Executive secretaries, also known as executive assistants, are administrative professionals whose primary role is to provide administrative support to their executives.
Their day-to-day revolves around creating reports and presentations, sending and responding to correspondence, sourcing and compiling relevant information, managing executive schedules, and procuring accommodation, transportation, restaurant reservations, and other services for the executives they are assisting. They handle any and all tasks that would help their executives do their jobs.
Executive secretaries perform a myriad of assignments and must, therefore, have highly varied skill sets.
Do you want to become an executive secretary? Taking executive secretary courses would help immensely. If you need a reason to consider an executive secretarial career, here are three.
1. Work with decision-makers
Business organizations today typically have fewer secretaries than they used to have, and secretaries are almost always reserved for middle to top-level management. However, executive secretaries are exclusively reserved for top-level or senior management — what you’d call c-level or c-suite executives.
This is the primary reason you should consider becoming an executive secretary. Imagine having unrestricted access to your organization’s chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief information officer, chief marketing officer, or another executive of the same caliber. How about being secretary to the chairman, the president, or a vice president?
At that level, you are bound to learn many things about the business or company you’re working for, and whatever you learn is bound to be high-level information, too. Even if your executive wouldn’t share the whys and wherefores of his or her decisions with you, sitting in on executive meetings to take notes should help you understand all the same.
Over time, working with decision-makers will give you plenty of opportunities to learn the ropes of the business and high-level decision-making.
If you pay attention and study diligently, your position as an executive secretary will help you gain rich insights into how a business works. That is invaluable knowledge and people go to business school to learn these things. You may not know it, but all this could come in handy one day — whether for a promotion or a chance to open your own business.
2. Learn how to manage people
Executive assistants often manage other people, too. They may have to direct the work of other secretaries and administrative support staff. Executive secretaries may even have to indirectly ‘manage’ lower-tier managers because they are the point of contact between their executives and these managers.
Moreover, as an executive secretary, you have a front-row seat to how a business executive manages people. You will have firsthand, on-the-job training on leadership styles, strategies, and techniques — things you would learn formally if you enroll in management courses in Abu Dhabi, for instance.
In other words, executive secretaries are in a unique position to learn not only about practical business management but also about leadership and people management.
3. Develop varied skills
Executive secretaries do many things, and their tasks vary significantly from one day to the next, and from one secretary to another. After all, executives determine the jobs they want their assistants to prioritize.
Executive secretaries typically do the following:
- Greet and entertain visitors
- Meet with clients, suppliers, business partners, other executives, other executives’ secretaries
- Take notes at meetings
- Function as a gatekeeper by deciding on who their executives need to meet
- Schedule appointments
- Organize the daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules
- Make and answer calls
- Write, send, receive, and reply to business correspondence
- Oversee travel arrangements
- Arrange for business meetings, dinners, parties, and other functions
- Maintain their accounting records and process expense reports
- Generate reports
- Perform research
- Organize and present data
- Prepare documents
- Troubleshoot problems within their purview
The above is not an exhaustive list. There are many things executive assistants might have to do to fulfill their administrative support duties.
Suffice it to say that executive secretaries do a lot of things. While they may start on the job adequately equipped to be secretaries, their daily high-paced routine soon hones them into becoming highly skilled professionals that are worthy assistants to c-level executives.
Hence, becoming an executive secretary is one of the surefire ways you can develop a lot of skills in a single job.
As an executive secretary, you will develop diplomacy because you need to learn how to refuse meetings on your executives’ behalf without stepping on any toes. You will also become adept at high-level engagement because you’ll be talking to clients and other executives on a daily basis. Of course, you will hone your communication skills, too, because you need to be able to convey your point efficiently and effectively when reporting to your executive or on their behalf.
Business School Without the Tuition Fee
An executive secretarial career is a shortcut to the top level of business. Not as an executive, yes, but you’ll be learning the way executives handle business affairs.
Therefore, if you want to learn about business and people management from someone who is already doing it, and if you want to develop your skills and become a consummate administrative professional, consider building a career as an executive secretary.