Office assistants often do clerical work in an office, but their duties may vary depending on the size and type of employer. They may perform a variety of administrative tasks, from answering phones and greeting clients to arranging travel and preparing reports.
Office assistants may use basic software, such as word processors, spreadsheets, and database management. They may also use specialized software, depending on the type of business in which they are employed.
Office assistants may work with a variety of people, from co-workers to clients and vendors.
Office Assistant Job Duties
Office assistants can be responsible for a wide range of duties, including:
- Providing assistance to employees in the office, including administrative tasks such as typing, filing, and copying documents
- Managing office supplies and ordering new supplies as necessary to ensure inventory levels are appropriate
- Performing general accounting duties by inputting data into the company’s accounting system or assisting with financial record keeping
- Scheduling appointments, travel arrangements, and other tasks for staff members
- Screening and prioritizing incoming calls and emails to route them to the appropriate people within the company
- Performing other tasks on behalf of management as needed or requested
Office assistants help keep the gears turning in any company. They handle all sorts of tasks that allow the company to function smoothly.
Office Assistant Salary & Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that, as of May 2020, the median annual wage for office assistants is $40,990. Those earning higher wages tend to work for state and local government agencies, and the highest 10% of earners of the profession are bringing home more than $67,510.
Job opportunities for office assistants will be limited over the next decade. This is due to the increasing use of technology and the growing use of part-time, contract and temporary employees.
Office Assistant Job Requirements
The requirements for office assistants are as follows:
Education: Most employers require that their office assistants have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer applicants with a two-year associate degree in business administration, human resources, or administrative assistance.
Training: On-the-job training is the most common approach. Supervisors and mentors work with the new employee every day to show them how to do their job. This training is usually for an informal period of time.
Certification: The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers a certification program for administrative professionals. This program is intended to help employees gain specific knowledge of the field and to help employers find employees who are prepared for specific positions.
Office Assistant Skills
Office assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks that help the company run smoothly. Some skills needed to be an office assistant include:
Organizational skills: Office assistants must be able to organize files, correspondence, and other documents in a manner that makes them easy to find.
Skill with technology: The job requires individuals to have strong computer skills and knowledge of the most current software programs.
Communication skills: Office assistants must communicate well with clients, coworkers, and management.
Confidence: An office assistant must have confidence in his or her abilities and be willing to ask questions when necessary.
Attention to detail: An office assistant must pay attention to details in order to perform tasks such as data entry correctly.
Adaptability: Office environments can change quickly due to the needs of the business or changes within the company itself. An office assistant who is flexible and adaptable will be better equipped to handle these changes effectively.
Office Assistant Work Environment
Office assistants can work in a variety of environments, including corporate offices, hospitals, and government offices. Their work is typically indoors, and they may spend a considerable amount of time sitting.
The downside of this job is that it can be monotonous, and the work is not always stimulating. In addition, many office assistants work for a supervisor, and if the supervisor is difficult, this can be a negative aspect of the job.
Office Assistant Career Advancement
Those who excel in office assistant positions can advance to become office managers or executive assistants. Office assistants who work for small businesses generally become office managers when the business grows. In most cases, this is a natural transition.
Office managers have a lot of responsibility. They answer to the company’s owner and manage the day-to-day operations of the office. They may also oversee a staff of administrative assistants and assistants of other kinds. They have a hand in every aspect of the company.
If you are looking to move up at your company, the best way to do so is to take initiative and learn more about the business. When you are given larger administrative tasks, make sure to complete them accurately and on time. If you are able to handle things like organizing your company’s annual conference and represent your organization at a networking event, your manager will be impressed and you will become an indispensable asset to the company.
Office Assistant Trends
Here are three trends influencing how Office Assistants work. Office Assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
Greater Need for Global Knowledge
More companies are developing international markets, leading to an increased need for assistants who can support their executives in different regions.
As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for office assistants to have strong communication skills and an understanding of global issues, including the ways that culture can impact business practices.
Collaborative Office Spaces
A growing number of companies are choosing to adopt collaborative office spaces, which allow employees to work more productively in an open, team-oriented environment.
By providing shared workstations and collaborative spaces that foster teamwork, these spaces can improve communication among coworkers and enhance their ability to solve problems together.
Increase of Automation
In recent years, automation has become a common topic of discussion in the office assistant profession as artificial intelligence and machine learning tools have made it easier than ever for administrative professionals to streamline processes.
As automated solutions continue to develop and gain popularity, office assistants who want to stay competitive will need to focus on developing expertise in this area so that they can help their employers manage the effects of new technologies on their businesses.
How to Become an Office Assistant
1. Planning Your Career Path
If you are looking for a professional opportunity that will allow you to learn a great deal and develop your skill set, an office assistant position could be an excellent choice. In addition to hands-on experience in a variety of office environments, you will be able to interact with different types of professionals and observe the challenges they face on a daily basis. If you are able to gain the support of your employer, you may also be able to use your time as an office assistant as a stepping stone towards a more senior role.
2. Writing a Resume
The best resumes for office assistants demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively, pay attention to detail and prioritize tasks. To do this, you should talk about specific instances where you were able to show these skills.
In addition to describing these skills, it’s important that you also discuss your ability to work well with others. For example, you may want to include any positive reviews or awards you have received for good performance.
When describing past work experiences, focus on instances where you were able to make others feel comfortable or relate personally to them. This will help show that you are an effective communicator and can build relationships with coworkers and clients.
3. Applying for Jobs
In order to find a job as an office assistant, you should consider networking with local business owners and entrepreneurs. They may be able to provide you with leads on job openings or even just recommend you for a job. Also, consider searching for jobs on local job boards.
4. Ace the Interview
For an interview as an office assistant candidate, you will want to be sure that you are familiar with the business that you are applying for. Be prepared to ask questions about the company and show your interest in the position. You should also have a few ideas of what skills and qualities would make a good office assistant so that if asked, you can demonstrate those skills and explain how they apply to this job.
At the interview, it is important to dress professionally and make sure not to fidget or tap your fingers on the table while waiting for questions. It is also important not to interrupt when answering questions because it could appear as though you do not understand directions or instructions very well. Remembering key details about each question (and interviewer) is also a great way to demonstrate your listening skills during an interview.