How to Become an Executive Assistant
Think of the job title executive assistant—what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine a sleek office with expensive furniture and a view of a cityscape out the window. That image might result from a movie or TV show you watched featuring an assistant who fetches coffee and casually helps run the company. While Hollywood may have glamorized the position, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed as an executive assistant, but it can be an incredibly enriching career.
An executive assistant frequently has the potential to make an impact on many different outcomes of the company they’re working for. They often join meetings and create reports that give insight into projects for the leader they’re supporting. They’ll generally coordinate with other departments and stakeholders, and they’ll develop a deep knowledge of business processes. If that sounds interesting, you might be an ideal job fit for an executive assistant role.
What is an Executive Assistant? Definition & Meaning
As the title suggests, an executive assistant is responsible for providing administrative support to an executive or manager. This can be a demanding and fast-paced role, as the executive or manager may have a lot of requirements they need to delegate. Their assistant often works the same hours as the executive and is essentially both the bridge and the guard to the executive’s time.
— Executive Assistant Responsibilities: What Does an Executive Assistant Do on a Day-to-Day Basis?
Executive assistants are responsible for various tasks, including managing schedules, preparing correspondence, handling customer inquiries, and providing support during meetings and events. To succeed in this role, it is essential to have strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks and keep on top of deadlines. Assistants also need to excel at customer service skills, as they are the public representative of the leaders they’re supporting.
In addition, executive assistants must be able to multitask and work well under pressure. Executive assistants will often be liaising with other staff members, clients, and suppliers, requiring exceptional communication skills. In short, an executive assistant needs to be a jack-of-all-trades who is calm under pressure and able to think on their feet.
— Executive Assistant Qualifications: How Do You Become an Executive Assistant?
The most common way to become an executive assistant is to look for entry-level positions within the field, such as an administrative assistant or customer service representative. These roles will allow you to learn more about what an executive assistant does and hone your skills in the role. You’ll build your career with progressive responsibility until you’ve attained an executive assistant position.
There are no industry-wide education requirements to become an executive assistant, but you can set yourself apart with certifications. Examples include becoming a Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or earning an associate’s degree in office management or business communications. Of course, you can also pursue individual studies that relate to business, office software, or the specific industry you’re seeking.
And as with most roles, growing your network will be one of the most beneficial ways to boost your career. Consider joining a professional organization, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). This organization offers resources and networking opportunities for every level of administrative professional.
Many professionals looking to leave their current careers find that they can transfer many of their skills to an executive assistant role and simply need to add some on-the-job experience to be marketable. If that describes you, consider freelancing or volunteering to gain experience before having an official job title.
— Executive Assistant Salary: How Much Do Executive Assistants Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for an executive assistant is $66,870 per year. However, salaries can vary depending on experience, education, location, and other factors. And the industry that an assistant supports plays a significant role in their income. For example, according to the BLS, those working for private organizations tend to earn the most, while state government, school, and university assistants fall on the lower end of the salary range.
— Remote Executive Assistant Jobs: Can an Executive Assistant Role Be Completed Remotely?
With the rise of technology and more accessible communication tools, many executives handle correspondence and scheduling themselves.
The executive assistant role is increasingly shifting to a role that supports multiple leaders instead of just one. As such, it is increasingly common to work a full-time or hybrid remote role as an executive assistant. However, this largely depends on the industry and organization the executive assistant is working for. In industries where executives frequently work flexible or remote roles, their assistants will most often be able to as well.
Finally, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you may be delighted to learn that many executive assistants are pursuing freelancing roles that allow them the freedom to set their schedules. They’re building thriving businesses while executives enjoy the freedom to delegate tasks in chunks that fit their evolving business needs better than a full-time team member would.
Building an Executive Assistant Career
For many professionals, an executive assistant role is an ideal fit. They can flex their organizational muscles, juggle communications, and support companies that mirror their values. Take some time to explore some of FlexJobs’ recent executive assistant job postings to discover all the opportunities that a career as an executive assistant can offer.
If you’re ready to launch your executive assistant career, we can help! With jobs posted daily with a variety of work schedules, you’re certain to find a role that supports your career goals and your work-life balance needs. Take the tour today and discover all of the ways that a FlexJobs membership can support you in your job search.