Career Advice and Qualifications for Executive Assistants

Executive Assistants

When you become an executive assistant, greeting your boss every morning is just a part of your day. Most executives and senior managers don’t have the time to prepare reports, answer phone calls or organize meetings because of their busy schedules. So that is where you, the executive assistant, come in.

Executive assistants are vital for companies as they help carry out day-to-day tasks. They are also the gatekeepers between their bosses, visitors, and internal staff. 

What is an Executive Assistant?

An executive assistant has a somewhat similar role to that of a secretary. The main difference is that executive assistants will take on more advanced administrative duties to assist their boss, which means their decision-making abilities are greater than that of a secretary. In short, they make their boss’s life easier.

What Does An Executive Assistant Do?

Typically, executive assistants will work for government agencies, large companies, financial investment firms, and private enterprises.

An average day for an executive assistant is as follows:

  • Email management
  • Organizing staff meetings
  • Taking messages and answering calls
  • Memo and invoice preparation
  • Document editing
  • Basic bookkeeping 
  • Organize an executive’s daily schedule
  • Market research
  • Report preparation for executives to make proper decisions
  • Determining if visitors and phone calls should reach the executive
  • Train and supervise lower-level administrative staff.

How to Become an Executive Assistant?

You don’t need a college degree to be an executive assistant. But applying is highly competitive. So having previous experience or a college education will put you on top of your competition.

Executive Assistant Education

Some executive assistants have an associate degree. But if you want to raise your chances of getting a job, the courses below should help:

  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Bookkeeping and/or Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Database Management
  • Business Communication

Executive Assistant Certification

There are plenty of colleges and professional organizations that offer executive assistant certification. For example, you can take a five-day in-person training course to obtain the Advanced Certificate For Executive Assistant. Or go to the Institute of Executive Assistants to advance your career.

Key Skills For An Executive Assistant

In addition to experience and education, you will also need the right skills with you like the ones below to become a great executive assistant.

Technical Proficiency

While you won’t necessarily take every note of what your boss says over a typewriter, being an executive assistant will still need some technical proficiency on your part. 

Typically, executive assistants will need basic Google and Microsoft Office Suite skills. And type about 70 words per minute, adapt to new software and conduct deep research when needed.

Executive assistants also help their bosses with technology. You’ll have to know how to convert files, rebook last-minute flights, and memorize all passwords.

Networking Skills 

Executive assistants will interact with CEOs, billionaires, colleagues, mail carriers, and other individuals that want to meet your boss on any given day. So, having some networking skills will help you interact with such people. It will also help you advance your career by helping your boss meet the people they want to meet.

Strong Organizational Skills 

A great executive assistant can help their boss with their travel plans and organize their time to get the most out of their day. There is so much work that executives and managers need to do, and priorities can shift constantly. So there’s no time to get distracted and digress. That is why executive assistants need to know how to organize their bosses’ time to finish priorities and urgent tasks.


The job of an executive assistant is not easy. That is why recruiters and managers will always seek out the best of the best. So if anyone wants to become one, share this article to help them.