If the tippity tap of a computer keyboard is music to your ears, and you love to manage other folks’ calendars, you could be a future administrative assistant. Administrative assistants (or admins) work in a lot of different places: corporations, government agencies, legal and medical offices, schools, hospitals, you name it.
When you’re an administrative assistant, you manage someone else’s (typically a business executive’s) day. You’ll coordinate their appointments, make travel arrangements, create expense reports, take messages and send emails for them.
You should be a self-starter with very high attention to detail and not easily distracted by things like instant messenger or Facebook… unless managing a social media account is also part of your job, of course! Since you’ll be communicating for an executive, it’s important to have great grammar and spelling, too.
We’re looking for a master multitasker with excellent communication skills and an upbeat personality. Candidates will:
Manage common office tasks
Provide polite and professional assistance via phone, mail and email
Make reservations and travel arrangements
Be a proficient, helpful and positive presence in the workplace
Have top-notch problem-solving skills
To be successful as an administrative assistant, you should be professional, polite and attentive while also being accurate and creative. You should always be prepared and responsive, willing to meet each challenge directly. You must be comfortable with computers, general office tasks and a great communicator (written and verbal).
Typical duties include:
Common office tasks, such as filing, building presentations and reports, setting up meetings and ordering office supplies
Managing executive team’s meeting schedules
Making travel arrangements, such as booking flights, rental vehicles and hotel and restaurant reservations
Screening phone calls and routing callers
Using a computer to generate reports, transcribe meeting minutes, create presentations and conduct research
Greeting and assisting visitors
Maintaining professional communication via phone, email and mail
Anticipating the executive team’s needs to ensure a seamless and positive experience
Minimum of high school education or GED (Associate degree preferred)
Prior administrative assistant experience
Excellent computer skills, especially typing
Expert Microsoft Office skills (Word, Excel, Outlook)
Basic accounting knowledge
Operate common office equipment (computer, copier, etc.)
Exceptional attention to detail
Excellent grammar and spelling
Proactive and great at problem solving
How much does an administrative assistant make?
People in entry-level office support roles usually make about $13 an hour. The average hourly pay for most higher-level administrative assistant roles is around $20 an hour, but it varies by experience and location. A rock star admin to a CEO can make more than $40 an hour.
What are the education requirements?
At the bare minimum, you’ll need a high school diploma or GED and some basic office skills to get in the door for an entry-level position. An associate or bachelor’s degree in business management, marketing, etc. can get you a higher salary right off the bat. A degree related to the business of the company you’re applying to could be an even better “in.” Medical and legal admins will need additional, very specialized training.
Career paths for administrative assistants
Administrative assistants don’t really have a straightforward career path to follow. Entry level admins can move into more advanced roles with increased responsibilities, such as office manager. If you make a strong effort to learn about how the company does business and build a killer skill set you could be promoted to admin positions with more seniority. You might even score a department manager role.
The future of administrative assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities for admins are predicted to decline 5% from 2016-26. On the upside, medical administrative assistant jobs are projected to grow 22%, so that additional training could quickly pay for itself.