The TOP 15 Things You Should Know About Being An Administrative Assistant.
Get the inside scoop on office expectations
Here's what you need to know about being a successful Administrative Assistant. There is a large general description of what Administrative Assistants do. Speaking from experience, I've compiled a list of what I think are:
The Top 15 Things You Should Know About Being An Administrative Assistant:
1. Reception Management: You'll be screening phone calls, greeting clients, visitors, and vendors. The primary goal is to be the 'first impression' of your company to all who call or come in. A professional appearance and pleasant phone voice are expected. Second, minimize interruptions and deflect whomever/whatever your boss doesn't want to deal with right now. Take accurate, detailed messages that allow your boss to save time when he calls the person back.
2. Coffee Management: You’ll be making coffee every day, all day, for everyone. And, you'll be responsible for keeping the coffee station stocked and clean.
3. Go-For Management: You’ll be the go-for; for coffee, for copies, for lunch, for anything needed.
4. Equipment Management: You’ll be expected to know how to troubleshoot every piece of office machinery, including parts maintenance, upgrades, and lease renewals.
5. Supply Management: You’ll be expected to keep inventory of office supplies, bathroom supplies, kitchen/coffee/breakroom supplies, party supplies and subsequently, can be blamed for running out of whatever has run out. Unless Susie Supply Stealer is busted.
6. Event Management: You’ll be tasked with all the ‘office party’ planning. This can include responsibilities for birthdays, anniversaries, the kind for work, wedding/baby, promotion and retirement/leaving occasions. Be sure to establish a budget with your boss prior to planning. This can present you with a great opportunity to showcase your creative side and cost effective skills. And win brownie points with everyone.
7. Agenda Management: You'll be scheduling appointments, conferences, meetings and rearranging all of the above effectively due to unforeseen circumstances. Some offices require you to make travel arrangements. Use a travel agency to assist you in saving time, money and frustration.
8. Presentation Management: You’ll be the note-taker, report-maker, and brilliant, creative, well-organized meeting presentation-compiler.
9. Buzz Management: You will hear most of everything that’s going on with everyone, in every department. All the juicy gossip, nasty rumors and running tabs on who’s stupid, lazy, kiss-ass, back-stabbing, slave-driving, doormat, and completely crazy. Even if you don't want to know any of this potentially disgusting, sometimes intriguing, and mostly mean, damaging information there is always a know-it-all in every office spreading the buzz. Just don't be that person.
10. Information Management: You’ll be writing office memos, emails, business correspondence, reports, drafts and responding to requests for information and data. You’ll also maintain electronic and hard copy filing systems, prepare and distribute mail, and may assist with record keeping for staff including expense reports and/or petty cash.
11. Multi-tasking Management: You’ll be juggling several roles and responsibilities at once and be expected to adapt, transform, compromise, camouflage, problem solve and implement solutions in the moment. While smiling.
12.Micro-Management: Some bosses will bring every mistake he finds, big or small, yours and everyone else's to you. You'll be expected to point them out to your co-workers, so she/he doesn't have to. You'll also need to relay the 'correct' procedure, according to the boss, to everyone who doesn't do it their way. Er, I mean, the 'right' way.
13. Time Management: Most office environments are fast-paced and you'll be expected to adapt. Accuracy and efficiency are what you should strive for. Prioritize your workload so you have ample time to pay attention to the details that matter. Get creative and provide solutions or ‘hacks’ that save you and everyone else precious time that can be spent on selling your product or service and catering to your customer’s satisfaction.
14. Impact Management: Your unique skill set makes you indispensable to the staff you provide primary support to and vital to the overall efficiency of the office. And having transferable skills - those keywords like; interpersonal skills, attention to detail, organization and problem solving skills, make you a valuable employee. Learning and growing with your business office may even open doors for inter-office promotion.
15. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries can range from $25k - $45K per year, depending upon location and level of education and/or work experience. The BLS also reports (as of Jan. 2014) this occupation as having an overall expected job growth of twelve percent from 2012-2022, which is as fast as average for all occupations. More and more companies are relying on their Administrative Assistants to learn and assume tasks performed by Executive Secretaries as a means of saving money, and many managers are now performing some administrative tasks themselves.
If you're job-searching, you can beef up that resume with the insider knowledge you've gained here and practice those interview skills. Administrative Assistants are the life force of modern business offices and the more demonstrable skills you have, the more valuable you are to a prospective employer.
With approximately 12 variations of the same job title*, the subtle differences between them pertain to specific industries and levels of education. Another variable is the size of the company, and you’ll find an expanded list of responsibilities unique to each office/place of business specified in the employment ad. In the corporate world of business, there is a distinct difference between Executive Assistants and Administrative Assistants and as such, a separate article.
As an Administrative Assistant, you are the support system for the office and the higher up, i.e. department manager. The foundation for Administrative positions begins with having strong typing skills and in depth knowledge and understanding of most modern computer software, database maintenance, and project management. There are degree programs available for Administrative Assistants, with coursework including classes in database management, word processing, computer applications and office etiquette. If you want to enter a specific industry, such as Law, Medical, Insurance, or Accounting for example, you’ll need higher education to get the prerequisite skills to apply for and enter that field. Entry level positions expect the minimum skills and are usually willing to train you on the job for that specific industry and office.
* Variations of the job title include: Administrative Assistant, Administrative Support, Administrative Associate, Administrative Specialist, Administrative Coordinator, Administrative Clerk, Administrative Aide, Administrative Secretary, Office Assistant, Office Clerk, Office Support, Office Aide