This article describes the skills and qualities that one must develop to be an excellent executive assistant in a company. Use this article as a cheat sheet to help you highlight areas that need improvement. The executive assistant position is a well-paying job, but getting to the top of this profession requires a number of skills. Professionalism and confidentiality are the key words for the success of a good executive assistant. Large executive assistant recruiting agencies look for people who are organized, efficient, motivated, and with information technology skills.
Step 1. Develop good relationship skills
A good executive assistant remains unfazed, even under pressure. He is calm and able to think and react quickly. An executive assistant should have the ability to work well with others, especially those with difficult personalities. This is all the more important, as the most experienced executive assistants work with CEOs and in pressurized environments.
Step 2. Develop good communication skills
This is the very first point of contact with clients, therefore an executive assistant should be a good communicator, have good manners, but remain professional. His ability to influence people is essential, since he must often agree with others in the management of time and resources. Good written communication skills are also necessary because he often has to answer communications on behalf of the boss and sometimes write reports and minutes.
Step 3. Develop good information technology skills
A good executive assistant should have the following computer skills: Microsoft Word (advanced level), Microsoft Excel (intermediate level), Microsoft PowerPoint (advanced level), good knowledge of e-mail storage software such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes or Eudora. It would also be beneficial to have a good knowledge of database software like Microsoft Access, as well as some knowledge of Microsoft Project.
Step 4. Acquire Internet Literacy
An executive assistant should also be proficient in the Internet, as he or she may be called upon to do research or perform tasks that require expertise in the Web environment. A good knowledge of online commerce and the functioning of search engines is also an asset. This knowledge will allow him to value his role even more and provide the boss with the best possible services.
Step 5. Improve your office automation skills
In this technologically advanced century, it is essential that executive assistants master new technologies. They should be aware of the latest office gadgets since they are supposed to know how to use and even repair certain devices like office photocopiers. They are required to understand the features of the latest branded devices such as the "Blackberry" that the boss uses. A good assistant may even recommend changing office tools to improve business efficiency. He can do the research necessary to understand how to implement new technologies that are profitable enough for the business.
Step 6. Develop the skills needed to:
monitor and reply to the boss's email, delegate work on behalf of the boss, manage the boss's electronic diary, take notes, prepare documents for meetings, manage and write meeting reports, organize and manage events, arrange for major trips, prepare complex programs, manage a budget, attend events and meetings as the boss's representative, conduct internet research, prepare presentations, write correspondence, reports, memos and summaries, update websites and Intranets, maintain an efficient filing system, enter documents quickly and accurately, provide stationery and office equipment, manage projects and supervise staff.