An executive assistant dedicates his or her career to assisting a corporate official, usually providing a mix of professional advice and administrative assistance. While the tasks that assistants perform vary depending on the culture of the company, there are a few basic tasks that all assistants must complete. The majority of them have to do with secretarial work, scheduling, and managing contacts. Many executives look to their assistants for advice, recommendations, and confidential assistance on everything from photocopying to press briefings.
The order of things
Executive assistants are typically assigned to one executive per company. The executive who serves as the assistant’s immediate supervisor is in charge of delegating tasks to the assistant. Assistants often have desks just outside their bosses’ offices so that they can be as accessible as possible.
Executive assistants usually report only to their named boss. They serve as this individual’s confidante and office assistant. The assistant takes care of everything the executive requires. They may accompany their executive to business meetings and are responsible for keeping track of the other attendees’ information. Assistants may accompany executives on business trips, depending on their needs. In this role, the executive assistant is typically in charge of managing the executive’s schedule, scheduling meetings, and ensuring that the executive has read the appropriate briefing material and is prepared to make any necessary presentations or remarks.
Travel and high-profile meetings aren’t the only highlights of the job. Many of an executive assistant’s daily responsibilities are administrative in nature. In most cases, assistants are in charge of their boss’s paperwork. Mail, inter-office correspondence, and basic filing are all included. The assistant may also be asked to keep track of meeting times, official appointments, and important contacts on a calendar.
An executive assistant may have one or more assistants to help with the workload, depending on the structure and size of the company. These are usually secretaries or clerical associates at the entry level. The executive assistant is usually in charge of managing their tasks and assigning them assignments as needed.
Most of the time, the corporate executive has little to no say in the secretarial structure that his or her assistant establishes. Discipline, commendations, and raises are frequently left to the assistant’s discretion, with the help of the company’s human resources department.
Experience and Training
Getting a job as an executive assistant usually necessitates a combination of education and experience. Executive assistants are expected to be knowledgeable about company policies and procedures as well as capable of performing basic office tasks. After working in another position within the company structure, it is not uncommon for an employee to advance to the position of executive assistant. After several years of excellent performance, many lower-level secretaries advance to executive assistant status.
Most employers prefer assistants to have a college diploma. Coursework in management, human resources, or even sociology can be beneficial, but most people can get with just a bachelor’s degree. College education is often seen corporate hiring managers as a sign of prestige and overall intelligence rather than a source of specific job-related knowledge.
This isn’t to say that obtaining a college diploma is required to work as an executive assistant. In many cases, practical experience trumps formal education. While it may be difficult to get hired at the executive level right out of high school, someone with only a high school diploma who has worked as a member of the support staff in a corporate setting for a number of years may be the most compelling candidate. Companies are frequently more concerned with a candidate’s ability to perform the job than with the schools listed on a resume.
Benefits and Prestige
Executive assistants are usually regarded as high-ranking members of the support staff. They typically enjoy benefits that other administrative assistants do not, both in terms of resources and pay. In some companies, a long-serving executive assistant may be eligible for pension plans or other benefits not available to employees in lower positions.
Personal Assistants and Their Relationships
Executive assistants may also perform personal tasks such as picking up dry cleaning or making vacation plans for a family pet in some cases. These aren’t your typical work responsibilities, though. These types of non-office jobs are typically performed a personal assistant. Though their jobs are technically different, it’s easy to mix up personal and executive assistants. The only official role of an executive assistant is to assist a superior in achieving success on the job. A personal assistant, on the other hand, is typically tasked with assisting a prominent figure in organizing his or her life in general, both personally and professionally.