Executive Assistant Skills Survival Kit: How to Survive the Day

executive assistantSurviving the day as an executive assistant requires a specific set of skills. Fortunately for most, it isn’t anything like what you see in The Devil Wears Prada, but it can be a bit overwhelming without knowing what is required. Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 skills/qualities required to survive the day as an executive assistant.

1. Mind your own business.
Okay, this sounds a tad harsh, but it’s easy to remember. You will be privy to sensitive information, and you need to be able to keep it private. You may know about upcoming lay-offs, co-worker disagreements, or other sensitive internal management information. Treat this information as if you didn’t hear it, and don’t share it unless your executive tells you it is okay.

2. Problem solve.
You will manage everyday issues that arise due to the independent nature of your position. Because of this you need to be able to take initiative to fix issues that arise. Learning and knowing your company’s policies can help you to determine the best ways to solve the problems.

3. Communicate, and do it clearly.
As an executive assistant, your ability to communicate effectively is crucial to making it through the day. Your ability to communicate clearly will ensure that company tasks are properly taken care of, parties will be excellently planned, and travel arrangements will be correct. Clear written, verbal, and non-verbal skills can be developed, so if you don’t quite have them yet, continue working at them to be successful.

4. Be dependable.
This is very important to making it through the day, and it’s very simple. Be on time, be willing to adjust your schedule to make sure your team is attended to, and when you’re at work focus on your work.

5. Manage your time.
Because you are often working on your own as an executive assistant, your ability to manage time will help you survive your day. Whether you keep an app on your phone, a calendar on your computer, or a physical planner, plan each day and try to stick to your plan as closely as possible. If you’re managing your time, you’ll be able to get everything done that you need to do.

There are lots of other skills and qualities that are also crucial to being a successful administrative/executive assistant, and we discuss many additional ones in our Executive Assistant course.

Are there any skills that you feel are important in helping you successfully complete your workday? Put them in the comments below!

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