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If you’ve seen Mad Men you know Christina Hendricks as the beautiful, feisty, and professional Joan Holloway. While she functions as an office manager and administrative assistant, Joan brings a sharp awareness of office politics, and the changing role of women in the workplace, to AMC’s marquee period drama. The office can’t operate without her, as no one else knows how the office is organized. An Administrative Assistant provides support to people within a business, but beyond that this role provides an amazing opportunity to get deeply involved with a company and key executives, leading to future advancement.
An administrative assistant provides support to people within a business by being the information and communication manager for an office. Furthermore administrative assistants are increasingly assuming responsibilities once reserved for managerial staff. Top executives need support to do their jobs effectively, and that’s where executive assistants come in: combining the organizational talents of an office manager, the record-keeping savvy of a financial whiz, and the professional foundation of a committed secretary into one flexible role. The great thing about being an Administrative Assistant is that it gives you the opportunity to get your foot in the door and then transition into something else within the company; it’s an opportunity for an entry level person to get in front of important people.
While a typical day for an administrative assistant varies, it generally includes some of these tasks:
On average in 2011 Administrative Assistants made $36,092 per year, while Executive Assistants earned $50,688. Qualified administrative assistants who broaden their knowledge of a company’s operations and enhance their skills may be promoted to senior or executive secretary or administrative assistant, clerical supervisor, or office manager ($23,347-$54,882/year). Administrative support experience also can lead to jobs such as instructor or sales representative. With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals.
Here are some hot spots for administrative assistants:
Employers of Executive Assistants increasingly are looking for candidates with a college degree. A degree related to the business or industry will provide you with an advantage in the application process. Although typically not required, testing and certification for proficiency in office skills are available through organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals; National Association of Legal Secretaries, Inc.; Legal Secretaries International, Inc; and International Virtual Assistants Association.
Furthermore, to be an Administrative Assistant you’ll need to have great writing, project management, customer service, and communication skills. Beyond that, discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, and the ability to work independently are especially important for higher-level administrative positions.
If being an administrative assistant still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
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