What is an Executive Secretary?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2019
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An executive secretary is a person who works as an administrative assistant for a top executive. This is generally not an entry-level secretarial position. Typically, this job will call for many years of experience as a secretary for predominantly high-ranking officials. The job duties of an executive secretary may extend those of a traditional secretary. Although experience may be a contributing factor, some employers may require a college education to obtain this position.

Graduation from high school is usually the least amount of acceptable education to work as an executive secretary. While in high school, the individual may have excelled in business and computer-related courses. As the field for executive secretaries can be competitive, obtaining a college degree can give an individual some advantage for securing a job. Some individuals may choose to pursue a two-year associate's degree, while others may opt for a four-year bachelor's degree. Many people seeking this position as a career may enroll in a business-related program, such as business administration, businesses management or office administration.


In most cases, the executive secretary is the right-hand man or woman to a top ranking executive in a business or establishment. The secretary is quite often the driving force behind the scenes, ensuring that the business runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis. There are many tasks done by an executive assistant in this position. Some of the most common duties of this type of secretary may include typing letters on behalf of his or her boss, making forms, compiling spreadsheets and taking messages. Additionally, the secretary may provide administrative support to other executives in the department.

Sometimes, an executive secretary may find himself or herself inside of a boardroom doing more than just taking minutes. The secretary may have to sit in on a meeting in the absence of his or her boss and represent him or her. While the secretary may only listen in on the meeting and take notes to deliver back to the boss, some may have to play an active role, such as delivering a speech or giving a presentation. For this reason, many bosses spend a great deal of time training their secretary to ensure the person can assume a leadership position if required in their absence.

Unlike most traditional secretaries, an executive secretary may spend time correlating activities for the executive outside of the office. Some secretaries will be responsible for making travel arrangements for their boss. This may include scheduling flights, making hotel arrangements and scheduling car service. Often, the secretary may also provide assistance to the executive with issues concerning his or her personal life. For instance, the secretary may schedule doctor appointments, make dinner arrangements and coordinate out-of-office meetings for the executive.


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Post 4

@Vividkinz - Executive secretarial positions in most companies are usually dead-end clerical positions. They involve a lot of responsibility, but in my company at least the only way for an executive secretary to get a substantial increase in salary or responsibility is to become the assistant or executive secretary for a higher level executive.

Post 3

In my company, the executive secretary's duties also include event planning. We have a couple of annual receptions and dinners that the secretary coordinates. She reserves a location for each event, negotiates a contract for it, and arranges for the catering and audiovisual services. She also sends out invitations and keeps the RSVP list for each event. If the event will include presentations or speeches, she handles the details for these aspects of the program also including ordering any awards or certificates that will be presented and coordinating the topics to be discussed and the order of the various presentations for the evening.

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