Secretaries as well as administrative assistants carry out routine clerical and administrative duties. They perform specific functions such as preparing documents, organizing file as well as scheduling appointments. Almost all industries require services of secretaries as well as administrative assistants.
In most cases, you will find them in an office setting kind of environment, though in rare cases, thy can accompany their bosses on the field, with changes in the industry and adoption of technology. Virtual assistants are now gaining traction every now and then.
- Take messages as well as call on behalf of the boss or even transfer calls to respective departments.
- Secretaries update events calendar as well as schedule appointments
- They are also the one who arrange staff meetings
- Secretaries and administrative assistants handle all mails and faxes incoming and outgoing.
- Secretaries prepare invoices, memos, and other reports.
- Editing documents is also a function they perform
- Secretaries and administrative assistants maintain databases and filing systems, whether paper or electronic systems.
- Basic bookkeeping without much technicalities is a task secretary performs.
Skills required to become a secretary/administrative assistant
- Good decision-making skills: Administrative assistants, as well as secretaries, are expected to prioritize tasks and make the right decisions on behalf of their bosses.
- Excellent interpersonal skills: they are the first face or point of interaction with the company. They need to communicate effectively to both clients as well as staff.
- Organizational skills: For you to succeed as an administrative assistant or as a secretary, how you organize your files, work, and schedules is of paramount importance.
- Excellent writing skills: memos, emails, and other communications are channeled through the secretary. Hence, a good command of grammar will be of use when you aspire to be a secretary.
Basing on Average salaries of administrative assistants as well as secretaries across the United States, in May 2019, the salary scale for a secretary was ranging from 25,720 dollars to 65,510 dollars per year.
This pay is not normalized across the industry. Still, it’s dependent on several aspects such as secretary-level of experience, his or her level of education as well as pieces of training attended, the area the job is found, and finally the industry you are working in.
With increased technology advancement and adoption in most companies, the employment of secretaries is projected to go down by approximately nine percent between 2018 to 2028. Technology is now enabling employees to prepare their documents edging out secretaries. Fields such as health and legal, employment of secretaries are on the rise with an estimated increase by about 16 percent for the next ten years, a scenario not experienced in other industries.
For one to take up a career as an administrative assistant or as a secretary, some basic form of education is required. High school graduates can enroll for a word processing and office procedure short course at a community college. Some agencies offer on work training upon placement where you are taught word processing and database software’s as well as word processing.
Industries like legal are a bit more technical. They require you to take a specially tailored course to learn legal terminologies as well as practices before taking you as a legal secretary. Currently, executive secretary positions require hires to obtain college degrees.
Free Online Administrative Assistant Training
With increased online courses, they are a thousand of free online courses and material you choose from the comfort of your home and become a secretary or an administrative assistant. One such course is Administrative Skills.
It is a short course offered by the home study center. It is offered online and takes you approximately twenty hours to complete. The course has no set minimum entry requirements, and you can start at any time.
Another such course you can take online is the office administration course. You are required to sign up for this course and is offered by oxford home study, which has as well introduced other short courses such as free online administrative assistant course. Once you complete this course, you are awarded a certificate of completion.
This course is open for enrolment anytime and has no minimum set entry criteria.
The course is tutor-led, and all resources are provided as it is standard across the industry. Upon completion, you will be awarded a free OHSC completion letter issued by this college. This letter is emailed to your email address.
Other related courses offered online for administrative assistant and secretaries include the following; a PA Course level 1, Admin Secretarial & PA for level 2, Secretarial & PA level 3 certificate, Admin Secretarial & PA Diploma level 4, Admin Secretarial & PA level 5 diploma, Office Management Diploma level 5, office management Diploma level 4 and finally office Management Certificate level 3.
|Course Level||Short Course|
|Study Method||Online Learning|
|Course Duration||20 Hours|
|Entry Requirements||There is no entry requirements|
|Endorsed By||Start OHSC Now|
Top 3 skills of an Administrative Assistant
Administrative assistants, as well as secretaries, are a very integral part of a thriving business. Them being responsible for communicating on behalf of executives, scheduling meetings as well as maintaining a contact list proofs they serve vital support to the company.
With such a cumbersome task ahead of them, it is expected that administrative assistants, as well as secretaries, exhibit some skillsets to stand out to their employer. It’s of paramount importance to continue horning your skills to position yourself for this important role. The following are some of the administrative assistant skills required to become a top-notch in your career.
1. Technology survey or tech adept
A lot of work you will encounter as an administrative assistant or as secretary involves the use of technological tools to help you achieve your results a bit faster and efficiently. Functions such as data entry, calendar scheduling, as well as creating company reports, demand a secretary to use essential tech tools. Therefore, it is vital to be extremely familiar with the working of Microsoft office software such as word excels, PowerPoint for creating presentations as well as on look for sending emails.
Similarly, admin assistants, as well as secretaries, are expected to be familiar with customer relationship management software or only CRM to help them in managing customer’s data. In short, for you to succeed as a secretary or an admin assistant, your software skills, browser as well as operating systems skills needs to be refined.
2. Verbal and written communication skills
If this is, there is an important skill a secretary or an admin assistant should possess from the word go is excellently written and communication skills. You will use this ability daily to communicate what your boss intends or the executive decisions to the other staff. Remember, you are the face, as well as the voice of the company.
The company reputation is dependent on how you respond to issues raised by customers or how you treat visitors in your office. You are expected to handle your suppliers, customers, as well as partners in the utmost professional manner. Admin assistants, as well as secretaries, are expected to have a friendly positive attitude as they interact with other employees, guests, or even customers. Short of this, you cannot succeed as an assistant for long.
3. Time management and organization skill
Many are the times your services as an admin assistant will be required in several departments since you are a valuable resource to the company. This may sometimes make you feel stretched of your time.
This will make sure you run your affairs properly, and time management is an essential skill. You will be required to accurately with precision plan your tasks and execute them diligently. Also, how you organize your tasks largely will influence your output.as an admin assistant, you need to manage teams, events, files as well as schedules. All this requires proper time management and excellent organization skills.
A lot of people enquire about what they are supposed to do to become an administrative assistant or a company secretary. Well, the following simple steps will guide an aspiring student or another person looking for a career change.
First, you must be a graduate from a high school if you are considering a career in this field. A college degree is not mandatory, but basic training from a technical college is enough to give you a place in the market.
Secondly, your typing speed needs to be raised significantly, and you can take a typing course for this from any vocational college or a technical school. The aim here is to prepare you for most of the work secretaries and admin assistants engage in. You will also be required to learn how to save documents as well as edit them.
Thirdly, identify the industry you want to venture into and thoroughly train on the specifics as well as terminologies used in that sector. For instance, if you are aspiring to be a legal secretary, you need to learn legal terms and languages used in that field.
Also, learn essential information technology hacks. This will introduce you to software programs that you will encounter in your day to day life as an assistant. Become familiar with Microsoft office tools and software, correctly put your focus on word processing, spreadsheet as well as excel as they will come in handy when you need those skills.
Lastly, always be on the lookout on the emerging trends. Learn on the job through training and seminars. This kind of job demands patience and being open to correction and taking instructions. Be proactive, especially when it comes to asking questions and follow-ups on work meetings and expectations.
Ask for feedback from your bosses, enquire about areas you need to improve. You should set a check-in meeting with your boss after a few months from your start date to access your skills as well as tracking your improvement.
Other minor areas you need to focus on as you work on significant areas include; being a strategic planner. This skill is essential and goes hand in hand with crucial skills we highlighted above, like time management and overall organizational skills. Planning here means being able to prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. Some hard organization, like planning processes for the entire office, requires excellent strategic skills.
You must be resourceful, especially to your boss, if you are to succeed as an assistant. Learn new skills as well as new business treads, which will allow you to adapt quickly to the new role. Admin assistants, as well as secretaries, are a vital resource, especially in times of crisis, and their bosses are not available to offer solutions. As an assistant, you must be resourceful when it comes to providing solutions as well as exploring other avenues.
An assistant is not expected to miss any details. Bosses rely on you to proofread documents, and they do not assume any error or omission or otherwise. A secretary is required to pay attention to the tiniest details in your work as an assistant.
Mistakes such as typos and grammatical errors cannot be terrorized in this field. Having a keen eye on more information will be an asset when it comes to data entry as well as reporting issues. Errors in communications leave you and the entire organization with a wrong impression.
It is good practice to anticipate the needs of your boss and complete those tasks in advance. It will make as a secreatry stand out as a great assistant. Taking the initiative to support your organization rather than waiting for approval shows a sense of commitment and responsibility. Simple tasks such as updating the company contact list show your boss that you care and want your business to succeed.
Question & answers
1. How do you become an administrative assistant with no experience?
The administrative assistant is a vital part of daily operations in most companies. Their work plan usually is like a puzzle and acts as a conjunction between the authorities and everyone trying to reach the authorizes.
They are also assigned to Schedule event, as well as communicate the initiative to the broader office. They also take care of the nitty-gritty of documentation and keep in order the logistical ship so as everything runs properly.
Typically an entry-level position, the administrative assistant position, can result in a career in project management or performance. It is also the best way to have a trial of an industry that is of interest. For you to own this job, you must be so organized, good communicator, champion multi-tasker, and practically color-coded.
2. What are some of the characteristics that an employer looks for as an administrative assistant?
The first thing that an employer look at is an attention to detail and organization. Most of the coordination work in the office requires a master organizer who never makes mistakes. Such work includes searching for event vendors, purchasing supplies, handling a plan, and falls to administrative assistants. Therefore, for you to prove you got this, you must turn to a typo-free resume and cover letter that select any experience that indicates you have turning chaos into order.
The other thing that an employer looks from an administrative assistant is self-sufficiency and reliability. Start portraying your reliability by showing up during the time of the interview.
YOU can also demonstrate by quickly responding to communication from the potential employer. For you to be a good administrative assistant, you must gain trust, which starts with showing reliably as well availing yourself to assist when you are needed. Besides, you don’t have to be managed closely because your main function is taming the chaos of the office but not adding to it.
An employer also looks for a team player as well as a multi-tasker. IF you are a proven team player and melt-tasker to a previous job or even internship, you should indicate on your resume and cover letter. You should also highlight any skill that you think is relevant. In most cases, anyone who wants to reach the boss must first get through the assistant. Therefore, the assistant is the gatekeeper for the people he serves. He plays this role alongside many responsivities that facilitate working with people in the office.
A sense of urgency is another crucial skill that many employers look from administrative assistant. An excellent administrative assistant is always on top of what that expect hiccup because they have a driving sense of urgency. As an administrative assistant, you are going to encounter a lot of circumstances that require to be dealt with urgency. Be sure to height in your resume or cover letter if you have anything in your work experience that indicates your ability to perform under pressure.
Employers also tend to look for excellent communication skills. The assistance is usually responsible for a lot of office-wide communication as well as answering incoming calls or even replying to some of the customer’s email. In this case, communication is a key skill. How well you communicate in this situation demonstrates directly on your boss. You also need to speak firmly and confidently as well as write articulately.
3. What is the basic course one can learn?
You can take a basic typing course to brush up your skills such that you can quickly respond to emails, take notes, or edit documents number of free typing courses are available online.
You can also consider bookkeeping or accounting course, which is also offered online. Indicate these classes on your resume, and this will show you are serious about the day- to- day tasks, which are a requirement with the administrative assistant position.
4. How can land to the administrative assistant job?
YOU need to pick an industry and expand a network on it. You call also look for an internship
Think of administrative assistants or company secretaries as an active part of the business and an essential driver of growth in any industry. Administrative assistants and secretary maintain the face of the company.
How positive or negative this largely depends on how they treat the company’s customers, suppliers, or their fellow staff members. As we have seen, there are essential skills and standards a secretary or an administrative assistant should portray or exhibit to his or her bosses to have a successful career.
Their field is dynamically changing with declines in hires in some industries, mainly due to a shift in technology. Some sectors, like health and law, have maintained and continue to demand more of the services of these professionals.
Various skill sets are requested and required based on the industry you are venturing into. Some expect to first familiarize themselves with the technical terminologies and terms used in that industry before applying to be an assistant. Mostly level of education is not a significant issue, with a high school diploma and some little basic training you are good to go.
Some industries like legal require secretaries to have a university degree or some college diploma before assuming the position. Your ability to adapt to changes and your openness to correction is a key driver to how you succeed in this profession.