What Is an Executive Assistant?

The executives who direct large businesses and organizations rely on a great deal of clerical support. The individual who works most closely with these leaders in managing that support is often known as an executive assistant. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The Role of an Executive Assistant within a Company

The function of any office system, whether local or global, usually depends on a hierarchy of workers. An executive assistant usually works directly for someone with the authority to affect the direction of the entire company or organization. Many consider the executive assistant to be at the top of the office hierarchy. Executive assistants are called upon to train new employees and supervise staff members such as secretaries and administrative assistants.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Entry Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Similar Occupations Medical transcriptionist, Receptionist, Paralegal/Legal assistant
Median Salary (2018) $59,340 (for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -17% (for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties of the Executive Assistant

An executive assistant's exact responsibilities depend on the needs of the executive being supported. Duties may include basic office tasks such as opening mail and delivering packages. These professionals record the minutes of executive meetings, greet visitors, oversee research projects and act as a proxy for their executive during meetings. Executive assistants should have strong computer skills, which may be necessary to perform the following tasks:

  • Sort, distribute and respond to correspondences, faxes and e-mail
  • File, manage and retrieve documentation
  • Make travel arrangements
  • Read and analyze reports
  • Prepare agendas and presentations
  • Manage schedules and appointments
  • Organize, plan and prioritize the work of other support staff

Importance of Skills and Ability

At times executives may delegate a great deal of power to their executive assistants. This depends on the assistant's capacity to manage personnel, grasp business fundamentals and complete complex projects. Possessing exceptional organization and communication skills will help an executive assistant handle these responsibilities.

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