Executive Assistant Training

An executive assistant is a specialized professional whose job is to assist senior level management in an organization achieve their primary business goals. They may perform a wide variety of functions including supervising office staff, managing the office and preparing technical reports and communications. Executive assistants may be employed in virtually any industry. Most work in an office setting where excellent interpersonal skills are a must. As the person in this position will routinely interact with upper level management and their clients, they must achieve a degree of sophistication and knowledge that is not required for other secretarial and administrative positions.

Because executive assistants play such a vital and high profile role within an organization, more and more of these professionals are being required to earn a four year college degree before being accepted for one of these positions. In addition, many executive assistants further their education by obtaining training and certification through the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals. Such a certification represents the attainment of the pinnacle of skill and knowledge in the profession and enables the individual to command higher salaries and take on more responsible roles.

Education for Becoming an Executive Assistant

Students can begin preparing themselves for a career as an executive assistant during their high school years by focusing on classes that offer introductions to computer applications, typing, business, economics and communication. Some high schools even offer intensive vocational programs with more advanced coursework.

As the student begins their college studies they may decide to earn a four year degree in Business Administration. This degree prepares the student with the skills necessary to manage an office, oversee other administrative employees, produce complex reports and efficiently disseminate information. Students may take courses related to accounting, business ethics, finance, business communication and advanced computer applications.

Other degrees also successfully prepare candidates for executive assistant positions. An individual interested in a particular sector of industry, finance or manufacturing can earn a related degree and be able to find suitable employment as an executive assistant. Their specialized knowledge makes them ideal applicants who will be hired to assist high level company executives that require a level of sophistication and knowledge of their specific industry than would typically be possessed by the average candidate.

No matter which college major is chosen, the individual who aspires to become an executive assistant would do well to focus much of their education on computers and technology. Modern offices are increasingly reliant on such tools in the marketplace and any person who possesses advanced knowledge of these technologies would be an asset to an upper level executive.

Executive Assistant Career Description

The typical day for an executive assistant is anything but typical. Every day brings unexpected challenges and new opportunities to pursue. Being an executive assistant requires a great deal of versatility and flexibility. The individual fulfilling this role needs to be focused and efficient in order to complete a multitude of tasks on time and on budget.

The executive assistant may find themselves making travel arrangements for their supervisor. Additionally, they may plan a large conference that will be attended by several hundred guests. They may, therefore, be responsible for coordinating travel and meeting plans for many different people. On a day to day basis the executive assistant will communicate over the phone, by email and in person. Consequently, it is important for such individuals to possess excellent written and oral communication skills. They may be responsible for handling accounting and bookkeeping functions. Some executive assistants also fulfill the role of an office manager. As such, they may be responsible for hiring, training and discipline of employees.

The Outlook for Becoming an Executive Assistant

The role of an executive assistant is constantly evolving as the world of business evolves. Some functions that are performed today by people in these roles were once performed by the executives themselves. However, since the sophistication, knowledge level and skills of the executive assistant have grown, so have their responsibilities. In recognition of their enhanced role, executive assistants today earn very attractive salaries and are frequently offered competitive benefits packages. Demand for qualified individuals is expected to remain steady or even increase in the coming years, making it important for students to continue to seek the right education and certifications.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

The executive assistant is a person who communicates exceptionally well orally and in writing. They have superior time management skills and can remain calm and efficient even in highly stressful situations. Their attention to detail is unsurpassed and their knowledge of the essential business function of their organization should be nearly as comprehensive as that of the executive whom they assist. These challenging jobs can be an excellent opportunity for motivated individuals.