Career Development

What Does an Administrative Assistant Do?

Find out what an administrative assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an administrative assistant.

Administrative assistants are the glue that holds organizations together. They provide critical support to their company’s leadership, ensuring that everything from day-to-day operations to long-term planning runs smoothly. Administrative assistants may work with a wide range of departments within an organization, including human resources, accounting, marketing, sales, and product development.

Administrative assistants commonly perform a variety of different tasks in support of their organization’s goals. These might include scheduling meetings and appointments, creating presentations and documents, answering phones, taking dictation, managing email communications, and much more. They may also be responsible for maintaining records and databases related to their organization’s activities.

Administrative Assistant Job Duties

Administrative assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing clerical support such as typing letters or transcribing dictation
  • Processing payments for bills or other transactions such as payroll deductions for insurance premiums or government taxes
  • Greeting visitors and answering phones to direct calls appropriately
  • Recording information in an organized manner so that it can be easily retrieved by others in the future
  • Organizing files on computer using database software such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes
  • Searching for information in company databases or the internet to answer questions or resolve problems
  • Writing reports on research findings or other topics based on information gathered from interviews, surveys, and other sources
  • Preparing agendas and materials for meetings and conferences, including arranging travel arrangements and maintaining records of attendees
  • Coordinating office activities such as ordering supplies, arranging catering services at events, or setting up conference rooms
  • Interacting with clients to resolve issues or answer questions regarding services rendered by the company

Administrative Assistant Salary & Outlook

Administrative assistant salaries are affected by years of administrative experience and length of time in a particular position. Salaries can also vary depending on the geographic location of the job, the company size, and the industry the company is in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,500 ($18.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)

The employment of administrative assistants is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment growth for administrative assistants has slowed because many companies have centralized their support services, such as human resources and payroll, which reduces the need for these workers in individual offices. In addition, some companies are automating administrative tasks, such as processing invoices or benefits requests, which also limits job growth.

Related: In-Depth Administrative Assistant Salary Guide

Administrative Assistant Job Requirements

Administrative assistants typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Many organizations specify the minimum educational requirement for an administrative assistant as a high school diploma or GED. Some organizations prefer to hire candidates who also have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or a related field. Some of the most common majors for this role include business administration, office administration and organizational management. An aspiring administrative assistant can also benefit from courses in computer skills, such as word processing, spreadsheet and database management.

Training & Experience: Most administrative assistants learn the specific skills and technologies related to their role while on the job. Training may last for a few weeks to a month, depending on the company and role. Training often includes shadowing current administrative assistants or office managers, learning the specific processes and procedures related to the role and practicing those skills under supervision until they are comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not required for an administrative assistant role, they can help you impress potential employers and grow your career.

Administrative Assistant Skills

Administrative assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Traffic control: Administrative assistants may be responsible for managing the flow of people in an office. This may include greeting people at the door, directing visitors to the correct person or room and keeping hallways clear. Administrative assistants may also be responsible for managing conference rooms and may need to direct people to the correct room and close the room when not in use.

Information technology: Administrative assistants may be responsible for managing calendars, sending emails and creating presentations. Knowing how to use various software programs is an important skill for an assistant.

Time management: Time management is the ability to manage your schedule and the schedules of others. Administrative assistants often manage the schedules of their managers and other employees, so it’s important to be able to create and adhere to schedules that are effective and efficient. You may also be responsible for arranging meetings, conference calls and other events, so it’s important to be able to manage your time effectively.

Data entry: Data entry is the ability to type quickly and accurately. Administrative assistants may be required to enter data into a spreadsheet or database, so it’s important to be able to type quickly and accurately.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information through speech or writing. Administrative assistants communicate with many people, including their supervisors, other assistants, clients and the general public. Effective communication is an essential skill for an administrative assistant.

Administrative Assistant Work Environment

Administrative assistants work in a variety of settings, including corporate offices, government agencies, medical and legal offices, schools, and other organizations. They typically work during regular business hours, although they may occasionally need to work evenings or weekends to complete special projects. Administrative assistants typically work in well-lit and ventilated areas. They may sit for long periods of time, and they often use computers and other office equipment. Although most administrative assistants work independently, they may occasionally need to interact with co-workers, clients, or customers.

Administrative Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how administrative assistants work. Administrative assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Administrative Professionals Will Face Increased Competition for Their Roles

The administrative assistant role is becoming increasingly competitive as more businesses move towards a remote workforce.

As more businesses adopt telecommuting and other remote work policies, the need for administrative assistants will decrease. This is because these roles can often be filled by employees who are located in other parts of the country or world.

Administrative assistants who want to be successful in the future will need to develop skills that allow them to work remotely. This may include learning how to use online tools such as video conferencing and collaboration software.

AI and Automation Will Affect Administrative Jobs

The administrative field is changing rapidly due to the increasing use of AI and automation. As these technologies become more widespread, administrative assistants will need to learn new skills to stay competitive.

One of the most important skills that administrative assistants will need to learn is how to use AI and automation to streamline their work. This includes learning how to use software that can automate tasks, such as email management and calendar scheduling. In addition, administrative assistants will need to be comfortable working with AI assistants, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo.

More Focus on Cultural Fit

As businesses become more globalized, the need for employees who are culturally fit becomes increasingly important. This is because a lack of cultural fit can lead to misunderstandings and communication problems in the workplace.

Administrative assistants are in a unique position to capitalize on this trend, as they are often the first point of contact for new employees. By developing cultural fit skills, administrative assistants can help businesses to find the right employees for the job and create a more harmonious workplace.

How to Become an Administrative Assistant

An Administrative Assistant career path can go in many exciting directions, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. This variable career path exists in part because of an Administrative Assistant’s extensive list of responsibilities, which can include anything and everything.

When preparing for this career, its important to beef up your skills as they are a form of currency in the working world. Companies are looking for resource staff that has an impact on the business’s productivity. A skilled person has more chances of employment as compared to an unskilled one. Anyone who adapts to the constantly changing business landscape will have a bright future.

Once you’ve established a foothold on the administrative career path, you can start to build trust by taking on more responsibility, performing each administrative task well, and earning the trust of your immediate supervisors.

Related: How to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

An administrative assistant can be promoted to a variety of positions within an organization. Some of these positions may include office manager, executive assistant, or even a position in human resources. The most common position that an administrative assistant is promoted to is an administrative coordinator. In order to be promoted to any of these positions, an administrative assistant must have a strong work ethic, be highly organized, and have excellent communication skills.

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