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Your guide to working as an EA

Looking to make the move into an EA role? Executive assistants carry many of the same duties as personal assistants – with organisations skills and an effective supporter and facilitator to their superior.

However, adopting an EA role involves a level of strategic and forward-thinking, keeping things running in the absence of their director, with incredibly sound problem-solving abilities. Are you a forward-thinker and do you take a proactive approach in your current support role? Then learn more about what an EA role entails from an executive assistant at a leading international management company.

What is a typical day look like as an executive assistant?

As with most EA positions, no two days are the same and I work on several tasks daily, some of them projects, and some ad-hoc. I’m EA for two board-level professionals - our London Executive VP and our CFO. As we’re an international company, the main part of my job is acting as a liaison for the directors when they are not in the office, and managing their diaries wherever they are in the world.

A skill I’ve worked on in my role is being intuitive. Things change regularly, quickly and at short notice so you always need to be good at anticipating your colleagues needs, no matter the situation, and be resilient and persevere to get jobs done.

 

What motivates your work?

Although it’s a stressful and demanding job at times, I enjoy my current position because it allows me to feel grounded, stable and settled. For the most part I am able to switch off when I leave the office, which allows for a positive work-life balance. Previously, I worked in client relations and at one point had over six hundred clients, which meant I was travelling a lot. As an EA, I’m busy and motivated, but I’m not drained.

What skills are essential for the role?

First and foremost, you need to be adaptable - Executive Assistants can seamlessly turn their hand to work across multiple industries and get up to speed with how a business operates.

A skill I’ve worked on in my role is being intuitive. Things change regularly, quickly and at short notice so you always need to be good at anticipating your colleagues needs, no matter the situation, and be resilient and persevere to get jobs done.

Finally, the core skills that make up an EA include a driven approach, strong organisation skills and being an excellent communicator. Being a people person is also key - good working relationships will help you overcome tasks when your colleagues cooperate - especially when you are on a short timescale.

What are your top tips for aspiring EAs?

It’s simple, but work hard and show willingness to put the work in. Being willing to muck in and working hard gets noticed and earns you praise. It’s also fine to make mistakes but learn from them! Know when to ask for guidance and own up to your errors, that’s how you will learn and gain experience.

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