Skills Corner: Executive Assistant 101

Executive Assistants are a key partner in the success of your executive and ultimately the business they’re supporting.

Executive Assistants are a key partner in the success of your executive and ultimately the business they’re supporting. You are building value for the company through enabling your executive to do their work effectively and efficiently by making things run smoothly in the background.  Viewing your role as a partnership with a shared goal is a great way to start on day one.

What is expected of you?

Excellent time management skills: 

You show up on time and have the ability to multitask and prioritize not only your own work but the work of the executive you manage.

Attention to detail: 

The little things really matter. Typos, scheduling changes, time zone differences are all really important to keep top of mind. Proof read everything twice before sending.

Great communication skills: 

As a representative of both Hire Runner and your manager, it’s important to communicate in a  clear, concise, and easily understood manner with emails free of grammatical and spelling errors. As an EA you will be trusted with confidential or proprietary information, use your discretion to keep that information private. With virtual work it is imperative to keep in close and constant contact with your manager. Come up with a system: a slack channel, quick daily check-ins, texting, or something else that works for you both! 

Problem solving and adaptability

Plans and schedules change, you are able to react quickly to find solutions to get things back on track. 

Organizational skills: 

As THE person responsible for another person’s work life, there is a great need to understand and lead many moving parts. Staying organized and keeping on task will be your top priority. 

Proactive: It’s important for EAs to develop the ability to anticipate the needs of their executive over time, this is something that becomes easier as the relationship grows. Initially you should communicate until you can work more independently. Being proactive and building out processes for your work flows helps to mitigate risk and lessen impact when problems arise.

Helpful Tips

Being an EA means being proactive. Do you see something that could be made better? Do you know of a software or system that could help you and your executive function better? Make sure you’re speaking up. The best Executive/EA relationships are ones grounded in respect, trust, and communication. 

Lots of tasks? Need to keep track of your priorities? Keep a notebook or note/task app to track a to-do list and write out your list of priorities for the next day at the end of every day. Deadlines are important to your executive, make sure you respect them or communicate often and early if they’re not going to be met.

Planning travel often? Use a template to send the itinerary to your executive. Think about the travel journey chronologically to make sure you’re remembering everything (ie. car to airport, flight, car to hotel, hotel.. etc). Keep a contact file of all rewards & frequent flyer numbers and travel preferences (hotels, window or aisle seat, food preferences) to make rebooking easy.

Scheduling for multiple time zones? Always make sure to add a time zone when requesting availability and always confirm with others if they don’t make it clear where they are located. Calendars like Google Calendar & Outlook allow for multiple time zones to be added to the sidebar to make it easier to keep track.

Planning events or summits? Use a template to keep track of the who, what, where, and why.

Managing an inbox? Use a star or flagging system to make sure you're prioritizing the most important actions you need to take and know what you’ll need to follow up on!

Setting Yourself Up For Success: Day One

We understand that every new work environment comes with its own expectations and cultural norms. It’s important to start building a strong relationship and foundation on day one, so that you can effectively navigate these new spaces. Come prepared on day one with key questions that will allow you to acclimate to your new environment. Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know and be open to augmenting your knowledge gaps.

Things to consider as you prepare for the first day of your new match:

  • Understand the company's core business.
  • Become familiar with the company's goals.
  • What are the primary technologies you’ll be required to use during your assignment?
  • Ask for clarity around your role, responsibilities and deliverables.
  • Begin to identify how your unique skills can complement and support the needs of the organization.
  • Where do they need the most help right away? Over the long term? Start to prioritize your tasks and create processes for your workflow.
  • Ask about the preferred ways in which the organization communicates.
  • Be curious about who else is on your team.

Setting Yourself Up For Success: Week One & Beyond

In addition to constant consistent communication with your manager, it’s important to set-up a dedicated space for questions you have to make sure they get answered. Scheduling 1:1s for quick weekly check-ins can help you quickly build up a relationship based on trust and open communication.

These meetings are a great opportunity to give status updates and review priorities to make sure you’re aligned. Ask how you’re working well together and what needs to be improved. Constructive feedback is a learning opportunity, use it to grow your skills as an EA.

Remember runner Success is here as your dedicated partner and advocate during your entire journey at Hire Runner.  If you need additional support, have questions, or just want to chat - please contact us at