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Administrative Assistant Job Description, Tasks and Duties
One of the primary duties that an administrative assistant job description includes is performing multiple office-support and administrative tasks, often for multiple supervisors within the same organization. Administrative assistants may also be known in various organizations as department assistants, administrative coordinators or administrative associates.
Office and administrative support tasks will vary from organization to organization, but administrative assistants typically have responsibility for the maintenance and smooth operation of office systems and workflows. Clerical and organizational tasks will often include maintaining filing systems (paper and electronic), records and databases, including data-entry, creation of spreadsheets, company documents and reports and completion of internal and external forms. Administrative assistants may also be responsible for maintenance and distribution of internal documents on company policies and procedures.
Support duties often also include extensive maintenance of correspondence and communication for other staff. These jobs may involve routing and distribution of paper and electronic mail, and sometimes drafting and sending replies to routine internal and external communication. Administrative Assistants will often be asked to correct spelling, grammar and usage in correspondence and other documents, as well as use fax machines, phone systems and computers to transmit and receive correspondence. Communication tasks may also include receptions and answering telephones and routing calls.
Take Over Work From Senior Staff
Administrative assistants will often also help to produce end edit presentations, reports and marketing materials for senior staff. This may also include performing research, securing supplies, texts and documents and assistance with final presentations or negotiations. So this must be included in an administrative assistants job description.
A variety of other duties may be included in this position. Administrative assistants may be asked to study and implement new workflow methods, change or maintain office layouts and manage supplies and stockrooms. Managing the maintenance of equipment, hiring repair-persons and purchasing and implementing new equipment are other common duties.
In general, an administrative assistant will be called upon to act as a liaison and problem-solver for multiple personnel and departments within a single organization and to help senior staff in all aspects of their duties and the overall operation of the organization. Administrative assistants are often also expected to participate in in-house training and employee development, and a variety of opportunities exist for educational advancement, training in new technologies and methods and participation in professional organizations and societies within the field.
Specializations Within the Field
With the increasing complexity of all aspects of the information society, many organizations have need for a variety of specializations within the overall field of administrative assistance. Executive administrative assistants typically assist the top executives and managers in an organization, and may supervise other administrative and clerical staff members. Duties typically include greater emphasis on research and preparation of reports and documents and arranging and participating in executive meetings. Assistants in law offices perform duties involving specialized knowledge of the legal profession, beyond the usual duties of administrative assistants, and may also help supervise paralegals, legal secretaries and other staff. Duties may involve paralegal skills such as legal research and preparation of documents.
Administrative assistants in schools, universities and public institutions are often charged with major communication duties, including outreach to parents, teachers and the broader community. Typical duties also include maintenance of confidential student records, organization of school and community events and participation in the organization’s various other activities.
Work From Home?
With the growth of the internet and virtual offices, virtual assistants who work from a home office are now more common. They perform all of the normal duties of an administrative assistant that can be taken on from home via company internet connections, email and other methods. Virtual administrative assistants may often work freelance for different clients in a variety of industries.
Industries and Work Environment
The millions of administrative assistants in the United States as of 2010 were primarily concentrated in the education, health and government sectors, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, administrative assistants are employed in almost every industry, generally working in standard office environments, with the exception of virtual assistants who may work from home.
Entry-level administrative assistant positions are generally open to high school graduates who posses basic office skills and computer literacy, although some other secretarial experience is usually preferable. Important computer skills include fluency with standard office application suites (word processors, spreadsheet programs and others), database software and internet and email communications. Office abilities crucial to the position include skill at data-entry, filing and records management and competence in English grammar and writing for drafting communications, memos and other documents clearly, accurately and in a professional tone. Experience with scheduling, clerical and receptionist duties can also be important. General organizational skill is important, as well as interpersonal skills including clear and polite communication and the ability to maintain a pleasant and cooperative attitude with coworkers and clients.
Training in office and computer skills beyond high school is available at vocational programs and community colleges, as well as in-house training from temporary employment agencies or the workplaces themselves. Specialized positions may require industry-specific training. Administrative assistants in legal and medical settings, for example, can seek industry-specific skills training from vocational schools and community colleges. Many opportunities also exist for certification in particular fields through on-the-job experience or taking approved courses. Certification may not be required for entry-level positions but can be crucial for application to higher-level or specialized assistant work.
Administrative assistants typically advance in their field through promotion to other positions within or outside their organization, usually positions with more administrative responsibility or with some specialized focus. Advancement may also occur via instruction on the job and in-house training. Possible positions for promotion include clerical supervisor, office manager or higher-level executive assistant.
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