What is an Executive Assistant?
You may have found yourself pondering, “What is an executive assistant?” Don’t worry. You’re not the only one with this question.
Many people don’t realize what an Executive Assistant does. They don’t understand how EAs differ from other administrative assistants. This uncertainty is part of what makes executive assistants a company’s secret weapon.
What is an Executive Assistant?
An executive assistant is a high-level administrative professional. EAs provide dedicated support to a company’s executives, acting as their right-hand person.
Executive assistants handle administrative and clerical work. They also are strategic thinkers, event planners, trusted confidants, and so much more.
Executive assistants take on tasks that affect a company’s success.
Responsibilities of an Executive Assistant
So what is an executive assistant responsible for? The exact duties vary. They depend on the business and which tasks an executive delegates.
Executive assistants manage executives’ calendars, which means organizing and scheduling meetings. You’ll also need to plan executives’ days and make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time.
Executive assistants design and maintain a company filing system. This task means they keep vital company records safe. These records may include correspondence, legal documents, invoices, and financial reports.
Executive assistants act as the liaison between executives and stakeholders. You’ll communicate directly with clients on behalf of executives. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining a positive professional relationship.
The planning of events often falls within the responsibilities of an executive assistant. Events you organize may include everything from conferences to client dinners.
Executive assistants make business-related travel arrangements. They also organize detailed travel itineraries for executives.
In some meetings, you’ll need to be present and take minutes. In other meetings, you may represent an executive who can’t attend.
Executive Assistant Traits and Skills
What qualities and traits an executive assistant needs depends somewhat on the company. Each company (and every executive) have specific tasks they want an EA to perform. But there are some traits and skills that EAs are expected to have.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
An executive assistant needs to communicate with other employees, clients, and vendors. They also may represent senior management in important meetings. Therefore, having strong interpersonal skills is essential.
They manage tasks around the office and plan large-scale events. As an EA, you’ll manage projects under pressure. This pressure means you must demonstrate resourcefulness.
Executive assistants juggle multiple projects and plan for busy executives. Therefore, strong organizational and time management skills are crucial. You should efficiently organize schedules and know how to prioritize time.
Many of the tasks an executive assistant does include writing. These tasks include writing emails, memos, and reports. Therefore, you need to understand grammar and know how to write in a professional tone.
Executive assistants are trusted with important, sensitive business and personal information. Discretion and trustworthiness are vital qualities in an EA.
Executive assistants have to be flexible with their schedules. Executive assistants often need to help with urgent matters. Plans change quickly and regularly. You’ll need to multitask and be comfortable jumping between tasks.
An EA job is not 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may need to work late to complete important deadlines. You also may be asked to accompany executives on business trips or to other work-related events.
How to Become an Executive Assistant
How does someone become an executive assistant? It’s actually a pretty clear process.
To become an executive assistant, you need to take the following steps:
- Earn Degrees. Earn a high school diploma and maybe even a bachelor’s degree. Having a college degree isn’t required, but it gives you an advantage.
- Gain Administrative Experience. Build your skills with a job as a receptionist, secretary, or administrative assistant
- Get Certified. Get a certification in administrative support skills. It will help set you apart.
- Create a Resume. Create a resume that highlights your skills and relevant experience.
- Apply. Apply for jobs in the industries you are most interested and experienced in.
At LifeSquire, we’re always looking for hardworking executive assistants to join our candidate pool. Potential and current assistants can participate in our assistant training program, LifeSquire Academy. Contact us today to find out more.
How LifeSquire Helps You Find the Right Executive Assistant
If you’re looking to hire a skilled executive assistant for your business, LifeSquire Connect is here to help.
We take the stress out of the executive assistant hiring process by helping find, interview, and train the perfect assistant to meet your company’s needs.
For more information about our executive assistant recruiting services, click here.