The first thing that you want to remember with this type of career is that image is everything, especially with banking jobs or jobs of a similar nature. Since you are basically representing executives within the company, you should make sure that you are a clean and respectable representation of your boss. Typically, this means that you will need to wear suits. Even if your employer allows a "business casual" wardrobe, you still need to make sure that your clothes are always ironed and in good taste. This is something yesterday's secretary had to do as well.
Within this job description, you will find that good communication is necessary. It is vital that you understand how to properly express yourself not only to your co-workers and the public, but to your boss as well. Since you are working for the executives of the company, it is important to make sure that everything is handled in a proper way and as quickly as possible. Poor communication can lead to a lot of problems and mistakes, which is something you really must avoid as your job depends on it.
Another thing to remember is that your boss may get frustrated at certain times because of the high stress of their job, especially with banking jobs. It is important to make sure that you know how to stay calm and how to handle a rough situation when there is a lot of stress. Between you and your boss, one of you has to be the rock and think clearly. If your boss is having a slight meltdown, it is up to you to pull everything together and to keep things in working order.
Just as a secretary had to, you have to make sure that you have excellent phone etiquette and you always have to remain pleasant. Since you never know who is on the other end of the line, you have to make sure that you are always answering the phones in a highly professional manner. Have you ever heard someone say that they can "hear" a smile on the phone? Well, it's true, so make sure that you are always upbeat and always answer the phones with a smile as that will help set the tone for the entire call.
Having organization and time management skills are essential to the career as well. Most likely, you will not have a lot of down time during your business day so you have to know how to keep things flowing and you have to be able to prioritize so that nothing gets lost in the dust. To help with this, your desk should always remain clean and orderly so that no time is wasted when there is the need to find a very important paper.
It is also a good idea to make sure that you have as many skill sets as possible as this would be truly appreciated by your employer. Not only do you need to have a working understanding of Microsoft Office but you also should understand bookkeeping and travel software as well. Knowing another language might also come in handy so you may want to consider picking up a language course at your local community college.
Another thing that you need to understand in order to become a good executive assistant is when to keep your mouth shut. Confidentially is a big part of the job description because you will find yourself face to face with a lot of important information about the company's finances and personal information on the various employees. Do not get yourself wrapped up in office gossip because it could end up costing you your job and you could find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit.