Position Profile: Executive Assistant

Basic Scope of an Executive Assistant’s Duties:

  • Serve as gatekeeper to executive with both people and information
  • Manage communication and correspondence with a highs sense of confidentiality
  • Timely alert executive with relevant news, updates and messages
  • Manage complex calendar, meetings and itineraries
  • Serve as host to visitors of the office
  • Manage transportation and trip details as well as updates and changes
  • Manage finances by drafting expense report and other necessary financial reporting
  • Think ahead and present suggestions and tips to executive to ensure seamless flow of daily tasks

What are the usual requirements of an Executive Assistant?

  • Bachelor’s degree, dependent on the organization
  • Strong written and verbal skills
  • Strong organization and resourcefulness
  • Ability to think on your feet and be a problem solver with minimum instruction
  • Sense of decorum and confidentiality
  • Strong ability to multi-task and be proactive
  • Software and other technical skills will vary depending on the organization but often include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook
  • Flexibility to work after hours and be reachable when necessary

How does an Executive Assistant differ from an Administrative Assistant?
An Executive Assistant has an enhanced role and directly supports an executive of the company as the first point of contact for the executive’s office. The scope of duties is often more complex and rigorous and focused on one executive, as opposed to an Administrative Assistant supporting more than one person. The Executive Assistant is also privy to a larger scope of sensitive and confidential information about the organization and executive and will need to exhibit a high degree of decorum and professionalism at all times. Depending on the organization, an Executive Assistant may mentor and or supervise Administrative Assistants within the same department as the executive.

What education is usually required or most beneficial?
This all depends on the organization itself and the type of industry but generally speaking, a Bachelor’s Degree is usually preferred or required. If the job description notes that a degree is required, there is typically no room for negotiation. In terms of specific areas of study, all education can be relevant and useful if presented the correct way. If a candidate has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and applies for an Executive Assistant role at an accounting firm, that will be of interest to the employer. If a candidate is a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s in English and conveys strong writing ability and communication skills in the interview, that is relevant and helpful.

What is a typical salary range?
Salary can vary greatly depending on the organization and industry. For example, a nonprofit will pay a lot less than a law firm or financial sector organization. What a candidate should keep in mind when considering salary is how the overall quality of life will be in the position relative to the salary, such as benefits, commute, etc.

What will give me an edge when interviewing for an Executive Assistant role?
Prior Executive Assistant experience is always helpful and a plus, but the necessary qualities and characteristics of the position must be conveyed in the interview. Supplying these through exact examples of past experiences and work product is the goal. With such a key position as this, oftentimes personality, presentation and demeanor are as important as technical skills. If the executive doesn’t feel he or she can trust you with sensitive information, you will not be offered the role.

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