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How to become an Executive Assistant

Executive Assistants plays an important role within a business team. Their main function is to support and organise more senior staff by carrying out a variety of tasks. From managing an executive’s diary and schedule, to coordinating executive board meetings. You may be managing day-to-day tasks, handling emergency situations, or even representing your boss in meetings and other communications.

If you’re great at adapting to new situations and anticipating the needs of others, flexible and able to remain professional in all situations, then the varied and sometimes demanding position of an Executive Assistant could suit you down the ground.


About you:


  • High level of emotional intelligence
  • Excellent communication and organisational skills
  • Fast learner with a flexible and adaptable work ethic
  • Trouble shooter and problem solver
  • Diplomatic and professional but personable, even under pressure
  • Works well in a team but capable of managing your own busy workload independently
  • Good knowledge of many types of office equipment and software


The job:


  • Maintain your boss’s diary and make all necessary arrangements
  • Manage the tasks of associate or junior assistants and delegate work to them
  • Research and produce reports, briefing notes, correspondence and other documents
  • Schedule, coordinate and prepare events and meetings from inviting attendees, to arranging the paperwork, venue, travel arrangements and catering
  • Attend meetings, take minutes and be a representative for your organisation if necessary
  • Sort and prioritise incoming and outgoing mail, maintain filing and records
  • Screen calls and respond to enquiries


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: Low – 28% of Executive Assistants work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 41 hours a week (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Executive Assistants salary (average) $85,000* per year (Source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary between industries, your role, and depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Declining (Source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Working as an EA demands a level of responsibility. You’ll be expected to pull your weight and respond in unexpected or crisis situations, which may require you to work some overtime work. You could also be managing other staff and being the contact point between senior workers which could be stressful at times.


Executive Assistants are most in demand in these locations:


Although this a is a very large occupation, with work opportunities available in most regions of Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria employ the largest shares of workers in this role – but you could work remotely from anywhere in the country.


How to become an Executive Assistant in Australia


You can work as an Executive Assistant without any formal qualifications. However, you might find that a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification in business administration, secretarial and clerical studies, or accounting may be useful and make you eligible to apply for more jobs.


Step 1 Obtain your high school certificate, subjects including English and IT will be useful, Maths and Business Studies could benefit you too.


Step 2 – Complete relevant VET or tertiary qualification, e.g.:

Remember, you may have the option of studying some courses online. You could even complete them part time while you work and gain experience.

You could also consider applying for a Traineeship, where you’ll receive a VET qualification, work experience and be paid a salary. With the added advantage you’ll be able to network and showcase your abilities, meaning you could end up with a job once you’re qualified.


Step 3 – Ensure that your computer skills are on point and keep updating them.


Step 4 – Gain work experience and move into a supervisory position or consider upskilling while you work and applying for vacancies within the leadership and management teams.


Find out more here –




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Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Executive Assistants do?


Executive Assistants carry out day to day tasks that support Executives within the organisation and help them to be more efficient and productive. They also rally to respond to unexpected or emergency situations that arise.


What career advancement opportunities are available to Executive Assistants?


Executive Assistant could be a stepping-stone or pathway to more senior careers in executive and management roles. Your knowledge of the business may be enough to help you get a promotion, or you might have to work to obtain a formal qualification.  In addition, the skills you’ll develop working as an EA could make you ideally suited to diversify into other roles (see the similar careers section in our job spotlight).


What industries employ Executive Assistants?


Executive Assistants are needed in nearly every industry around, as their skills are required to support the functions and work of the leadership and management workers. Which means that you could choose to work in, and make a difference in, any area that you are passionate about.


Do I need to go to university to become an Executive Assistant?


You don’t have to gain any formal qualifications to work as an EA, but if you don’t you should expect to start your career in a junior role and work your way up. Obtaining a formal qualification and gaining work experience could help you to start working as an EA sooner.


Where do Executive Assistants work?


Executive Assistants often work in corporate offices, asa they’re required to be available to the professional(s) they are supporting. However, thanks to the development of virtual technology, you could set yourself up at and work from home. You could even own your own business and provide support services to multiple executives.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Executive Assistant?


If you’re at high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Executive Assistant is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Work on your soft skills, especially leadership, planning and organisation.
  2. Get experience in project management and event planning.
  3. Take short courses in administration, business and IT.

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