What does an executive assistant do?

Executive assistants perform a range of different administrative and operational duties. Their main purpose in the workplace is to act as a liaison, responsible for coordination of meetings, appointments and travel while also performing key organisational tasks in support of an executive or a CEO. While the day-to-day research and reporting tasks expected of an executive assistant will vary based on the industry, organisation size and the personal preferences of the executive they work alongside, they are responsible for ensuring each day runs smoothly and cope with any scheduling issues, correspondence and filing on behalf of their executive.

Tasks:

  • Provide support to executive staff
  • Diary and schedule management
  • Coordinating and preparing meetings
  • Processing incoming and outgoing mail
  • Supervising other administrative and clerical staff

What skills do I need to be an executive assistant?

You’ll need excellent listening and communication skills, since you will primarily be dealing with people and their needs. Because you are working with the executive management team, you’ll need to be able to manage demands on their time and prioritise issues to ensure maximal efficiency in the workplace. Executive assistants are privy to confidential information and have access to sensitive documents, so discretion, tact and trustworthiness are essential to the role.

Skills/attributes
  • Excellent time management
  • Great communication skills
  • Highly organised
  • Detail-oriented

Specialisations

Executive assistants can use the skills and experience they have in the workplace to become marketing coordinators, office managers and administrative officers, among other roles.

Marketing coordinator

A marketing coordinator helps promote a company or client’s products or services. They respond to opportunities and threats in the marketing environment by developing and implementing strategies that place them ahead of their competition. The role may involvement in product distribution, the creation of advertising campaigns and promotional material.

Office manager

Office managers are responsible for the supervising, hiring and training of new administrative assistants and other staff members. They oversee, to varying degrees, the systems and processes that help an organisation manage workflow, delegation and daily operations. Office administrators often have responsibilities that stretch to human resources, budgeting, property maintenance and filing.

Human resources officer

This specialisation provides administrative services for staff recruitment and employment. They determine the staffing needs of an organisation and are responsible for advertising vacancies and conducting interviews. They have a crucial role in the acquisition and training of talent. HR officers also assist employees with professional and personal development, providing advice, information and conflict resolution services.

Study pathways for executive assistants

There are many different ways to work as an executive assistant, including working in administration and going to university

Getting Started

Develop essential skills in administration with these courses

Skill Building

Build on your skills and work towards a fulfilling career with recognised training options

Professional Development

Earn the right qualifications to place you on the path to career success

Industry Recognition

Joining a professional association may help you further your career in administration through networking events and job listings

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your administration or human resources career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

There is strong demand for qualified administrative personnel, especially in the CBDs of Australia’s major cities.