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What’s in a title?

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Question:  “What is the preferred (or most common) title for someone who reports directly to an assistant general manager: administrative assistant or executive assistant?” — B.J. Carroll

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie November 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Generally, titles, job descriptions, pay grades, and pay ranges are determined by the HR department. It is their job to conduct outside studies on behalf of your employer that help define these areas and to keep things fair and legal. The HR department should provide employee guidelines and a host of other services that help you understand your job and what is expected of you.


Jessica November 14, 2008 at 4:04 pm

I have noticed over the years that we as “admin’s” have had a tough time arguing the proper name for title sake. I have been referred to as a secretary, administrative assistant, office manager, though I never minded as long as my pay reflected correctly on my check. My proper title is Senior Executive Assistant. According to Office Team, and for your viewing pleasure, I present to you the Administrative Position Titles in order. (Please remember: each company size, pay and requirements for this type of work differ.)

1. Senior Executive Assistant 2. Executive Assistant 3. Senior Admin Asst. 4. Admin Asst. 5. Senior Office/ Facilities Mgr 6. Office Manager 6. Human Resources Asst. 7. Marketing Assistant 8. Sales Assistant 9. Mortgate Asst 10. Research Assistant 11. Project Coordinator 12. Project Asst ………..so on an so forth.

Hope this helps….


Anonymous November 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Is there someone in your company (HR perhaps) that you could address your question/concern to?

I don’t imagine that employees are allowed to “title” themselves – so this would be for your own knowledge and possibly for you to address if you feel you are not properly titled?


Jean Poniske November 14, 2008 at 3:22 pm

I work for a VP and in our company I am an Administrative Assistant though I do the work of an Executive Assistant. In our company the only Executive Assistants work for Sr. VP’s and above.


The Executive Assistant November 10, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Would you call a Dr a Nurse or a Nurse a Dr? There are varying differences between a secretary and an executive assistant.


Freda November 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm

I work for a U.S. Business Unit of an international company. My boss is an Executive for the company – his title is Senior Vice President. He is actually an officer for several of our insurance carriers. From my 27 years of experience, I would say that the person would be an administrative assistant.


Jocelyn November 10, 2008 at 8:17 am

Admin Asst, because executive is an asst for much higher up than a general manager, so the work is generally more demanding and they handle more sensitive company information.


Annonymous November 7, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Pat — your perception of “admin” made me giggle! Perhaps you got that perception from watching the movie “9 to 5”?! (Maybe Administrative Assistant was a mouthful and someone shortened it to “admin”.)

Generally, I agree with Sarah that it is dependent on the the company’s size and structure. I also agree with Miriam that an admin’s title denotes the organizational level. I also think an admin’s title should reflect the job responsibilities of the position. (A look at the salary wizard on salary.com provides some basis for the various support titles.)


Miriam M. Cook November 7, 2008 at 2:44 pm

B.J. In my experience, Executive Assistants report to VPs (all variations), Presidents, Co-Presidents anyone in the Executive positions in the company. The Upper Tier of the Organizational Chart.

Administative Assistants report to Managers, Directors, General Managers and so forth. Normally, the 2nd Tier of the Organizational Chart.

However, if the General Manager is the highest tier of your company’s organizational chart then the person would be an Executive Assistant.

This is set up as a promotional ladder for administrative staff members.. if I’m not mistaken the path is, Receptionist, Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant (normally is the highest). However, once the person reaches that level they normally evolve into a position of more responsibility such as Associate and/or Office Manager.

I hope this helps.


Christine November 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

In my company, the title Executive Assistant applies to those that report to VP’s or higher. All others are Administrative Assistants.


Pat November 7, 2008 at 2:04 pm

While we are on the subject of titles, one I would like to see go away is “Admin”! I picture someone popping gum and filing her nails! I much prefer Assistant since it more accurately describes what we do.

To address the question, I believe an Executive Assistant would report to the General Manager, not the Assistant General Manager. In my experience, “Executive Assistant” usually indicates an assistant to an executive. I suppose it really comes down to what your company guidelines say regarding titles.


Sarah Myers November 7, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I think it really depends on the company. Most companies have standards for this; for example, in our company, anyone who assists a “Head of” or above can be promoted into the Executive Assistant title. Anyone below that level can be an Administrative Assistant or a Senior Administrative Assistant.


Kutty November 7, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Secretary covers it all! Keep it simple. It still conveys the message.


My Name November 7, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I believe the general rule is Executive Assistant if you are supporting a VP or above, Administrative Assistant for below the VP level.


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