(ig-zek-yuh-tiv uh-sis-tuhns) (n.)
The administrative practice of providing support to high-level support to offices and top executives. Executive assistants provide key support to managers and business executives by performing a broad range of administrative functions and, to some extent, decision making. They work in corporate settings, government posts, financial markets, and commercial as well as public enterprises.
To enter this career, an aspiring executive assistant must obtain an associate or bachelor's degree in majors such as marketing, business administration and finance. Most executive assistants are certified by agencies like the International Virtual Assistants Association (which recognizes online or virtual executive assistants) and the National Association of Legal Secretaries. As in most other professions, a higher education or extensive experience can lead to more lucrative and challenging employment options.
Some of the important tasks that executive assistants perform in the course of a day's work are the following: scheduling and coordinating frequent and demanding executive meetings, handling electronic and traditional communications promptly and professionally on behalf of the executives or managers, and preparing various reports and presentations. These assistants are also involved in planning and managing multiple projects efficiently and making travel arrangements and itineraries for the managers or executives whenever necessary.
Executive assistants must demonstrate the ability to function professionally and effectively under constant pressure. Executive assistants must also possess exceptional communication skills and confidence when dealing with various people in all levels of business. Executive assistants enjoy a high level of job satisfaction, and the monetary rewards in this field are satisfactory as well. The job outlook for executive assistants is promising, with hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities opening up in the next several years.