Administrative Assistants keep offices running smoothly by performing several clerical tasks, such as filing documents, writing reports, organizing meetings, and coordinating any other administrative operations. In some cases, especially in smaller companies, Administrative Assistants may also take care of Human Resources tasks, in areas such as bookkeeping, recruitment, and event planning.
Administrative Assistants can be employed in most private or public institutions, as administrative work is necessary in almost every industry.
The main difference between Administrative Assistants and Executive Assistants is the person or group of people to whom they report. Executive Assistants provide personalized assistance to one specific individual, while Administrative Assistants work for a whole team, department, or office. Of course, their workload and responsibilities will vary accordingly. Administrative Assistants’ tasks are usually more clerical-oriented and less self-driven than the ones carried out by Executive Assistants. The Administrative Assistant’s work also benefits all business operations, rather than solely contributing to the executives’ efforts.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Administrative Assistants are required to complete.
- Greeting and directing visitors.
- Handling all incoming and outgoing mail, calls, emails, and faxes:
- Continuously monitoring, responding to and forwarding incoming emails;
- coordinating messenger and courier service with preferred vendors;
- receiving, sorting, and distributing daily incoming mail to staff;
- being the liaison between senior representatives and third parties (e.g. visitors, clients, vendors, etc.); and
- tracking and returning client submittals (e.g. drawings and reports).
- Creating, maintaining, and reviewing office documents, such as invoices, reports, memos, and other administrative records:
- Conducting research and generating reports by collecting data from various tools and/or consolidating it into reports;
- typing, proofreading, and distributing general correspondence; and
- updating and maintaining existing procedures and guides, as well as phone lists, mailing lists, and other contact lists.
- Filing and organizing paper and electronic documents, such as emails, invoices, reports, and other administrative records:
- Converting paper documents to digital using a scanner; and
- assisting with data entry and database maintenance.
- Scheduling and coordinating professional meetings, interviews, and appointments, among others:
- Maintaining a calendar and coordinating the workflow and meetings;
- preparing meeting agendas as to maximize time efficiency;
- booking conference rooms and other meeting locations;
- securing venues and coordinating catering and other logistics when planning bigger events;
- writing down and summarizing what was discussed during the meeting and distributing a recap to all parties involved; and
- handling travel arrangements for company executives.
- Promoting work development by offering staff all the necessary information regarding courses and training.
- Interacting with customers and third parties, keeping track of their files, and addressing their complaints and requests in a timely manner:
- Performing follow-up and regular maintenance of client relationships;
- preparing and delivering documents to clients requesting project information and follow-up; and
- ensuring current projects are completed within deadlines.
- Maintaining office coordination and resolving any issues and inquiries:
- Arranging for repair and maintenance of office equipment;
- ordering missing supplies and maintaining inventory, replacing materials and equipment as needed or instructed; and
- completing expense reports.
- Ensuring work area is clean and organized.
- Ensuring the office runs smoothly.
- Filing and organizing paper and electronic documents, such as emails, invoices, and other administrative records.
- Preparing reports and daily logs.
- Handling all incoming and outgoing mail, calls, emails, and faxes.
- Creating and distributing documents.
- Managing customer inquiries.
- Performing searches and providing information.
- Scheduling meetings.
The average Administrative Assistant salary in USA is $34,390 per year or $18 per hour. This is around 1.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $24,000 while most experienced workers make up to $48,000. These results are based on 23,401 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both in writing and verbally, in order to build trust and cultivate relationships with clients, coworkers, and executives;
- displaying impeccable and professional phone demeanor;
- displaying strong customer service skills in order to anticipate others’ needs and handle their requests in a proactive, diplomatic, and tactful manner; and
- being a demonstrated team player.
- Exceptional organizational and time management skills:
- Prioritizing and planning work activities as to use time efficiently while managing a high volume, diverse workload; and
- multitasking; being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Analytical and problem-solving skills:
- Effectively reading and interpreting information; and
- identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner using creativity and good judgement.
- Great attention to detail and high levels of thoroughness:
- Ensuring standard specifications are met, including high-level proofreading; and
- staying focused during highly repetitive tasks.
- Administrative skills:
- Demonstrated proficiency in computer word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications;
- demonstrated ability to type at a speed rate of 40 to 60 words per minute; and
- being able to operate basic office equipment, such as copiers and printers.
- High levels of honesty, discretion, and integrity:
- Being trustworthy enough to handle sensitive/confidential information.
- High levels of initiative, flexibility and responsiveness:
- Being able to learn and adapt quickly, while facing continuously changing demands;
- being able to work in a stressful environment; and
- working toward improving current organizational processes as to make them more efficient and less time-consuming.
- Exceptionally resourceful with an extensive knowledge of standard office practices, procedures, and equipment.
It’s especially important for Administrative Assistants to pay attention to how they come across. Understandably, outstanding customer service skills are essential to this job, but a successful candidate must also remain polite at all times, continuously smiling and conveying a positive, can-do attitude. Project management skills and experience in sales and retention are also considered definite assets, as well as basic bookkeeping, data entry, and record-keeping skills.
The minimal educational requirement for the Administrative Assistant position is a high school diploma. However, more and more employers now seek candidates who have completed post-secondary courses or have earned a higher academic degree, such as a college or university degree in Administration, Business, or Secretarial Studies. Moreover, any higher level of education is often recognized as experience and will eventually allow candidates to apply for higher positions, especially for those who wish to pursue their career as Executive Assistants. Administrative Assistants may also choose to specialize in the Legal and Medical fields, in which case they will also need to learn the terminology and tasks specific to these fields.
Although not mandatory, professionals in this field can also get certified which can help them highlight their skills and experience. The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential. Furthermore, Legal Administrative Assistants have the option of being certified as an Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) or a Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) by the National Association for Legal Secretaries (NALS), as well as getting the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist credential (CLSS), which is granted by Legal Secretaries International.
Most Administrative Assistant positions require between 2 and 3 years of experience providing administrative and secretarial services, while some may require up to 5 years. Having a basic knowledge of the sector in which the applicant wants to work is always a must.