The role of an executive secretary has evolved over the last couple of decades to include more knowledge of trade and responsibility. Administrative Assistant is the title used to represent this new support role. Depending on the field of employment you select, your position meets the needs of your department or industry. Executives depend on administrative assistants during a normal work day. Being an administrative assistant is now considered a professional role and a position of prestige. For those with exemplary administrative skills, it is considered a great start to one’s career path.
Monday through Friday and 9:00am – 5:00pm schedules are common for an administrative assistant. Schedules may vary depending on the employer’s needs and business operations. Benefits are at the discretion of the employer and size of the business. Opportunities are available for flexible schedules.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses simplifies the job selection process. You want to seek a position where you perform well and enhance your current skill set. If hired, you should be confident that you will fulfill their clerical tasks and be an asset to the team.
What are Administrative Assistant Skills?
The general support that an administrative assistant provides revolves around the organization, communication, and clerical needs of the staff. As an administrative assistant, you will cater and report to managers and members of the executive team. The skill set acquired to qualify for this position will service any field or industry.
What are the Skills That Make You A Qualified Assistant?
There are many different skills that support an administrative assistant to succeed at an organization. The top skills include customer service, technology savvy, organization, verbal and written communication, time management, strategic planning, being detail oriented, billing and research skills.
Skill #1: Customer Service – knowing how to interact with others under a variety of circumstances is a crucial component in recruiting and sustaining client relations. The administrative assistant is strategically located at the entrance as the face of the business. They must emanate the company’s mission through your actions, expressions, and delivery of services. The administrative assistant must know how to handle unfavorable situations that are inevitable in business. They will be relied on to diffuse these issues so that management does not have to be involve themselves unless necessary.
Skill #2: Technology Savvy – staying updated on the latest office equipment is essential to remain a competitor in this field. Technology is always changing in the workplace. The phone systems can be monitored via software and used in business analytics, desktop computers are upgraded, and faxing through a facsimile machine is becoming extinct.
Skill #3: Organization – not only must the administrative assistant structure their work in a productive fashion, the administrative staff needs organization as well. Keeping things in a specific order, creating schedules that function properly for all parties involved, and planning a variety of events are among the many tasks that will keep the business moving forward. Creating records, reports, logs, and reminders are some of the methods used by administrative assistant to stay organized.
Skill #4: Verbal and Written Communication – administrative assistants communicate in person, on the phone, by email, and by postal mail. The delivery of their message must be concise. The administrative assistant’s tone should reflect enthusiasm, empathy, and confidence. The administrative assistant is the primary resource for the business.
Skill #5: Time Management – the office schedule is managed in a way that works for everyone. Setting deadlines and reminders will assist with meeting an administrative assistant’s goals. Enforcing schedules and time limitations will keep everyone in sync. Proper time management skills include allowing for extra time on schedule for unforeseen circumstances.
Skill #6: Strategic Planning – pertinent to ensuring that everyone is effectively working toward a common goal. Meetings develop goals where goals, and a strategy of execution is planned. The goals are based on the needs of the company, the clients, and the industry.
Skill #7: Detail Oriented – dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s is essential in this administrative support role. Human error is expected. An administrative assistant will want to review their work before final submission. It should become second nature to look for errors or missing items.
Skill #8: Billing – it is important to balance the company budget to meet its internal and external needs. There are several software programs designed to assist businesses with managing their finances. Creating invoices, purchase orders, creating deposits, and processing payments are all parts of billing.
Sill #9: Research – being a skilled researcher is invaluable to a business. Information, statistics, and comparisons are usually needed to stay in sync with competitors. Administrative assistants need research skills to successfully perform their job.
What Business Related Software Does an Administrative Assistant Use?
Microsoft Office is the most used software suite by administrative assistants. Word processing, creating spreadsheets, presentations, and databases are part of the job description. Excelling in this area is vital to an administrative assistants’ success.
What are the Personality Skills Needed to Succeed?
An administrative assistant needs specific personality skills to perform their job successfully. These personality skills include multi-tasking, being a team player, being discreet, showing patients, and being ambitious.
Skill #10: Multi-tasking – being able to handle multiple tasks at once and execute them as requested is a skill an administrative assistant must master. Answering a call while performing data entry and greeting a guest is a common occurrence at a business.
Skill #11: Team Player – working well with others is essential in a support role. The team must fulfill the company’s mission as one. Helping or being one step ahead and getting something done without being asked is a valuable quality of an administrative assistant.
Skill #12: Discretion – some companies require an administrative assistant to sign a Non-Disclosure agreement that prohibits them from sharing inside information. In absence of this agreement, an administrative assistant should still be discreet. Earning an employer’s trust is important to their future with the business and in the industry.
Skill #13: Patience – an administrative assistant comes across many circumstances where patience is key to resolving the issues. If they lose their cool it could cause a domino effect and set the entire office in a frenzy.
Skill #14: Ambition – exuding interest and satisfaction with the work an administrative assistant is doing will reflect in the atmosphere of their workplace. Voluntarily learning things outside of their job description will expand their qualifications. Adding on new skills may qualify an administrative assistant for a promotion.
What Industries Require Tailored Skills?
There are many different industries that an administrative assistant can work in. Along with getting an administrative assistant diploma, on the job skills and education will prepare the administrative assistant for entry-level positions. The industries include the medical field, law, government, construction, automotive among other businesses.
For the medical field, an administrative assistant will need to supplement their education with medical terminology, safety procedures, and employment policies. Joining a law firm will involve legal terminology, legal documents, and legal procedures. An administrative assistant that joins a government agency will also need to learn government policies, protocol, and safety procedures. An administrative assistant working in the construction industry will need to learn general contracting terminology, contracting law, and the Department of Buildings procedural process. Working in the automotive industry involves learning car industry terminology, safety procedures, cross selling and upselling.
Some businesses provide onboard training to orient an administrative assistant in the company’s policies and procedures. Most expect the administrative assistant to come with the skill set or the experience necessary to fill the role immediately. Employers look for knowledge of the industry and its terminology. They depend on an administrative assistant to execute their basic responsibilities tailored to their services.
Typical Administrative Assistant Tasks
An administrative assistant performs many tasks working within an office and supporting the executive team. Trip planning entails booking flights, hotels, renting vehicles, getting directions, confirming reservations, and any special directives provided by management. An administrative assistant will manage the executive team’s daily itinerary. They’re expected to manage everyone’s schedule to enable the most productivity. The administrative assistant is responsible for keeping track of all changes, cancellations, and emergency situations. The schedule must be adapted accordingly. Everyone must be aware of what they are doing, where they are going, or who they will be meeting with at all times.
The administrative assistant handles documents, reports, and presentations. These tools are a vital source of communication and education of the business. The administrative assistant will educate the clients every step of the way through client communication. Some services will require an administrative assistant to process a payment before the client leaves or after the services are rendered. Administrative assistants call potential customers with the hope of luring them in for an appointment. Follow up contact will be the most repetitive task. It is good practice to follow up with clients, vendors, and in-house personnel. This ensures everyone is in sync. It avoids confusion and chaos.
An administrative assistant creates a welcoming atmosphere to work in. To be productive, they must put in place a functioning system. Order will prevent delays, miscommunication, and unnecessary errors that could cost the business money or clients. Cleanliness will contribute to making their space healthy to work in. Adding a personal touch solidifies their bond with the business. It conveys that the administrative assistant cares about the environment they work in. Less clutter equals more space for productivity and clear thought
What are you looking for in a new career? Becoming an administrative assistant opens many doors of opportunity. With businesses adapting to modern strategies, the administrative assistant may also opt to work from home. There are many positions offered remotely by reputable companies. An administrative assistant can work from home as an independent contractor for several clients. They can also work directly by telecommuting with one employer as a full-time employee with potential benefits. After gaining experience they may choose to further their education to advance their career. Experience, staying up to date on one’s skills, and a willingness to learn may help an administrative assistant advance.
Did learning about what an administrative assistant does interest you? The Administrative Assisting diploma program is designed to train Gwinnett College students to seek entry-level positions in the office administration or secretarial field. The Administrative Assisting graduate may work as a secretary, receptionist, executive assistant, or administrative assistant.
Contact us to learn more about becoming an administrative assistant.