Administrative assistants today are starting to have more functions and assume many responsibilities that used to be exclusively for managers and company executives.
They provide overall administrative support to managers doing clerical and receptionist work. In some companies, they may take the responsibilities of an executive secretary although secretaries may have more detailed daily jobs. This job is best suited for those who have extensive experience and knowledge about computer programs and software applications.
Nature of Work
Administrative assistants usually work on long-term projects for their employers. They answer telephones, meet and greet visitors and clients. They do clerical duties including filing, mailing, faxing and photocopying. They keep hard copies of documents as well as maintain electronic filing system using software. Administrative assistants also coordinate and keep records of company credit cards, parking, cell phones and office space rent. They coordinate conferences and staff meetings. They prepare reports, attend meetings, and research for facts and figures from the Internet to be included in their reports. In preparing reports, they may be required to create graphs and illustrations for presentation to other executives or clients. They may also be tasked write and edit their own reports. Some administrative assistants work as legal or medical secretaries. In these cases, they perform specialized jobs that require expertise in technical terminology and methodology. Working under the supervision of a lawyer or a paralegal, legal administrative assistants usually prepare summonses, motions, complaints, subpoenas and other related correspondences. They may also need to assist with legal research, reviewing legal journals, verifying citations and quotes needed in legal briefs. Medical administrative assistants or secretaries on the other hand do dictation transcription and preparation of correspondence; provide assistance to medical scientists or physicians in preparing reports, articles and speeches. They may also be tasked to record medical histories and arrange hospitalization for patients. Administrative assistants or secretaries may also work for engineers or scientists, helping them prepare reports and correspondence as well as research and edit documents and materials to be included in scientific papers.
Administrative assistants must know computer programs such as word processors, database management, spreadsheets, and project management, and presentation software. They should have excellent written and verbal communications skills. For entry level positions, some companies accept high school graduates who possess basic office skills. For those who want to be legal or medical secretaries or administrative assistants, they should have specialized training on their particular field. More skills can be acquired through on the job training. Most companies today prefer administrative assistants with college degree related to the industry or business of the employer.