Executive Assistant skills and qualifications

an Executive Assistant having a conversation with a woman

What technical skills does an Executive Assistant need to have?

Technical skills Executive Assistants are typically required to have include:
  • A strong ability to research information on the internet and any other sources of data quickly
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including a good grasp of grammar whether or not they write in a formal style or not
  • The ability to work with numerous computer software packages such as Microsoft Word and Outlook, as well as Google software and social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn)
  • Good planning skills with an eye for detail combined with the ability to prioritise multiple tasks while remaining calm under pressure even when working towards tight deadlines is required every day
  • An awareness of current affairs with the ability to have a good grasp of local, international, business and celebrity news
  • The ability to follow up on loose ends when necessary
Administrative support skills are also very beneficial for Executive Assistants. Examples of these skills include:
  • Filing documents in filing systems
  • Document control - keeping documents safe once managers and clients have signed them off and maintaining an audit trail
  • Managing calendars and diaries for executives and staff in managerial positions
  • Making travel bookings as well as arranging meetings on behalf of senior management or clients
  • Dealing with difficult people over the telephone regularly

What soft skills does an Executive Assistant need to have?

Soft skills that Executive Assistants typically need include:
  • Being able to build and maintain good relationships with people by being a good listener as well as having excellent interpersonal and people skills
  • Having an ability to anticipate and understand the needs of managers and other senior staff, sometimes before they do it themselves
  • Having a positive attitude towards other people at all times, combined with a willingness to help others even when it isn't part of their job role
  • Resilience under pressure as Executive Assistants often work long hours (which can involve working weekends or public holidays)
  • An awareness of diversity issues such as gender, race, sexuality and disability

What qualifications does an Executive Assistant need to have?

Although it is not necessary to have a degree to be an Executive Assistant, many organisations expect individuals to have completed some tertiary study before working as an Executive Assistant. It is also crucial for Executive Assistants to continually update their knowledge on new tools and software.
Some of the most popular qualifications that Executive Assistants hold include:
  • Certificate IV in Frontline Management
  • Diploma of Business (Secretarial)
  • Advanced Diploma of Human Resources Management
  • Graduate Certificate in Business Administration
  • Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Human Resources or Management
  • Course including secretarial practice

Do you need to study or go to university to become an Executive Assistant?

No, you do not need to go to university or study in order to become an Executive Assistant. Although it is useful for individuals who want to gain entry into the role to have some background knowledge of office administration and organisation (such as how a business works), many people become Executive Assistants through other means. These include having prior experience working in an administrative capacity or even self-study.
You can learn the skills of an Executive Assistant yourself by completing the relevant online courses offered at Hays Learning. These courses are easily accessible and high quality and can help you develop the skills necessary to become an Executive Assistant. Sign up for free now.
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