Looking to become an administrative assistant? It can be a challenging but worthwhile line of work. Not to mention incredibly versatile. As an administrative assistant you could be working for a legal firm, a fortune 500 company, a hospital, a farm, NASA, and even from home (yes!). I mean really, the list goes on and on. Most businesses and even some individuals who hold hectic schedules need a some help doing operational tasks on a day-to-day basis. Lucky for them, you’ll be ready to meet their expectations after reading this list of standard administrative assistant duties.
What Skills Do I Need?
For starters, you’re going to need to be a fairly organized person. This isn’t to say if you’re not organized in your personal life that you can’t adopt organization skills in your professional life – it just may be a bit of a learning curve. If you’re more towards the not-so-organized type maybe this computer organization course will help you refresh your computer skills and get organized. You’ll also need to be good at, or willing to learn, multi-tasking. Since you’re the one in charge of making the business run smoothly, you’re going to have to juggle a lot of different tasks at once. A lot of the admin assistant duties require interacting with people, most of which are going to be customers of your employer. Often times you will be the first person, or only person, a customer may talk to that represents the company. Needless to say maintaining a professional and collected demeanor is going to be key.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, you need to be computer savvy. If you type at 10 WPM (words per minute) and don’t know what Microsoft Excel is, than you may want to reconsider pursuing this kind of job – or get studying! Here’s a quick tutorial on the computer essentials you’ll need. This is by no means meant to be a deterrent but just a reality check so you know what you’re getting into. If you think you have what it takes (or you’re willing to give it you all and get what it takes) then more power to you. Let’s go over what you can expect your administrative assistant duties to look like.
The Daily Grind
You show up to work a few minutes early and see a couple notes on your desk from the bossman. You have to call a customer and explain why the product they ordered was late, then make an appointment for your boss to meet with the CEO of a potential partner company, you need to finish filing all the records you started yesterday and input all the data into the customer relationship management system. This of course is all to be done before noon. While you complete these additions to your agenda, you’ll need to maintain order and do your everyday tasks. These can include things like answering the phone, dealing with customers, keeping track of appointments, creating spreadsheets, disseminating information via email or snailmail, tracking inventory and so on. Sounds a little crazy and busy, but that’s the life of an administrative assistant. Everyday could bring you something new and depending on your skill sets, your boss could have you managing campaigns, leading company tours, or other atypical administrative assistant jobs, too.
To simplify, the most basic tasks an administrative assistant will be expected to do are:
Data entry and typing. This is pretty self-explanatory but you’ll probably be inputting data using Word, or Excel or another program. You’ll be typing all day everyday.
Disseminating information. You will be writing mass emails, sending snail mail and internal memos. This requires having good knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and spelling coupled with the ability to aptly communicate.
Generating reports. Chances are this will be a part of your daily to-do list. Most companies want to keep a close eye on how the heart of the business is doing. What are the daily sales? How many customers did we lose this month? How many materials did we purchase this quarter? A lot of this data may be in your hands. You’ll have to input it into a data sorting system and create reports that are easy to analyze and understand for those who need do the assessing. This sound a little scary? Don’t let it. Learn all about Excel (the most popular data sorting software) online in this tutorial.
Ordering equipment and managing inventory. All those fun office supplies that you’re going to be using didn’t get there by accident. Someone before you had to take note of what was in stock
Answering phones. This is definitely a part of your job description. Depending on what kind of business you are an admin for, you’ll be answering the phone a lot. On the other line could be customers, investors, complainers, the media, telemarketers, etc. You have to be ready to direct the phone call to the appropriate party, take messages and answer all the questions the caller might have.
Scheduling meetings. You’ll most likely be in charge of scheduling meetings for people within the company, different departments and for customers coming in to meet with company representatives. This requires organization as you don’t want to double-book anybody!
Managing databases. A lot of companies will use customer relationship management (CRM) software for this. Some will be using content mangement systems (CMS). CRM’s are systems that help a business (and you) keep track of all the customers, incoming leads, potential partners, etc. A CMS will make it easier to manage all of the content the company has. This is especially useful for blogging platforms and for online businesses.
This list isn’t exhaustive as your actual job description will be determined by the type of industry you’re in, the business itself and the needs and wants of your employer. This is a job that is limitless when it comes to opportunities and can provide you with a chance to rise up within the company if you’re interested.