The executive assistant job description is one of the new trends in how organisations are staffed.
While traditionally, senior people have had executive secretaries, it seems to be a trend now that a CEO or some senior executive needs an executive assistant.
An executive assistant is a special advisor to the CEO or some senior executives.
They go beyond the handling of administrative duties and play a key role in advising the CEO or any of the executives.
In such roles, you now find people who have a commercial degree or related degree with extensive experience at a senior level.
While traditionally, the job description of an executive assistant has focused on administrative duties, that trend is now changing.
The executive assistant assists the executive with all administrative concerns pertaining to the office, including policy and strategic advisory work.
They serve as the executive’s sounding Board for issues within the executive’s portfolio.
They set up meetings with important stakeholders, including consumers and other interest groups.
The executive assistant frees the executive from administrative work so they can concentrate on critical strategic issues.
For this reason, the executive assistant job now handles even some lower-level strategic issues on behalf of the executive.
It is, therefore, critical that the job description for an executive assistant captures the essence of the job and the required experience and qualifications.
Below I share with you what the job description of an executive assistant should cover.
Executive Assistant Job Description: Overall Purpose
Handles all high-level administrative duties and lower-level strategic and policy-related issues under the portfolio of the executive they are supporting.
They act as the sounding Board for the executive on policy, administrative and strategic issues.
Executive Assistant Job Description: Primary Duties
Handles high-level administrative duties by filtering what goes to the executive and what can be handled at their level.
Advises the executive on policy-related issues by researching what works and does not.
Offers strategic advice to the executive on the lower level strategic issues by consulting with the relevant stakeholders on half of the executive.
Handles communication between the executive and key stakeholders by engaging stakeholder groups and understanding their needs.
Prepares reports on half of the executive by ensuring that the reports are well-researched and well-written for the target audience.
Manages meetings on behalf of the executive, organising engagement sessions at the most convenient times and lengths.
Ensures compliance with policies and statutory requirements by keeping the executive updated on new developments.
Represents the executive in some lower-level engagements that the executive cannot attend.
Records of all meetings and engagements proceedings by ensuring the mechanisms are in place to make such a recording.
Engages internal stakeholders on behalf of the executive by ensuring lines of communication are always open.
Acts as the contact person for all people wanting to engage with the executive in the course of the executive’s duties.
Ensures that the tasks assigned to the executive are carried out by following up and insisting on getting feedback on progress.
Ensures that all strategic issues the executive is responsible for are carried out by giving periodic updates on progress.
Manages supplies to the executive’s office by ensuring all office consumables required in the office are available.
Responds to inquiries directed to the executive’s office by responding to all emails in consultation with the executive.
Prepares speeches for the executive whenever required by ensuring that the speeches are focused and free of errors.
Manages the calendar for the executive by scheduling meetings without too much pressure on the executive.
Manage all major critical events for the executive team by coordinating such scheduling.
Manages communication between the executives and key stakeholders by drafting the necessary correspondence for review by the executives.
Executive Assistant Job Description: Qualifications required
The role of the executive assistant has evolved. While this role previously needed people with secondary education, such as high school qualifications, nowadays, the role requires individuals with at least a first degree. In some instances, they even ask for a master’s degree in business. The primary reason the role was elevated in qualifications is that individuals in this role now make strategic decisions on behalf of the executive. For this reason, I am tempted to include the more recent requirements for this job.
A first degree in business administration or any equivalent degree is required.
High level of proficiency in using the Microsoft suite of programmes.
Executive Assistant Job Description: Experience required
λ At least 4 years in an executive support role is a mandatory requirement
λ Experience dealing with a diverse group of stakeholders is required.
λ Experience dealing with the Board and shareholders is required.
λ Experience using the latest software to support this role is required.
λ Experience dealing with conflict in the workplace is required.
Executive Assistant Job Description: Other characteristics and abilities
λ The ability to maintain confidentiality in all dealings is required.
λ Critical thinking skills are a requirement.
λ Excellent planning skills are a prerequisite.
Ability to multi-task when the volume of work increases is required.
λ The ability to manage a diversity of stakeholders, both internal and external, is required.
λ Strong verbal and written skills are a mandatory requirement.
λ The ability to use graphic design software is required.
λ The ability to use PowerPoint when making presentations is a requirement.
λ Above-average report writing skills are required.
λ Exceptional communication skills are required.
λ A basic understanding and interpretation of financial statements is required.
λ A high level of people management skills is a requirement.
λ High levels of attention to detail is required.
λ This role requires a self-starter, given its supportive role.
Business acumen is required.
λ The role requires someone with a sobber temperament.
The executive assistant job description has evolved from a purely administrative role to handling more strategic and advisory tasks.
This is done to free the executives from the routine and administrative tasks.
Over the years, the role has gained popularity, especially for those executive assistants supporting the CEO.
The CEO’s job is strategic. Therefore, they need to hire an executive assistant to support the CEO.
Memory Nguwi is an Occupational Psychologist, Data Scientist, Speaker, & Managing Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.Email:mnguwi@