Every executive needs an assistant and this is where you will come in. The schedule and workload of an executive are inevitably pressured and they need assistance to give them a hand on a daily basis. Executive assistants are the first point of contact for clients or business contacts, who want to make an appointment with your boss. You will be the one to screen people, making sure you coordinate the calendar and appointments get made with the right people. If needed, you will help your boss by making travel arrangements on his behalf. You will take responsibility for other practical tasks. Such as sorting correspondence, and fast-tracking important messages to the right place.
Your true aim is to become indispensable to your executive. Helping them stay efficient, organised and spending their time productively. If you thrive in a demanding busy environment and you are extremely organised you might just find you will suit the role perfectly.
Why not keep reading and find out what steps you need to take to become an indispensable executive assistant.
Step one: Pursue a degree in administration
Formal training is not a prerequisite of becoming an executive assistant. Yet, investing in your education is a good way to build your skill set and best prepare yourself for success in administration. Executive assistants need to have excellent writing skills and this is something which can you can perfect at a university. Taking a degree specific to administration will make sure you learn and develop the skills you will need most in your field of work. Studying a relevant degree can help you to get a position as an executive assistant even with minimum practical experience.
Step two: Seek work in administration
Once you have attained your degree you can begin to seek work in administration. You can look for a role which will give you a good foundation and experience in readiness for progression. Executive assistants are often promoted from the administration team within each company. For example, you could start by aiming for your first role as an administrative assistant. Look out for companies whose industry/ context interest you with entry-level positions open. Tailor your resume for each job application to best display your qualifications and skills. Make sure you target your cover letter for each application.
Step three: Gain experience in your new job
Once you have secured an entry-level role, focus on building up your experience. Develop those skills which you will need as an executive assistant. You can keep an eye out for opportunities opening in the company you already work for because promotions often happen within the company.
Step four: Apply for a position as an executive assistant
Once you have some experience in administration you can apply for jobs as an executive assistant. You may find an opportunity opens in the company you work for. Or you can seek opportunities in another company. Aiming to gain a role as an executive assistant can be competitive, so be patient and don’t give up at the first hurdle. Stay focused.
Step five: Consider a specialised role
Once you have realised your dream and you are living the fast-paced life of an executive assistant. You may consider a specialisation. You could have this in mind from the start but you don’t necessarily need to always set your end game in stone. Administration varies greatly and there are opportunities to suit every individual.
Marketing coordinator: Do you find marketing interesting? Then an exciting progression from your executive assistant role could be into the marketing team. A marketing coordinator creates a marketing strategy for the company, getting involved in implementation. You will also keep an eye out for potential threats or market developments which the company need to react to in order to attain their goals.
Office Manager: When you enjoy working with people as well as practical tasks you might consider setting your sights on the role of an office manager. You keep an eye on the daily operations of the office, making sure systems are productive and function well. This involves a lot of interactions with people as well needing a good understanding of how the business functions. You may have responsibilities in the areas of recruitment, training, delegation, filing, budgeting, and human resources.
Human Resources: An interesting field to work in, and one which will always have a demand. Every business has a need for administrators who manage staff recruitment and the tasks associated with that. They play a role agreeing on the workforce needs of the company. HR are the ones who write and advertise vacancies, they issue contracts, and they provide paperwork for training programs. HR also provide advice and are the first point of contact for staff who may have a conflict or complaint about the company.
Executive Assistant Duties
Executive assistants work closely with their executive. You take responsibility for important administration tasks which can’t be left by the wayside. In real terms, this means you will coordinate meetings, appointments, travel and get other important organisational tasks completed. The specific tasks you will be responsible for can vary between industries and the size of the company you work within. Your main focus will be following the direction of the executive you are assisting. You will usually take responsibility for the schedule, resolving any conflicts. Receive mail, sort and direct any paperwork your boss needs to see. You may retrieve files and file documents over the course of the day. In short, you will have a range of tasks but these can vary. You need to have a positive attitude and use your initiative to resolve any issues which arise.
- Providing support to the executive you work for
- Scheduling, managing the diary
- Coordinating meeting and assisting preparation for them
- Handling incoming and outgoing mail
- Supervising other administrative staff
Skills for Success
The most critical skill to ensure success as an executive assistant is good communication. You will be working with people every day. Your focus should be helping them to achieve what they need to and to do this you will need to listen well. You communicate directly with the executive you work for. Taking appropriate actions according to their instructions. You will need to follow instructions, and use your initiative if necessary. Organisation is another essential skill because you will have scheduling and a wide variety of tasks to manage. Discretion is important because you will have access to confidential information and data as a part of your role. You must be trustworthy.
Skills and Attributes
- Excellent communication skills
- Able to work in a team
- Efficient at time management
- Detail orientated
- Very organised
What do Executive Assistants earn in Australia
In Australia, executive assistants earn a median wage of $68,305 per year. This varies according to a number of factors, such as location, and is intended as a reference only from Payscale 05/’18