If you enjoy working with people and being an important part of a team then becoming an Administrative Assistant might be the ideal job for you.
In a nutshell: the post holder provides administrative and clerical assistance to a team or person in order to complete certain tasks and projects efficiently and on time.
So… what does that mean, exactly?
Let’s find out…
Main duties, responsibilities and day to day activities
An Administrative Assistant’s duties can be divided into two parts; general and specific.
The general duties are applicable to the majority of admin roles regardless of the nature of the organisation or department one is working in.
General day-to-day activities:
Be the first point of contact for staff and customers
Dealing with general enquiries from members, staff and third parties
Answering phone calls and taking messages
Printing, photocopying, faxing and scanning documents
Arranging and booking meetings, interviews, events other similar activities
Taking minutes during meetings
Provide administrative support to team members and senior staff
Maintaining administrative or information systems (e.g. databases, spreadsheets, etc)
Collecting, opening and accordingly distributing post
Typing and Data Entry
Managing the storage, filing and data security of documents
Contacting stakeholders, customers and/or clients
Purchasing and maintaining stationary and office supplies
Dealing with customer complaints and concerns
Covering reception (as and when required)
Assisting with the implementation of company procedures
Different types of Jobs
The second type of duties of an Administrative Assistant are specific in nature which dependent entirely on the organisation or department one works in.
Office: this is the typical type of this role and it involves providing day-to-day administrative and clerical support to run a particular office or small organisation (as outlined in the tasks listed above).
Human Resources (HR): responsible for providing administrative and clerical support to the Department of Human Resources. The job holder will be mainly expected to support the HR department in the recruitment and hiring process; drafting vacancies, sending out recruitment packs, placing ads, screening applicants, typing offer letters, short listing and arranging interviews, contacting applications, etc. Additionally, one will be required to maintain employee details on the system, prepare presentations and briefings, arrange staff training sessions, monitor employee performance appraisals and giving advice on employment legislation.
Academic: responsible for interaction between staff, students, faculty and visitors of the academic departments. The job holder will be required to support the various academic operations such as arranging examinations, liaising with academics and students, tracking student performance, creating presentations for research projects, assistant with research grants, helping with departmental budget and expenditure documentation, etc.
Top 5 Important Skills:
Communication Skills: Excellent oral and written communication skills are an absolute must for this position. You will be in constant communication with dozens of people on a daily basis, be it face-to-face, over the phone or through e-mail. Having a polite, courteous and professional approach towards a wide range of people is an essential part of this job.
IT Skills: An Admin Assistant will be spending most of his/ her time behind a computer writing letters, updating databases and spreadsheets, preparing presentations, e-filing, etc. Being IT literate is a must and so is having an expert understanding of Microsoft Office (particularly Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
Organisational Skills: It is expected (well, guaranteed) that you will be dealing with multiple people, projects, and priorities at the same time. Are you organised enough to deal with these situations? Can you multi-task? How about managing your more effectively to get the job done?
Customer Service Skills: The truth is that any job involves some level of “customer service”, but this is particularly true for an Admin Assistant. Not only will you be providing administrative support and assistance to your direct line manager but you will also need to have a professional “customer service”-approach when dealing with the various customers, internal departmental teams and external stakeholders.
Attention to detail: An Administrative Assistant will always be dealing with the following three things; data, data and more data. Getting this critical aspect of your job wrong, e.g. through typos, spelling mistakes and/or omissions, can have serious consequences for the organisation you are working in and, not to mention, to your job!
Qualifications and Entry Requirements
The entry requirements of this position vary between employers. The following are some desirable qualifications that will definitely make your application stand out from the crowd:
Degree (particularly in business-related subject)
NVQ in Business Administration
NVQ in Customer Service
European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Note: please be aware that some employers tend to give prospective employees IT, Literacy, Numeracy and tests before they are shortlisted for an interview.
The truth is that Administrative Assistants are in high demand throughout the country. Almost every organisation is in need of admin staff to support the smooth-running of the company.
Whenever you search for this job make sure you also search for related job titles such as “Administrator”, “Admin”, “Office Assistant” and “Project Assistant.” This will increase the chances of you finding the job quicker than relying on a single job title.
Let’s face it; this is probably the most important section of this article!
The salary for this job role typically starts somewhere between £16.000 to £21.000.
The salary of a position depends on a number of factors such as on the size and nature of the company, the applicant’s previous experience and the specific requirements of the job role.
Please refer to the job vacancy for the exact details on pay and benefits.
Career prospects and job progression
Administrative Assistants have a great flexibility when it comes to job progression due to the non-specific and broad-ranging nature of their jobs. Here are some examples:
Personal Assistant (PA)
When is this job role NOT suitable for you?
It is unlikely that, at this moment in time, this job is the dream job for you if;
You are the “quite type” who does not like to engage or talk to people all the time
You are not well organised
You have telephone phobia (a fear of making or taking phone calls)
You are not computer literate
Administrative Assistants are vital members of a team who provide administrative support to a team to help the smooth running of projects or an office.
This admin position is an ideal job for a person who is good with people and who enjoys the challenge of working on multiple tasks on tight deadlines.
Written by Sobhan Mohmand Sobhan is a qualified Careers Advisor and Professional CV Writer with over 10 years of experience in helping job seekers get a job. He is a Member of the Careers Development Institute (CDI) and is listed on the official UK Register of Career Development Professionals. He holds a Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development (QCF).
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