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Executive Secretary

Education and Training High school diploma along with a bachelor’s degree
Average Salary $57,403
Job Outlook Good

An executive secretary plays a vital role in the operation of a business or a company and is the right hand to the Chief Executive Officer or the company president. An executive secretary may also train and be responsible for supervision for the lower level staff. Apart from being a link between the clientele and the company, an executive secretary also takes care of the schedules of the executives therefore coordinating events such as meetings, conferences and conference phone calls. The Executive Secretary also is responsible for the accommodation and entertainment arrangements for the executives and the visitors to the company.
There are a number of clerical duties that are also allotted to an executive secretary such as preparing presentations, correspondence, mailing lists, invoices, and various other documents. Maintenance of files (electronic and hard copies) , doing research work as required, faxing, photocopying documents, and making complete record report of expenses for the CEO is all done by the Executive Secretary.
An executive secretary is the first link between the clients and the executives. It is essential that the executive secretary has a professional outlook at all times and greets and interacts with the client in an appropriate manner. There may also be interaction with other high level executives or sales representatives regarding various issues. All mail that is received by the company or organization is first received and screened by the Executive Secretary. An executive secretary may also be required to receive or forward mail further to the appropriate individual or department.
The job of an executive secretary requires active listening skills, good concentration and understanding, basic arithmetic skills, and good writing skills. These skills develop over years of experience in the job or from being a general secretary before. To be a successful executive secretary one requires critical thinking skills, immediate improvising skills, reasoning skills, and above all a lot of patience and sense of organization.

Education and Training

The job of an executive secretary is a very demanding one. In order to be a good Executive Secretary one requires a high school diploma along with a bachelor’s degree. Apart from that companies prefer a certification from the International Association of Administrative Professionals along with three to five years of experience as a general secretary.
Once enrolled with the International Association of Administrative Professionals there is an exam conducted and if passed then the candidate is given a certificate of certified professional secretary (CPS) or the certified administrative professional (CAP). The CPS is a three part examination that covers the fields of management, office technology, and office administration. The CAP apart from management, office technology and office administration also covers organizational management.
A 1-year certificate or 2-year associate’s degree program offering courses in software applications, keyboarding, communications, accounting, and office technology is also sufficient to begin with an Executive Secretary’s training.

Getting the job

Once one has gained the appropriate certification and work experience as a general secretary one can apply for the job of the executive secretary. A number of companies put out vacancy information in the newspapers or on their respective websites as to when they are hiring and holding interviews.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The executive secretaries that are working in a government organization can further be promoted to higher civil service posts. The prospects of advancement are less as the companies are updating their technology with every passing day and the jobs are now being automated.

Working Conditions and Environment

Most executive secretaries work in a well lit and comfortable office. It is essential that the executive secretary be prepared for travel and for a flexible work schedule. Work hours can vary from thirty to forty five hours per week.

Salary and benefits

The median salary for an executive secretary ranges between $50,477 and $64,330. The hourly rate for an executive secretary with a high school diploma is between $12.94 and $18.46. With an Associate Degree, an executive secretary can earn up to $19.61 per hour.
The job is incentive based. Executive secretaries are given paid vacations, health benefits, and insurance as well.

Where to Go for More Information

International Association of Administrative Professionals
10502 NW Ambassador Dr.
PO Box 20404
Kansas City, MO 64195
(816) 891-6600

Office and Professional Employees International Union
265 W 14th St., 6th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(800) 346-7348

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness