CAREER GUIDE FOR EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

SOC Code: 13-1199

Pay Band(s): 4 and 5  (Salary Structure)

Standard Occupational Description: There is no standard occupational description for the occupation of Executive Assistant as used by the Commonwealth. This occupation would be included in the Business Operations Specialist, All Others. This group is comprised of many different types of business occupations with a wide range of characteristics.

Commonwealth of Virginia Description: Provides administrative and program support for agency head and executives. Functions in a staff capacity with substantial independence to perform multiple duties related to diverse agency-wide programs, projects and issues which cross agency operational and administrative lines.

Executive Assistant positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the General Administration Career Group:

General Administration Coordinator I

General Administration Coordinator II

While Executive Assistants within the Commonwealth are all located within the General Administration Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

Program Administration

Public Relations and Marketing

Administrative and Office Support

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

Skills
Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Executive Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

  1. Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  2. Communicating effectively orally and in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  3. Using logic and reasoning to identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  4. Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  5. Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  6. Using mathematical methods and statistics to solve problems.
  7. Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem solving and decision-making.
  8. Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  9. Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Knowledge
Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Executive Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Knowledge of:

  1. Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  2. Data collection processes, data analysis, and research or survey methodology.
  3. Applicable computer software and operating systems.
  4. Agency's programs, policies, operations and budget processes.
  5. Organization and operations of state government.
  6. Applicable regulations and legislative process.
  7. Business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Executive Assistants commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

The Ability to:

  1. Read, interpret and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  2. Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  3. Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  4. Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  5. Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  6. Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  7. Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  8. Analyze and interpret data and evaluate operational situations.
  9. Work independently and coordinate the work of others.

Tasks
Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Executive Assistants.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

  1. Analyzes and interprets results of studies, and prepares reports detailing findings, recommendations, or conclusions.
  2. Develops operational standards and revises agency's rules and regulations for compliance with state and federal regulations.
  3. Serves on various committees and tasks forces representing a program area or as a representative of an agency head.
  4. Prepares or directs the preparation of technical data.
  5. Responds to issues that may not be addressed by established policies or procedures.
  6. Oversee implementation of board, commission, or council policies and actions.
  7. Formulates budget for assigned program or operational functions.
  8. Establish and maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups.
  9. Confer with others to identify trends and key group interests and concerns or to provide advice on business decisions.

INTERESTED?

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

The occupation of Executive Assistant has Enterprising, Artistic and Social characteristics as described below:

Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

Generally this is not required for Executive Assistant positions in state government.

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

The Executive Assistant provides administrative support for program areas or an administrator. Responsibilities include applying knowledge of federal and state laws, policies, rules, regulations for administrative areas and program services. The Executive Assistant plans, implements, and coordinates special projects, staff, and resources and prepares or supervises the preparation of management reports. Discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, and the ability to work independently are especially important for the administrative specialist positions.

Specialized course work in business administration or public administration or related field, usually acquired through business school provides entry into this field. However, a college degree in business administration, public administration or related field combined with administrative support and project or program management experience is considered excellent preparation for Executive Assistant work.

The State Council of Higher Education lists many Virginia educational institutions offering programs in business administration on their web site: http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory_

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

  1. Technical and Functional Expertise
  2. Understanding the Business     
  3. Achieving Results
  4. Serving the Customer
  5. Teamwork
  6. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  7. Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

For example: Executive Assistant

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

4

General Administration Coordinator I

5

General Administration Coordinator II

   

Sample Career Path

General Administration Supervisor I/Coordinator I

The General Administration Supervisor I/Coordinator I role provides a career track for Executive Assistants who perform a variety of administrative and business functions in a unit, non-retail business, facility, or field office. This career track is for administrative specialists who provide administrative support for program areas or an administrator. Specialist is responsible for gathering facts, analyzing findings, reaching logical conclusions, recommending solutions and coordinating confidential or highly sensitive projects.

General Administration Supervisor II/Coordinator II

The General Administration Supervisor II/Coordinator II role provides a career track for Executive Assistants. This career track is for senior-level professionals who plan, coordinate, and perform administrative activities for executives. Decisions impact the efficiency of administrative and business processes, programs, and agency. Coordinates administrative activities among parties and ensures that management has the information and resources needed to make management decisions.

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 

http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission 

http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop

 http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network

 http://www.vacrn.net/