Behind every great leader is a very efficient executive assistant. Being the right-hand man or woman to a successful business is a demanding yet fulfilling job.
If you’re planning to become one, you may need to take up some classes or even a full-blown course to be properly equipped. Some employers even request that you submit a certificate of having undergone training for the position.
This is how legitimate and important this career is. Without the right experience and education, you may find it hard landing this job.
While a lot of people have the misconception that being an executive assistant is just a paper pushing career that doesn’t require much thought, there’s more to this path than meets the eye.
An efficient assistant is one that goes beyond the job description to make sure that the company’s goals and objectives are met. It involved keeping track of multiple projects, and ensuring that the executive they support is on top and fully informed of the goings-on of the company.
Pop culture paints assistants to just be stuck on the desk, answering phone calls and checking emails. However, this portrayal barely scratches the surface of the roles and responsibilities of an executive assistant.
From a supporting role to a strategic one, being an assistant means that your executive leans on you not just for administrative counsel, but also for strategic advice, and critical analysis of situations.You’ll be serving as another perspective in order to tackle issues more orderly.
If you’re looking to pursue the path of being an executive assistant, here are some skills that you should have in your arsenal to make sure that you’re seen as capable and effective.
#1: Grace Under Pressure
Given the amount of stress and pressure that falls on your executive’s shoulder, it can be expected that he or she may become demanding at times.
Relax. Not every day will be a war scenario, but it’s best to have your wits about you when your deliverables pile on top of each other. High-pressure situations will be common in your job, and you should start training yourself to not let your emotions get the best of you.
Remember to take a deep breath and conquer each task one at a time. It can get overwhelming and you might end up wasting more time panicking. Focus on what you can control and you’ll find that you can finish all your tasks anyway!
#2: Master Your Calendar
One of the most important things to you as an executive assistant is the calendar. We’re not exaggerating when we say that you will live and die by the calendar.
It is one of your responsibilities to be on top of pretty much everything that will matter to your executive. Be it from meetings, appointments, deadlines, calls, etc., your calendar will be your best friend to make sure that everything’s right on track.
This is one of the skills that you have to refine and perfect as you go along the job. Once you have a working system in place, your calendar will be your strongest ally.
#3: Tech Knowledge
While you don’t necessarily have to code or know HTML like the back of your hand, being well-versed with the ins and outs of IT will work to your advantage.
As an executive assistant, you’re expected to have a good grasp of professional tools such as Microsoft Office. You’ll also need to familiarise yourself with more tools and applications that your executive’s job may call for.
Apart from your mastery of a myriad of computer tools, it will also be helpful if you’re tech-savvy. After all, you’re there to make your executive’s life easier. So in case he or she runs into any minor tech issues, you can easily address the problem.
It will also be helpful if you can source for apps that can save time and help you with organising files and getting dates in order.
#4: Fresh Perspective
The thing about being the right-hand person for the executive is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you get to have an insider look into the company, but it also means that your opinion bears a heavy weight.
As an executive assistant, you’re not limited to just one department. You get to interact and know the insights from employees of all levels. This makes you a useful sounding board for your boss whenever making decisions that will affect the whole company.
This won’t just foster good relationships with your co-workers in the business, but you’ll be able to understand the culture and context of the working environment. Through this, you’ll gain knowledge that will help you provide valuable insights whenever your boss asks for it.
#5: Determined Spirit
Here’s the one untold truth about being an executive assistant: you’ll never come in to the job equipped with all the skills you will need.
Your career as an assistant is a journey that will throw many hurdles and challenges, and it’s vital that you keep up with the tides. Being determined and having a “never say never” attitude will help you flourish in your newfound path.
Follow our tips above, and you’ll be a rockstar executive assistant in no time. You can google up quick courses online, or even enrol yourself for an executive assistant training in Amsterdam to make sure you’re fully ready for the job.