What does an administrative secretary do?

A senior administrative secretary is usually assigned to an executive or department, and may be in charge of lower-level workers such as receptionists or part-time assistants. This position is usually a direct report to the department or individual. An administrative secretary will need to be computer literate, have organizational and personal skills, and be able to handle meeting tasks, research, and travel arrangements. The position usually demands a higher salary, especially if the work is specialized.

Assistants may perform general tasks such as answering company phones, correspondence, filing, and handling mail, but the administrative secretary is usually responsible only for department or executive support. Some departments that use specialized assistants include human resources, accounting, and legal. The secretary may act as a liaison between the department or executive and the rest of the office, and may also deal directly with clients.

Requirements for an administrative secretary position include the ability to use all office technology, such as computers with various programs and sometimes a dictation device. Many employers now seek applicants with a degree, but prior experience may be considered unless the job is highly specialized. Law clerks, for example, will need specific training to work with court documents. Medical secretaries must know billing and coding along with medical terminology.

Administrative secretaries will often be asked to set up meetings and conference calls between the boss, other executives and clients, and to plan events for the office or visitors. The ability to find information online and maintain contacts with suppliers is helpful, as is experience in organizing travel. In human resources and accounting, the ability to maintain confidentiality is important when it comes to private employee records and financial information.

The incumbent of this position may be asked to assist with the training and supervision of lower level employees. With companies increasingly combining responsibilities, an administrative secretary can gain experience managing timekeeping, scheduling, and delegation. This will help advance within a company to a position in administration or office management. Candidates for an office manager job will need excellent people skills, as well as knowledge of company policies and disciplinary measures.

For those seeking a career as an administrative secretary, business courses at a community college or university can provide instruction in computer software, math, recordkeeping, and communications. Professional certification is available to general assistants and those wishing to enter the legal and medical field. In many cases, a degree or certificate may require a higher salary. Accounting and human resources programs will benefit job seekers who are interested in those areas of administrative work.

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