What is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative Assistant Job Description

Sharon Burton and Nelda Shelton, in their text book, Office Procedures for the 21st Century (8th Edition) (See all Education Reference Books) describe the Administrative Assistant as the lifeblood of an organization. Their administrative assistant job description states that they are information and people managers and no company could be successful without them. This couldn’t be more true. For the Administrative Assistant who wants to get ahead in the 21st century though, basic office skills competency is no longer enough. It is now important that Administrative Assistants not only be technically savvy but also socially competent. Having the soft skills necessary to be able to communicate clearly and get along with their coworkers, colleagues, supervisors and clients is now more essential than ever.

Administrative Assistants are taking on more responsibility now than at any other time in history. Administrative Assistants today need strong communication skills to effectively collaborate with a variety of people and job functions, accomplishing tasks of moderate to high complexity and scope. Administrative Assistant may be required to keep their team’s business operations and activities organized and moving forward. They’ll need to be self-starters who can recognize where processes can be improved and who will take the initiative to improve them.

Administrative Assistants, particularly Executive Administrative Assistants, must also possess strong business judgment, professional etiquette and organizational, analytical and problem-solving skills to be able to interact with high-level executives both inside and outside of the company.

In addition to doing the more traditional tasks such as managing correspondence, office budgets and space planning, moderating office calendars and communication, creating and maintaining office policies and procedures and organization of office events, the Administrative Assistant must acquire a thorough knowledge of their company’s products and services to be able to effectively analyze and anticipate the needs of their managers, team members and their projects.

Administrative Assistant Duties

The job of the administrative assistant has evolved over time to be an exciting and challenging role that requires both technical and soft skills.  More common tasks include managing calendars, booking travel,  scheduling facilities and equipment, routine clerical and organizational tasks, organizing files, drafting messages, mentoring team members, scheduling appointments and managing social medial and general staff support.   You may also be required to manage small projects and help define new operational strategies. 

Administrative Assistant Job Description – Examples

The following is an example of two Administrative Assistant job descriptions posted on the Internet by companies seeking Administrative Assistants in 2013.

Sample Job Descriptions

Sample 1: As the administrative assistant you will be providing office support by administrative policies/procedures, and projects. You will be responsible for: Creating and revising systems and procedures by analyzing operating practices, record keeping systems, forms control, office layout, and budgetary and personnel requirements. You will resolve administrative problems by preparing reports, analyzing data, and identifying solutions. You will take responsibility for preventive maintenance of office equipment by calling for repairs; etc. You will maintain supplies inventory, anticipating needs; placing/expediting orders and verifying receipts. You will complete operational requirements by scheduling/assigning administrative projects and expediting work results.

Sample 2: As an Administrative Assistant, you’re at the heart of your team’s business operations and activities and the soul that keeps your team moving forward. You anticipate the needs of your managers and team members and help them stay focused on their projects by resolving operational and administrative issues before they arise. You move quickly with the changing environment and are up to date with the latest company products and services. You also use that knowledge to strategically support your team’s projects. In addition to being organized and analytical, you possess the strong business judgment and communication skills needed to interact with a variety of people and job functions.

Administrative Assistant Job Description – Skills

Here are some common Administrative Assistant skills required for many job postings by companies seeking Administrative Assistants. .

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office including Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Ability to type (keyboard) at 40 to 80 WPM depending on the position
  • Reporting Skills and Administrative Writing Skills
  • Ability to manage processes and analyze Information
  • Excellent organizational skills with high attention to detail
  • Professional, proactive and self-motivated with an ability to take direction
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Supply Management and Inventory Control
  • Excellent communicative and interpersonal skills needed along with a “Can Do” attitude!
  • Ability to multi-task and change direction quickly
  • Be a team-player and be able to work on own initiative in a dynamic and challenging environment
  • Ability to demonstrate initiative and honed organizational skills

Administrative Assistant Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Occupational Handbook the median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $39, 580 in 2021. This may vary significantly depending on the region of employment and the level of responsibility the job entails. The Bureau also states that overall employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to decline 8 percent from 2021 to 2031.

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