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Which Skills are Needed for Executive Assistant Jobs?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Executive assistant jobs are well paid, office jobs that required a wide range of technical, business and communication skills. These skills are obtained through a combination of education and work experience. The role of an executive assistant is to provide administrative support to someone in a senior management or executive role.

The technical skills requires for executive assistant positions focus on the use of computer software. The candidate must have an expert level certification in office productivity software, word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software. They must be willing and able to quickly learn new technology and be able to support any software or hardware that is required by the executive. This includes mobile phones, personal information management units, such as a Blackberry® or other new technologies.

These types of skills are obtained through training courses and seminars that are made available when new software is adopted by the company. Online seminars and upgrade sessions are a great way to keep skills fresh. Executive assistant jobs often expand over time to provide greater level of support services. By expanding your skill set, you can become indispensable to your employer.

Business skills used in executive assistant jobs include negotiation, basic accounting, creation of financial reports and processing accounting transactions. They must also understand organizational structure and management, marketing and business strategy. To obtain these skills, candidates required the successful completion of two-years post secondary education and an associate degree in business, administration, or related field. These skills are all required to properly support a senior management in a large firm.

Communication skills are the most important skill required when applying for executive assistant positions. An executive assistant is often a primary communicator of the executives’ message, direction, and priories to other members of staff. Discretion and a clear understanding of roles and business protocol are necessary for success as an executive assistant.

Communication training is available from a wide range of post-secondary education institutions. In addition, evening courses, seminars and self-help books are all designed to improve these important skills. The ability to write and speak at the appropriate levels is critical to success in executive assistant jobs.

The ability to smooth over difficult situations and provide insight into the motivations of other people is a valuable skill for an executive assistant. Many executives rely on their assistants to keep them up to speed on the gossip in the institution, as well as the concerns of lower level staff. The ability to successfully balance conflicting priorities is one of the most important skills of an executive assistant.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By latte31 — On Aug 27, 2010

Icecream17- That sounds really interesting. I know that many receptionist jobs are offered on a temporary basis.

The company, Officeteam offers temporary assignments for administrative executive assistant jobs, executive administrative assistant jobs, accounting jobs, and all sorts of clerical positions.

Office Team is a division of Robert Half which is a well known staffing company that provides positions lasting a little as a week, to several months.

Some companies may like the performance out of a temporary employee so much that they might make an offer to hire the temp.

This is another advantage for the temporary employee because they get to test out the environment before they actually commit to a permanent position.

By icecream17 — On Aug 27, 2010

Mutsy- I had a friend who was a legal secretary. She had her legal executive assistant job for over 20 years.

She said that working in a law firm is a very fast-paced, and a successful executive assistant has to be able to work under major deadlines, which may include working beyond the standard schedule.

She had to prepare documents and contracts along with reports, tables, and policies. She was also in charge of the filing system and had to be able to use Dictaphone because the information that she obtained at her job was highly confidential.

By mutsy — On Aug 27, 2010

Executive administrative assistant jobs require an extreme attention to detail and knowledge of most software programs.

The executive administrative assistant in order to support a high level executive, he or she must stay one step ahead of the executive.

He or she should be on top of the executive's appointments, create whatever memos the executive needs, and take notes during meetings.

Typing speed is essential as many executive administrative assistants have to type various types of memos. A minimum typing speed of 50 words a minute is essential.

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