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You’re an accomplished and consummate professional. You’re seeking an opportunity where you can bring your experience, expertise and skills to an office environment and provide assistance to high-level executives or managers. You thrive in an environment in which you have your finger on the pulse of the company.
As an executive assistant, you’re the right hand to your manager or executive. Usually, you will report directly to the manager or executive for whom you’re providing services. They count on your capabilities, organizational abilities and discretion. In fact, they’d be hard pressed to function effectively without you.
As an executive assistant, you are a resource for the executive you support. You provide assistance with scheduling, clerical tasks, and anything else that's required. You are also a gatekeeper: vendors, salespeople, and even clients must pass you to gain face time. You may work with one, or a number of executives; it depends on how your company is structured. Executive assistants typically work full-time.
Executive assistant salaries range anywhere from $41,500 to $74,000, depending on their level of experience and location. Executive assistants (with a year of experience or less in their role) will typically make near the lower end of this range, while senior executive assistants with more than 5 years of experience should expect to make in the mid to high range.
Executive assistant salaries are fairly consistent across the country, so you will have a range of executive assistant jobs to choose from no matter where you live. That said, city centres such as Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary tend to offer the most opportunities.
As an executive assistant, your duties will likely vary from company to company. You may perform basic administrative tasks (answering the phone, photocopying, mailing, filing, word processing, etc). You can also be responsible for preparing correspondence, reports, presentations, and managing the executive's schedule. You may attend confidential management and board meetings, prepare agendas, and transcribe or distribute minutes.
In some settings, you may have to research and compile data, meet or liaison with individuals and groups inside or outside of the company on behalf of the executive, and coordinate the implementation of company administrative policies. At small companies, you may perform accounts payable and receivable functions or even payroll duties. You’re that trusted.
As an executive assistant, you can work in wealth of different industries across Canada. You are needed in both the public and private sector, with executive assistant jobs to be found in government, finance, healthcare, education, and general business.
You will usually work at a desk in an office. Full-time executive assistants typically follow a 9 to 5 schedule of 35 to 40 hours per week, but may be called upon to work evening or weekend hours to accommodate the needs of executives.
To thrive as an executive assistant, you'll need top-notch communication skills, as well as clerical and administrative skills. Sound decision making and the ability to maintain confidentiality are also required.
Having 5+ years of office experience is a basic job requirement. You will have already acquired technical expertise through your years of office experience. And if you’re a career executive assistant, you regularly update or improve upon your skills.
Many companies now require a college or university degree when filling executive assistant jobs. However solid experience, great references, lots of energy and a desire to take on new challenges can overcome a lack of formal college education. Training through a high-school vocational program, business school or a job placement agency is also acceptable to some employers.
There are no specific certifications required, but designations available to administrative assistants such as Qualified Administrative Assistant (QAA), Certified Professional Secretary (CPS), or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) are often useful. Some executive assistants may require more technical or industry-specific training.
As the increasingly aging work population retires, many executive assistant job openings are expected in the field over the next few years.
It’s not unusual for executive assistants to start their careers in lower-level administrative assistant roles and then expand the scope of their duties to include more management and planning duties. Some executive assistants advance into jobs in public relations, marketing, and project management, among other areas.