An executive assistant dedicates his career to assisting a corporate officer, usually by providing a combination of professional advice and administrative support.
While the responsibilities associated with the job vary depending on the culture that prevails in a given company, there are some basic tasks that all assistants perform.
Most of them are related to secretarial work, scheduling and contact management.
Many executives treat their assistants like go-to-people for ideas, recommendations, and confidential help, helping with everything from photocopies to press conferences.
An executive assistants can coordinate your supervisor’s schedule.
Companies with executive assistants typically assign one assistant per executive. The assistant is responsible for handling the tasks delegated by the executive who acts as his immediate supervisor. In many cases, assistants have desks right outside their executives’ offices, to make them as accessible as possible.
An executive assistants may be responsible for scheduling appointments.
Executive assistants generally report only to their designated superior. They act as confidante and office assistant to this person. Everything the executive needs to do, the assistant does.
They can accompany their executive to business meetings, and they are in charge of knowing details about other attendees. Depending on the needs of the executive, assistants may also come on corporate trips.
In this capacity, the assistant is generally responsible for managing the executive’s schedule, arranging meetings, and ensuring that they have read the correct informational material and are ready to make the necessary presentations or comments.
Personal assistants are generally responsible for keeping their clients’ lives organized.
Not everything at work is as glamorous as travel and high-profile meetings. Many of the daily tasks of an executive assistant are administrative in nature. Assistants are generally responsible for handling their superior’s paperwork.
This includes mail, inter-office correspondence, and basic filing. The attendee can also be asked to manage a calendar, keep track of meeting times, official appointments, and important contacts.
Organizing meetings is one aspect of most executive assistant jobs.
Depending on the structure and size of the company, an executive assistant may have one or more assistants of their own to help with the workload.
They are usually entry-level secretaries or administrative associates. The executive assistant is generally responsible for managing their tasks and delegating assignments to them as needed.
Executive assistants may be responsible for ordering more office supplies.
In most cases, the corporate executive has little or no say in the secretarial structure that his assistant establishes. Decisions about discipline, praise, and raises are often left to the assistant’s discretion, often in consultation with the company’s human resources department.
Training and Experience of an Executive Assistant
Securing an executive assistant job generally requires a combination of training and practical experience. In general, executives expect their assistants to be experts in company policies and procedures, as well as competent in basic office functions.
It is not unusual for an employee to become an executive assistant after working in another position within the company structure.
Many lower-level secretaries, for example, advance to executive assistant status after several years of strong job performance.
Most companies prefer that attendees have some type of degree. Courses in management, human resources, or even sociology can be beneficial, but a degree in something is usually enough.
Corporate hiring managers often view a college education more as a mark of prestige and general intellect than as a source of specific job-related knowledge.
However, this does not mean that a college degree is required to become an executive assistant.
In many cases, experience is more important than formal education. While it can be difficult to get hired at the executive level immediately after high school, someone with only a high school diploma who has spent several years working as a support staff member in a corporate setting may be the most compelling candidate.
Companies are often more interested in knowing how well a candidate can perform the job than in the schools mentioned on a resume.
Prestige and Benefits of being an Executive Assistant
Executive assistants are generally considered somewhat elitist, at least when it comes to support staff. They tend to have privileges that other administrative assistants do not share, both in terms of resources and salary.
In some companies, an executive assistant with long-term tenure may be eligible to participate in pension programs or other benefits that are not available to employees in lesser positions.
Relationship with personal assistants
In some cases, executive assistants may also perform certain personal tasks, such as cleaning the laundry or making vacation arrangements for a family pet. However, these are not normal job duties.
Most of the time, these types of non-office jobs are tasks of a personal assistant. It can be easy to confuse executive and personal assistants, although the work they do is technically different.
The only official function is to help a superior to be successful at work. A personal assistant, on the other hand, is generally responsible for helping an important person organize their life in general, both personally and professionally.
Handling printing and organizing paperwork is one of the functions of an executive assistant.