Executive Assistant Skills List and Examples
Key Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews
Executive assistants are similar to administrative assistants or secretaries in that they all support someone else's work - usually an executive - by handling or supervising office duties. The difference is that an executive assistant is specifically the senior office staff member for a top executive. That means supervising and training other office staff, and also tackling tasks that could have a dramatic effect on the success of the company.
While many companies expect executive assistants to have completed some relevant college coursework, few require a degree. Extensive relevant job experience is more important, ideally several years as an executive or administrative assistant.
Executive Assistant Duties
Executive assistant duties include the same duties as an administrative assistant: making and accepting phone calls; sending memos, emails, and letters on behalf of the executive; receiving visitors and handling scheduling. But they also act as a gatekeeper, making decisions about who gets access to the executive and what information the executive receives.
They often conduct research and prepare reports that influence company policy. These responsibilities mean that executive assistants must thoroughly understand their employer’s work. As a result, these workers can also act as a liaison between the executive and the rest of the clerical staff.
How to Use Skills Lists
Be sure to write your cover letter and resume to highlight the skills your prospective employer wants. You can use the following list to get an idea of what these desired skills might be, but remember to always read over the job description carefully, because not all companies look for the same thing in an executive assistant.
Also, check out our compilations of skills listed by job and types of skill. While preparing for your interview, plan to give examples of specific times you have embodied the various skills your prospective employer wants.
Examples of Executive Assistant Skills
The following list is not exhaustive, and required skills may vary slightly from one company to another, or even from one office to another within the same company. Nevertheless, most of the most important and sought-after skills a prospective executive assistant must have are here.
Written and Verbal Communication Skills
One way to think about the executive assistant role is, in fact, as a specialist in communication. A significant part of the job includes communication and coordinating with people throughout the company, and sometimes with clients as well, depending on the type of business. The ability to be professional, clear, articulate, and accurate, both verbally and in writing, tops the list of requirements for impeccable communication skills.
Executive assistants need more than simple proficiency with word-processing and spreadsheet programs. Necessary computer-based skills also include the ability to set up and maintain email systems, file sharing systems, and calendars, as well as proficiency with statistical software, publishing software, and databases.
Being one’s own tech-support specialist is always a plus, especially since executive assistants are often expected to do everything from fixing the printer to suggesting new software.
Strong interpersonal skills are also a necessity for interacting with clients, training other administrative staff, and working with CEOs and top-level managers. Since executive assistants often handle sensitive company information, it is important to not only be able to maintain proper confidentiality but also to always behave in a way that suggests personal discretion and integrity. In short, it is necessary to inspire trust.
An executive assistant needs not only to handle his or her own time well but also that of the boss. That means coordinating the needs and demands of multiple people to create a workable schedule and then often changing that schedule on short notice as situations change.
The job might well also include tactfully making sure the executive stays on schedule, without getting distracted.
Research is itself a skill, requiring a familiarity with multiple search engines as well as the information resources that are relevant in the particular fields of interest to the company. Without these abilities, an executive assistant would not be able to prepare the reports the executive needs.
Executive Assistant Skills List
- Coordinating Video and Audio Conference Calls
- Creating and Maintaining Databases
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Word
- Office Equipment
- Administrative Support
- Calendar Management
- Client Relations
- Designing and Maintaining Filing System
- Organizing Meetings
- Maintain Calendars
- Record Keeping
- Travel Arrangements
- Event Planning
- Preparing Reports
- Processing Expense Reports
- Taking Meeting Minutes
- Customer Service
- Managing Relationships with Clients
- Processing Telephone Calls and Requests
- Written/Verbal Communications
- Active Listening
- Ability to Follow Directions
- Ability to Work Independently
- Decision Making
- Detail Oriented
- Follow Through
- Good Judgment
- Maintaining Confidential Information
- Meeting Deadlines
- Problem Solving
- Project Management
- Self Confidence
- Self Directed
- Time Management
- Working Quickly
- Working Well Under Pressure
More About Executive Assistant Jobs and Skills
- How to Get a Job as an Administrative Assistant
- Office Manager Skills
- 7 Tips for Effective Time Management
- How to Work Faster and More Efficiently