The role of an administrative assistant, or AA, is to keep the administrative functions of an office running smoothly. An administrative assistant performs traditional secretarial duties, such as filing and taking notes. In addition, administrative assistants are often expected to play a role in organizing projects and supervising others. The role of the administrative assistant is expanding rapidly as companies evolve to take advantage of new technologies.
The core duties of an administrative assistant include secretarial tasks. As a result, anyone who is seeking a career as an admin assistant should be able to type quickly and accurately and should know how to manage office filing systems. Administrative assistants also need strong communication skills, as their roles often include answering the phone, taking messages and replying to questions from the public. Administrative assistants need to be comfortable using office equipment, such as photocopiers, computers and printers.
The modern administrative assistant is often expected to take on additional responsibilities beyond her secretarial duties. She is often asked to coordinate the schedules of her co-workers, ensuring that they are able to attend all necessary meetings. As a result, working as an administrative assistant demands strong organizational skills.
As technology plays an ever-greater role in offices, the role of the administrative assistant is expanding to include many computer-based tasks. For example, the administrative assistant might be expected to filter her boss's emails, manage the company website, and even monitor and update the company's social media accounts. Social media channels are becoming increasingly important for marketing and customer relationship management, so it is essential that aspiring administrative assistants understand how they work. The modern admin assistant needs to stay up to date with technological trends in order to excel in this career.
Some administrative assistants choose to specialize, which means that they hone their skills to match the needs of a particular department, such as Human Resources or IT. Administrative assistants with specialized skills are most in demand in large organizations, whereas assistants working in small businesses are often expected to work with all company departments.
It is also possible for administrative assistants to specialize in a particular professional field, such as law or medicine. Administrative assistants working in medicine need specialized skills and knowledge, such as the ability to deal with insurance billing, whereas those working in the legal field may be expected to help prepare legal briefings.
The role of an administrative assistant demands certain skills, including strong communication and organizational skills. It is often possible to start working as an administrative assistant with just a high school degree and to get training on the job. Administrative assistants can work toward certifications that provide evidence of their skills and improve their chances of promotion.
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