Secretaries and administrators play a supportive role in organizations where they are employed to undertake a variety of administrative tasks.
They are involved with the coordination and implementation of office procedures and frequently have responsibility for specific projects and tasks. In some cases, they may oversee and supervise the work of junior staff.
The role varies greatly depending on the sector, size of the employer and levels of responsibility. Most work involves both written and oral communication, word processing and typing, and requires relevant skills such as IT, organizational and presentation skills, as well as the ability to multi-task and work well under pressure.
- answering calls, taking messages and handling correspondence
- maintaining diaries and arranging appointments
- typing, preparing and collating reports
- organizing and servicing meetings (producing agendas and taking minutes)
- managing databases
- prioritizing workloads
- implementing new procedures and administrative systems
- liaising with relevant organizations and clients
- coordinating mail-shots and similar publicity tasks
- logging or processing bills or expenses
- acting as a receptionist and/or meeting and greeting clients
- if more senior, recruiting, training and supervising junior staff
Formal academic qualifications are not always needed, although some employers do require you to be educated. A small minority might ask for a degree, in which case a degree in a English, business, IT or information science, secretarial studies and public administration may be beneficial.
- strong organizational skills
- presentation skills and attention to detail
- the ability to plan your own work, work on your own initiative and meet deadlines
- the ability to manage pressure and conflicting demands and prioritize tasks and workload
- the ability to accept and understand instructions
- oral and written communication skills
- tact, discretion and respect for confidentiality
- a pleasant, confident telephone manner
- team working ability
- reliability and honesty
- project-management skills
- a foreign language – may be required in some roles.