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The average salary of the executive assistant or executive secretary position ranges between $40,724 to $64,244, while the median salary is considered to be around $51,672.
An executive assistant or executive secretary holds a key role in the management of an organization by supporting the executive mangers. An executive assistant will be required to handle administrative tasks that have been assigned by the executive team and the senior management. He is expected to work with or without supervision of the executive management, as per the demands of the task. He must be prepared to work within time constraints and often under extreme pressure. The responsibilities of an executive assistant requires him to deal with a wide range of managerial tasks. However, the roles and responsibilities may vary for different firms and offices. Here is a generic list of duties for the profile of an executive assistant.
Duties and Responsibilities
An executive assistant has to plan and maintain the calendar for his reporting authority. He has to schedule and fix executive meetings and make arrangements for the travel plans. Minute-by-minute itineraries are also prepared and circulated by the executive assistant. If there is any change in the schedule, time or venue of the meeting; it is the duty of the executive assistant to bring it to the notice of the attendees.
Even if there is a separate team in charge of the technology department, it is the duty of the executive assistant to provide technical assistance whenever possible. During activities like conference calls, presentations, projections, audiovisual presentations, etc., the EA will have to make the necessary arrangements or take the help of a technically sound person to have a hindrance-free activity.
An EA has to act as a liaison between the external or internal executives, managers, and consultants. He has to maintain cordial relations with the customers, shareholders, vendors, staff, financiers, bankers, etc. Sometimes, he has to represent the executive in meetings, seminars, and conferences. He may also have to call for a meeting on the behalf of the senior executive. He will have to draft and send the agenda, inform the attendees in advance, book a conference room, conduct a meeting, and also do a follow-up meeting for the decisions taken.
The executive assistant has to assist the executives in presentations, and in summarizing reports and documents. He has to do the right research and prepare the documents, verify the facts and keep them ready before the stipulated time. Also, he will have to collate financial data to get accurate financial reports. He will have to maintain a file and documentation of all the reports and records with a detailed spreadsheet giving the location, identification number and contents of the file. This is done in accordance with the company's electronic and paper filing system.
An executive assistant has to be 'Jack of all trades'. There are times when he will have to juggle many tasks simultaneously. He will have to then plan, prioritize, and manage the multiple tasks that have been assigned to him before their deadlines. To save time, he will be expected to delegate the responsibility for efficient and time-bound management of activities. He will have to supervise and train the support functions to carry out the tasks effectively. However, in case of delegation, an EA should keep a watch on the following up for the precise completion of tasks.
Attending Phone Calls
An EA has to screen and answer the phone calls in the absence of his boss. He will have to note down the message without losing vital facts. Phone calls especially from the senior management, customers, delegates, etc. should be immediately informed to the boss.
It is the duty of an executive assistant to do research for the senior executive. It can be any kind of research like competitor analysis, new product analysis, product benchmarking, market research, etc. An EA will have to refer to credible sources for his research and compile the results after discussion with the relevant departments. He will have to go through all the relevant materials like reports, proposals, presentations, etc. before doing a thorough analysis and presenting it to the seniors. He will also have to graphically represent the data for quick and easy understanding of the senior management.
An EA will have to undertake both written and verbal communications on behalf of the senior executive. He will have to sort all the correspondence for his boss and forward it to him. He will have to segregate the important mails, emails, notices, letters, memos, etc. and prioritize them before handing it over to the senior executive. Also, he will have to draft and send communication to others, based on the directions of his boss. He will have to receive guests and interact with staff, senior management, customers, vendors, etc. before the senior executive meets them. At times, the executive assistant will also have to negotiate with the customers and vendors. Also, since he interacts with all the departments, the EA should keep the senior executive informed about any important news.
An EA has to study the operations, systems and processes of the company closely and suggest continuous improvement in the strategies, human resources, quality, production, time management, cost-effectiveness, financial management, etc. This will help the organization to propel its growth. He will also have to design and help in setting up administrative policies for the organization.
Safeguarding Secret Information
An EA is privy to the most classified kind of information as he is always present for the meetings with the senior management. He may get direct access to secret information about an in-house investigation, budgets, compensation benefits, mergers and acquisitions, financial results or any competitive strategies of the senior management. He has to be trustworthy and should not leak the information.
There may be times when an executive assistant may have to don the hat of an event manager. It can be related to anything like a foreign delegation visit, company visit, joint venture, senior management retreat, etc. He will have to coordinate with all the concerned agencies, hotels, caterers, etc. to have a flawless event.
Inventory Management: The executive assistant has to check for the availability of office supplies, stationery, electronic gadgets, etc. He has to manage all kinds of inventories and also do the contingency planning for the same.
Qualities and Skill Sets
- Leadership Skills
- Multitasking Abilities
- Team Player
- Organizational Skills
- Communication Skills
- Management Skills
- Analytical Skills
- Negotiation Skills
- Planning and Execution Skills
- Project Management
- Decision-making Abilities
- Planning and Execution Skills
The educational requirements of the executive assistant varies from firm to firm. However, the basic requirement is a bachelor's degree or diploma, especially in subjects related to business administration. The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is a professional organization in the United States for the executive assistants (EAs) and administrative assistants (AAs), that provides certifications to professionals who want to seek a career in these fields. The candidate must be skillful in handling PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Photoshop, etc. He should also be adept at productive Internet browsing for research purpose. Many organizations also include the job of maintaining complex spreadsheets and databases as a part of the EA's responsibilities. In many firms, an EA climbs the ladder of success at a fast pace and reaches to the level of a business head.
Although work experience is valued for the post of an EA, there are companies that recruit freshers. However, it is desirable to get the right kind of education and work experience before taking up an executive assistant job as you will have a better understanding of the business operations. The prospects for this job in today's times are extremely bright. Also, in the near future, the profile of an EA will assume an important role in shaping the success of an organization.