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A glimpse into Hollywood gives us a rough idea of who an executive assistant is. The ‘get it done’ person who handles even the most impossible of tasks perfectly and on time for the executive. Book appointments, order their UberEATS meals, corresponding calls, and get their coffee orders right. But with these comes an exaggeration of who and what an executive assistant does. So, who is an executive assistant? What is their role in an organization? And what does it take to forge a path in the career?
Who is an Executive Assistant?
An executive assistant is a professional who holds an organizational role in a company; they are in charge of managing, organizing, and offering administrative support to an executive. They take on a variety of roles, including but not limited to calendar management, correspondence, onboarding and offboarding, overseeing assistants, and traveling management. An executive assistant wears many hats in the modern office and has a significant hand in strategic counsel in running and operating the business.
Five Guidelines for Becoming an Executive Assistant
The road to becoming an executive assistant is one traveled by many, from green students starting from scratch to professionals branching out from a previous position. An executive assistant is a well-esteemed job that is more than just receiving and implementing orders from above. The role of an executive assistant is diverse, exciting, and challenging. Those hopeful of forging a career out of it can incorporate the following guidelines to become an executive assistant.
Obtain the Right Education
Ideally, any aspiring executive assistant should possess at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration or a field in your employer’s business. A business administration degree will prepare you for office work, whereas one in your field will give you the advantage of background knowledge. Other courses that could benefit your executive assistant education include operations management, accounting, finance, information management, and human resource management.
Get the Required Certification
As an executive assistant, it is essential to have a certificate that validates your skills. These can be acquired through undertaking courses that upskill you in the area. It can range from introduction training that builds your foundation skills to comprehensive courses that accelerate your career. Some Executive Assistants Courses include Certified Administrative Professional and Certified Professional Secretary.
Put Your Skills into Practice
Knowledge and skills are not enough to prove your competence as an EA; you will need hands-on experience. If you are freshly starting, consider taking on administrative roles with volunteer programs in organizations or nonprofits. However, if you are branching out, you can request administrative tasks.
It will allow you to handle well-rounded tasks as you pick up more skills.
Hone Up Your Skills
Your role as an executive assistant requires the possession of an assortment of skills. Developing these skills will not only better your work product but also make your work easier. Time management, communication, executive support, multitasking, prioritization, and strong computer skills are some of the skills invaluable in an executive assistant. Undertaking online training in demand for these skills is the best way to establish them in your portfolio.
Network and Grow
Even as you land your dream job, advancing your skill never stops as an EA. Networking events and workshops offer an opportunity to meet people from other fields in the same position. Interacting with them allows you to exchange ideas and discover new resources and opportunities. These professional connections will also help hone your communications skills which are invaluable as an executive assistant.
As a behind-the-scenes person in the public success of an organization, an executive assistant sees things come together through your efforts. Although it requires effort and hard work from the hopeful EA, the role of an executive assistant is rewarding. The beginning of your career is not the only time you are expected to build on your skills; even as a working EA, it is essential to stay updated on key trends as you stack on skills to become the best executive assistant you can be..