So you’re looking to put your administrative, organizational and people skills to work as an administrative assistant? While there is no specific, set-in-stone path to a career as an administrative assistant, there are some things you can do to increase both your marketability and employability in this sought-after profession. Read on to learn what you need to know.
What is an Administrative Assistant?
Administrative assistants handle a number of different clerical and administrative tasks, ranging from scheduling appointments to organizing files. They can be found in all industries, including the corporate world, government entities, schools, hospitals, and legal and medical offices. They also work in a variety of capacities: some administrative assistants work for a single individual while others provide assistance to an entire department or office. While the majority of administrative assistants work in conventional office settings, the rise of digital technology has resulted in a new demand for virtual assistants who work remotely.
Administrative assistants are currently in demand, and will continue to be so in the years ahead. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings will grow by 12 percent in the years between 20212 and 2022. An increase in job openings due to the retirement “coming of age” of the Baby Boomer generation is also expected to play a factor. And while technology may stand in for some duties traditionally handled by administrative assistants, there’s no substitute for the personal element — one more reason why the job market for these professionals is expected to remain strong.
Another benefit of working as an administrative assistant? There is plenty of room for advancement. If you are successful in your career, you can advance to higher level administrative positions, such as executive administrative assistant and office manager. The 2012 median pay for an administrative assistant — also sometimes called a secretary — is $35,330 or $16.99 hourly. As you develop more skills and take on new responsibilities, your earning potential will increase.
How Do You Become an Administrative Assistant?
Entry-level administrative assistants typically require a bachelor’s degree along with a basic grasp of office, computer and English grammar skills. Some candidates choose to enhance their skills by taking courses online or at local community colleges. Additionally, many temp agencies offer formal training in these requisite skills. While not required, qualifications such as the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certificate can help round out your resume.
Other training may be procured on the job depending on the specific needs and procedures of the office. If you are working in a more specialized industry — such as medicine or law, for example — the training may be more intensive.
In addition to hard skills, employees are also looking for a specific group of soft skills, including attention to detail, integrity, and the ability to interact well with others. Candidates with a combination of these hard and soft skills will likely enjoy the best job prospects.
How To Find an Administrative Assistant Job
Gone are the days when you’d have to spend hours scouring the paper looking for the perfect administrative assistant job. In fact, there are a number of different channels today through which to find work.
Job boards have altered the landscape for modern-day job hunters for whom the search is now a matter of inputting some keywords and gaining access to immediate results. Others seeking employment as administrative assistants choose to post their resumes online for potential employers to find.
Social networking is another new and beneficial way to job hunt. If you let your network of friends, family, and fellow community members know you are looking, you can extend your reach while increasing the odds of finding a fit in terms of company culture.
The decision to become an administrative assistant is a promising one: according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly four million jobs for administrative assistants. Sign up for our handy job match alert service to get a jump start on finding the perfect one.