Administrative Assistants handle routine and advanced duties for other professionals. They organize files, create correspondence, prepare reports and documents, manage calendars to schedule appointments, sort mail, prepare invoices and offer general staff support. They may serve as an initial point of contact, answering phones and greeting visitors. They might engage in event planning and meeting setup and implementation. Very often they will make travel arrangements and generate itineraries. They have to deal with other people from a wide variety of levels, from clients to management and even corporate CEOs.
- Answer phones and greet visitors
- Schedule appointments and maintain calendars
- Schedule and coordinate staff and other meetings
- Collate and distribute mail
- Prepare communications, such as memos, emails, invoices, reports, and other correspondence
- Write and edit documents from letters to reports and instructional documents
- Create and maintain filing systems, both electronic and physical
- Manage accounts and perform bookkeeping
- Decision-making: Administrative Assistants have to make independent decisions on a daily basis, addressing the best way to handle specific tasks.
- Communications and Collaboration: An Administrative Assistant must collaborate with other administrators and support personnel.
- Organizational Skills: Organization and prioritization are the core elements of the Administrative Assistant's responsibilities.
- Writing: Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and writing are essential to an Administrative Assistant.
The minimum level of education for an Administrative Assistant is a high school diploma or GED. Temporary agencies may also provide training in these areas. For those straight out of high school, courses in word processing and general office procedures are offered at vocational schools and community colleges and can be very helpful. Administrative Assistants with a bachelor’s degree are more marketable, as they are seen to have a more well-rounded education that includes writing and mathematics, which can be useful to the job.
While prior experience is not strictly required for work as an Administrative Assistant, many employers value prior work in the field. This is because many office professionals learn their major skills through on-the-job training, and a strong history of long-term work with other organizations can show reliability, responsibility and that you possess the skills you need. Starting as a secretary and working up through the ranks also shows increasing skill development and dedication.