Executive assistants support high-level executives such as vice presidents, CFOs and CEOs, acting as the conduit between the executive and other high-level managers, customers and visitors. While executive assistants perform some clerical duties, they focus on the communication between the manager and the rest of the company.
An executive assistant must have a working knowledge of the executive’s duties and will often sit in on meetings the executive can’t attend, advising the attendees on the executive’s views. This type of assistant may also supervise lower-level clerical staff.
While there is no specific degree requirement for administrative assistants, most executives want assistants who have at least a bachelor’s degree in business or a field relevant to their business. Because technology plays such an important role in business today, courses in communications and computer technology can be an advantage.
Executive assistants help managers succeed. They greet clients or visitors, prepare paperwork and slides, and attempt to leave a favorable impression. But becoming an executive assistant means more than handling administrative tasks – this job requires handling all the fine details so the executive can focus on running the business.
Daily job duties of an executive assistant can include:
Because they are working with high-level executives, executive assistants usually work in large office buildings. A professional appearance and good communication skills are a must when representing a company figure. Most executive assistants work a standard 40-hour week.
Salary ranges for executive assistants can vary depending on the industry, location and level of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for executive assistants was $37,240 in May 2006, but those working in major corporate centers for top executives can earn much more.