How to Become a Executive Assistant
If you’re highly organised and enjoy working at the very top of companies, you may be suited for an executive assistant position.
This job is greatly fulfilling and could be a stepping-stone to something bigger. Let’s take a look at everything that you need to know before you get started.
What Does an Executive Assistant do?
Sometimes called an administrative assistant, an executive assistant supports professionals with a wide range of admin duties. Often enough, these highly-skilled assistants will work with the senior manager team or even the CEO of a business.
It’s not merely about offering a level of administrative support. When you take on this role, you will act as a personal assistant to your manager. That means helping them with administrative tasks but also giving them memos, taking phone calls, dealing with their travel arrangements, and scheduling meetings.
The day-to-day duties of an executive assistant will vary depending on the sector in which you work and your manager. For example, working for a senior executive may look different to working for a founder.
There are many different types of job openings. You may want to work part-time or in a full-time executive assistant position, for instance. Often enough, you will find yourself working alongside top executives, so you need to make sure you have what it takes.
What Qualifications Are Needed to Become an Executive Assistant?
To become an executive assistant or any type of executive secretary, you won’t necessarily need a degree. Your experience, training, and personality can be enough to land you this type of role. When you look for executive assistant jobs, you can showcase your professionalism and organisational skills in your cover letter.
While you don’t need a formal degree, it’s highly valuable to undertake some expert training. Gaining the proper certification will increase your chances of getting hired. Fortunately, there are plenty of online courses that will put you in the best position for your future success. Starting out with some secretarial courses is a good idea. Through courses like these, you can perfect your organisational skills and learn the key skills to become an office assistant. This type of qualification will prepare you for working with top executives.
Another option is to look into business administration courses. These courses will give you a chance to learn more about office management, general admin, budgeting, and more. You may also get the opportunity to improve your everyday Microsoft Office skills and learn how to create stellar spreadsheets using Excel.
If you want to really hone your skills, you can also take some generalised administration courses online. Becoming a certified administrative professional will put you in an excellent position when it comes to applying for new executive assistant jobs when they come up. You may also choose to join the international association of administrative professionals.
Ready to take your professional development to the next level? Signing up for a course will help you stand out from the crowd. Much of the time, the executive assistant job description will specify the qualifications that you need. However, the more certifications and training that you have under your belt, the more likely you are to land your next job.
What Skills are Needed to Become an Executive Assistant?
It goes without saying that an executive assistant should have extremely strong organisational skills. You are the person on whom managers rely to organise everyday tasks and activities. If you want to make it in this role, you should also have a healthy balance of soft skills since you will need to work closely with the manager. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the core competencies you need to have to do this job:
Microsoft Office skills (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint)
Verbal communication and written communication
Problem-solving and analysing
Business administration knowledge
Bookkeeping and accounting
Excellent time management
You will need to have each competency if you want to get an executive assistant position. Of course, you should keep in mind that there may be additional skills you need depending on the company in which you work. For example, you may be tasked with giving in-person presentations, planning trips, and communicating with stakeholders. Whenever you are thinking of applying for one of these roles, be sure to read the job description closely first.
Does Becoming an Executive Assistant Need Any Work Experience?
Starting out as an executive assistant? You will find that many employers require this type of professional to have at least a few years of experience in a busy work environment. Before you start your job search, make sure you have some work experience and the right qualifications for the job.
While you may not have worked as an executive assistant before now, some employers will accept other types of work experience. For example, if you have worked as a personal assistant or an officer assistant, you may be a good fit for this type of position. Should you be applying to this job without tons of experience, highlight your hard and soft skills. Showing that you are a driven and highly-skilled person may help you get an interview.
Career Prospects For an Executive Assistant
When you have started along this career path, it’s worth knowing that there are plenty of opportunities coming your way. You may start out working for a manager and then work your way up the career ladder to work for a high-level executive. As you pick up more and more executive assistant skills, you will become an attractive prospect for employers.
If you want to take a side step out of the assistant sector, you could go into project management. The unique talents you acquire in your career will allow you to excel in this type of career.
In this guide, we have taken a look at how you can become an executive assistant. No matter where you are now in your career, you can be sure that there is an opportunity for you. Take a look at the training options today and get things moving.
Browse Secretarial Courses Now!