Administrative assistants at different offices perform subtly different tasks, but by and large they perform the same sorts of duties. The administrative assistant starting at the bottom can reach the top of their profession with hard work and dedication. The end result will be a rich and rewarding career.
Thousands of administrative assistants have embraced this career. It is straightforward to get into, and if you work hard and progress through the ranks, administrative careers can be rewarding work.
While it's a good idea to pursue post-secondary education, it's not always needed to get started as an admin.
"Some companies look for post-secondary education, some do not," observes Kathy Tenpas, division director of OfficeTeam in Minneapolis. "Mostly they're looking for admins who have certain skills."
Junior level admins perform such tasks as answering telephones, filing and making photocopies.
"To get started, you have to come out with strong Microsoft Office skills and general office skills," says Tenpas.
As they progress through the ranks of the company, more and more duties are allocated to the admin. They gain more experience and take on more responsibilities.
Admins may also find them- selves supporting more and more executives. At the top level, executive administrative assistants perform such duties as arranging travel and mana-ging an executive's calendar.
The ultimate admin position is the executive administrative assistant to the CEO.
"Executive admin to the CEO would be a position people aspire to," says Tenpas.
Moving On Up
In order to help progress through the admin ranks, Tenpas advises joining a professional organization - like the International Association of Administrative Assistants (IAAP).
"There are a number of good associations to get involved in," says Tenpas. "It helps them to stay in touch with other admins."
Technology has changed the work lives of admins. While typewriters used to be on every admin's desk, now computers and the Microsoft Office suite is key. As such, it is important to keep up on technological advances.
Another critical area that admins need to be mindful of is how well they fit in with the executive they support.
"When we're filling positions, the personality match with the person they support is very important," says Tenpas.
Climbing the professional ladder as an admin requires dedication and skill, but for those willing to do it, it can mean a rewarding career.
Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer from Blaine.