Career Advancement for Administrative Assistants

Julie Shenkman
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Being an administrative assistant is a crucial role at many companies, from small businesses up to huge companies that make billions of dollars in revenue. Opportunities for career advancement in the field abound, especially if you have the skills, knowledge and expertise to take your position to the next level.

Serving as administrative assistant no longer involves just answering phones, getting coffee, filing papers and scheduling meetings. You must know how to use various types of technology to make the office more efficient. Keep up with the latest news regarding your company's industry — whether you work for a retailer, manufacturer or health care provider — and get to know everyone you interact with on a daily basis to get a better feel for the office. In short, you have to know at least a little bit about a whole lot of stuff.

With this in mind, there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement as an administrative assistant. How you choose to propel your career forward, however, is up to you. Consider the following three options.

1. Find a Set Ladder

Some companies have a set corporate ladder for their administrative professionals. After making it past the initial few steps, you may earn a spot as an executive assistant with a VP or department chief prior to reaching the coveted role of senior executive assistant as the top rung of a company's career ladder.

Each step up the ladder leads to higher pay, more responsibilities and more clout within the company. Your firm may even have a managerial-type admin job where you manage all of the other administrative pros in the office.

2. Make Your Own Path

Another option is blazing your own career path to help further yourself as an administrative assistant. At some point, you might feel as if you know your role well in the department where you work. The only thing stopping you from advancing in your career lies in your lack of training, education or skills. Take the reigns of your career path and earn a degree, upgrade your skills and hop onto a completely different career track.

3. Freelance

Thanks to mobile technology, such as laptop computers, Wi-Fi connections and smartphones, an administrative assistant no longer has to work in a physical office to perform administrative work. Instead, try a career as a virtual assistant. Tout your unique skills to companies that hire you, such as fluency in multiple languages and knowing top-of-the-line computer programs. Create an office space in your home so you can save virtual files in a cloud-based computer system, make phone calls with your cellphone, schedule that Skype meeting and fax important documents to clients.

How far you want to go as an administrative assistant starts with your skills, drive and passion for the job. If you want to remain loyal to your two-person law firm for 30 years, you have valid reasons for doing so. However, you must remember that you have plenty of opportunities if the right one comes knocking.

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