks an executive delegates. But, there are common steps to become one.
How to Become an Executive Assistant
So how do you become an executive assistant? We’ve outlined the steps below.
Earn a Diploma
At a minimum, EAs need to have a high school diploma. English, math, technology, business, and economics study all prove beneficial in an office environment.
Gain Administrative Experience
You need to understand the type of experience you need to become an EA. Administrative experience is crucial for an EA. It would help if you gained experience working at a company with an administrative hierarchy. Roles like receptionist, secretary, or administrative assistant are all great starting points. It’s common for those in other admin roles to move up into EA roles after gaining the right experience.
Some of our top tips for gaining relevant EA experience are:
- Volunteer. If you’re struggling to gain an entry-level role, build your resume with volunteer work. Non-profit organizations often look for administrative volunteers.
- Pitch In. Once you’ve landed yourself an entry-level or volunteer role, don’t sit back and relax. It’s time to learn, build skills, and earn references. Go out of your way to assist within the organization. Show that you’re eager to help.
- Question Process. Ask how you can improve operations. EAs need to know the tools and tricks of the trade. You always need to be one step ahead. Instead of doing what’s asked of you, ask how things can improve and implement new time-saving processes around the office.
- Respond Quickly. Show how determined you are to advance by responding quickly and efficiently to every request. Make yourself stand out as the go-to person around the office.
- Network. Attend events, conferences, workshops to make sure you’re networking as much as possible and meeting people. Making the right connections will help you to find new opportunities and advance your career.
Earn a Degree
While a bachelor’s degree isn’t always a job requirement, it is becoming more critical for EAs. Especially in an increasingly competitive job market.
A degree in the field you want to work in is a good option. That might be law, accounting, medicine, politics, or anything other industry you’re interested in.
If you don’t know which field you want to go into, a bachelor’s degree in business administration is ideal. You’ll learn everything from information and operations management to how to solve business problems.
Obtain Professional Certification
Professional certifications help you stand out from the crowd. Additional training and voluntary qualifications help to improve your knowledge, skills, and credibility.
The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers two certifications:
- The Certified Professional Secretary (CPS)
- The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
The American Society of Administrative Professionals offers the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence. You could also attend their annual training conference, EA Ignite.
Other beneficial certifications for EAs include:
At LifeSquire, all of our assistants can participate in our assistant training program, LifeSquire Academy. The professional online training program is for executive assistants, aspiring assistants, personal assistants, or anyone working in a support staff role who wants to take their career to the next level.
LifeSquire Academy teaches skills including those needed to:
- Deal with difficult bosses and chaotic offices
- Create and set professional boundaries
- Understand proper etiquette
- Create organizational systems
- Be a time management pro
Some industries also have certifications, such as:
- Professional Legal Secretary from the National Association of Legal Secretaries
- Certified Legal Secretary Specialist from Legal Secretaries International
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant from the National Healthcareer Association
- Certified Medical Administrative Specialist from the American Medical Technologists
Apply for Jobs
Applying for and earning the job you want can be the most challenging part of becoming an executive assistant. It helps to know from the beginning what type of business you want to work for. You then can develop skills and experience specific to that type of role. It also helps to have a professional organization and develop a network to recommend you.
How to Become an Executive Assistant with LifeSquire
To set up your career for success, you need to understand how to become an executive assistant. Experience and education are crucial to this role.
To become an executive assistant, you should:
- Earn a high school diploma, then consider earning additional education at a trade school or college
- Gain experience in an entry-level or volunteer administrative role
- Show initiative and interest in your company
- Get certified for extra credibility and marketability
At LifeSquire, we’re always looking for hardworking executive assistants to join our candidate pool. We also want to help those interested in training in the profession through LifeSquire Academy. Contact us today to find out more.