What is an Executive Assistant?

Most people would describe an Executive Assistant as the face of a company – and rightly so. They provide the first level of Administrative Assistance to company executives. Just like PAs and Secretaries, Executive Assistants are expected to do a lot of clerical work. They also have additional responsibilities as well as high-level tasks to complete which can have a significant bearing on the profitability and success of the business. They are at times tasked with the job of representing the Executives they work under in meetings.

With the number of responsibilities bestowed on these Executive Assistants, there are particular skills that you must possess to fit in these shoes. Executive Assistants are expected to be organised and have the skills needed to prioritise work efficiently. Excellent interpersonal skills, as well as perfect communication skills, are also critical. They are required to have taken a business management course and possess the best managerial qualities.

Having a degree or two in management courses can go a long way in making you a qualified individual for this position. Also, you will be required to have previous experience working as an Executive Assistant plus, a few years of experience as either a PA or an Admin Assistant.

What an Executive Assistant Does

As an Executive Assistant, you are the right-hand man of the person you are assigned to assist. You are responsible for their personal and work schedules and ensure they attend all of their meetings. The executive assistant acts as the secretary, admin assistant and the receptionist to their senior. They will do all administrative jobs such as handling calls, emails, accepting or declining visitors, sending emails and memos, reviewing reports while at the same time running the executive’s schedule. They can use sophisticated and straightforward software when delivering their duties.

These assistants are the gatekeepers. They determine which calls go through to the boss and which ones don’t. They are tasked with the job of deciding what to bring to the attention of their senior and what to handle on their own. Indeed, this is because their work is to make the life of the boss as comfortable as possible. Yes, this is why they are required to have excellent problem-solving skills as well as interpersonal skills.

More often than not, executive assistants need to work closely with other admin assistants in the workplace. In most companies, the Executive Assistants will supervise the work of other low-level admin assistants and also coordinate tasks around the office.

If it is a large company, it is possible for an Executive Assistant to have assistants to help with the workload. These assistants can be entry-level associates or secretaries. An Executive Assistants manages their tasks as well as delegating duties to them. Thus, this means that an executive assistant needs to have excellent leadership qualities. They are expected to spearhead different projects that require them to manage junior employees in any organisation.

Executive assistants are needed in different job industries. They can be found in government agencies, hospitals, schools, NGOs and corporate organisations.

So, in conclusion

Now that you understand what an executive assistant does, you are better placed to shape your career in a way that ensures you will become one.