9 Qualities Most Executives Look for in an Assistant
An executive assistant is a person who provides high-level administrative support to an executive in a corporation. The duties of an executive assistance can influence the success and profitability of the corporation.
For instance, the assistant may be tasked with helping with marketing research and scheduling critical meetings that are important to the success of a company. It is, therefore, an important position that is not handed to random job seekers. Executives are very keen on the people they hire as their assistants.
In this post, Empire Resume will be looking at how to become an executive assistant and the qualities you need to possess.
Looking for a Job Amidst the Pandemic
According to iNews, more than 650,000 people in the UK have lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic. Many companies are laying off their workers instead of hiring because of the pandemic’s negative financial impacts. This suggests that there are hundreds of thousands of people looking for jobs now.
The need to stand out during a job application is much higher amidst the pandemic. If you are looking to apply for an executive assistant position, now more than ever, you need to make sure you meet all the requirements which we will be looking into below:
Key Skills for an Executive Assistant
Becoming an executive assistant is not a walk in the park. It is not an easy job that you can wake up and decide to apply for. There are several qualities and qualifications you need to meet to become an executive assistant. Below are tips on what executive looks for in an assistant;
This is one of the essential qualities that executives consider when looking for an assistant. Working as an executive proves that you can and will be dealing with a lot of personal issues that involve family matters, financial statements, and other confidential information like emails.
It is pivotal that you can handle these confidential and highly sensitive areas with the utmost discretion. Failure to do so could result in many issues, especially in the current age of social media.
Executives also look for assistants with adequate experience. This suggests that working as an executive assistant is not an entry-level job. You ought to have at least five years of experience.
The reason why adequate experience is required is that the job is quite challenging, and there is no room for rookie errors because you will be working for the superior personnel. Some companies may also need you to have a college degree.
The primary role of an exec assistant is to make the executive’s life easier so that they can work to their level best. You need to be able to react to specific issues and accomplish the tasks given without bothering the executive, hence the need for independence. An independent exec assistant will help save time for the exec, team, and organization to get other duties done.
4. Resourcefulness and Flexible
Executive assistants also need to be resourceful and flexible. The reason is that there are many unexpected issues that you may be required to respond to. It would be best if you found a way to resolve the issues so that the executive does not have to waste time on them. This may involve acquiring some resources and changing your schedules.
Additionally, executives work hard to ensure the success of their organizations. Sometimes it signifies they must work past ordinary work hours. As an executive assistant, you need to be flexible enough to assist at all times.
5. Ability to Multitask
Having an executive assistant title means that there are going to be many occasions when you are required to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Remember, your role does involve not only personal tasks but also personal and family-related tasks.
As a result, executives are always looking for someone that can handle multi-tasking and still accomplish their work impeccably. Multi-tasking also signifies being able to keep up with a fast-paced business environment without compromising accuracy at work. Additionally, you need to be able to work under pressure.
6. Ability to Practice Effective Communication
As an assistant, you are tasked with the role of communicating on behalf of your boss. You need to be able to write a good business letter and effectively convey the messages of your boss to others. It would help if you were also excellent when it comes to taking messages to your boss and communicating with the executive.
Executives are not looking for assistants that they have to explain things over and over again. Effective communication between you and the executive is also essential as it is the only way you will be able to accomplish your work accurately.
Another quality that executives look for in assistants is confidence. Being an executive assistant entails working with essential and high-level people who may sometimes be intimidating. Regardless, it would be best if you were confident in your interaction with them.
It would help if you also had the confidence to ask questions, communicate, and correct your boss. It is only through the confidence that you will be able to withstand working in an executive environment.
8. Analytical and Tech-Savvy
Besides the above qualities of executive assistants, you also need to be analytical and tech-savvy. Being analytical demonstrates having the aptitude to process data and develop intellectual inferences based on the acquired information.
Note that your success as an assistant dramatically depends on this quality. On the other hand, working as an assistant today is quite different from a few years back. There is much more to do than answer phone calls and file paperwork. Currently, you need ample knowledge on how to handle technology.
For example, you need to be highly proficient in QuickBooks, PowerPoint, Excel, and other elements that did not exist or were not as popular as they are today. You also need to be able to change with the changing times if you are looking to maintain your position for a long time.
9. Ability to Anticipate Needs
Additionally, you need to be able to anticipate the needs of your boss before they occur. This implies addressing issues before the executive is aware of them.
For instance, you should ensure their meals are adjusted depending on the schedule without being told to do so. This may seem like something small, but it will help with timekeeping and filtering distractions. Doing so will also allow your boss to meet deadlines and get a lot of work done without having to deal with distractions.
If you are looking for how to stand out as a candidate for an executive assistant position, you need to meet the standards mentioned above and display them in the interview and your resume. When applying for a job as an executive assistant, you need to make sure to research the company. Learn about the values and the mission of the company. Such information will help you stand out as a candidate.
This article is written by Olivia Coughtrie, the Co-Founder & Director of Oriel Partners