Administrative AssistantJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Administrative assistants work in office environments and provide administrative support to ensure efficient operation of the office. Typically, administrative assistants handle phones, emails, set up meetings, distribute company correspondence, maintain files, track office inventory and order supplies when needed, and support managers in a variety of administrative duties. Administrative assistants must have strong office skills, such as typing, filing, copying, and more. They must be competent in relevant computer software.
Administrative assistants are required to communicate effectively via phone, email, or in person. They deliver reports and letters in a timely manner and ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information. Strong knowledge of office management systems and procedures, exceptional time management skills, and good multi-task skills are also required. Some administrative assistants work with customers or for multiple department managers. They may also be involved in assisting customers or consumers as well as providing reports for various department managers and staff.
Sample job description
We’re searching for an administrative assistant with a minimum of one year of experience to help manage our office. The administrative assistant supports the local operation and initiatives of [Your Company Name] with various duties and responsibilities. You may be tasked with new hire onboarding, physical and electronic filing of employee-specific documentation, plan travel for executives, answer inbound calls and route calls appropriately, and schedule and attend meetings while keeping notes. Admin assistants need proven experience in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Strong analytical, problem-solving, basic research, and time management skills are imperative to a successful assistant at [Your Company Name].
Typical duties and responsibilities
Plan and coordinate meeting arrangements, including travel and lodging
Organize work and proofread documents
Maintain and update company website(s)
Manage calendars for meetings and detail these meetings to staff and directors
Order and maintain supplies needed for meetings, office staff, and directors
Answer phone calls; route callers, respond to inquiries, greet visitors, request and provide routine information to walk-ins
Exposure to confidential information and handle confidential matters
Education and experience
High school diploma or equivalent
Minimum of one year experience in the field
Required skills and qualifications
Exceptional communication skills
Impeccable attention to detail
Proficiency using Microsoft Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
Flexibility to cover other departments during fluctuations, vacation coverage, or leave of absence
Excellent multitasking and organization skills
Experience in the field for more than a year
Experience working in a team setting
Experience maintaining and updating websites
Experience working in proofreading, editing, and document organization
Experience in customer service
Experience creating infographics, such as diagrams, screenshots, workflows, graphs, etc.
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for an administrative assistant is $45,000 per year in the United States with a potential $800 cash bonus per year. Your salary will depend on your level of experience, education, and where you are located.
Salary for 1 Year of Experience
Salary for 5 Years of Experience
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Administrative assistants work in an office as part of a team. They often consult with staff and directors to manage the way information circulates throughout the company. They’re also tasked with the ability to provide information to clients and walk-ins.
Occasionally, there may be weekend events or meetings that will need to be attended. Administrative assistants should expect to sit at a desk while on the computer for most of the workday.
The typical work hours for an administrative assistant in an office setting are 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Weekend hours are rare, but not unheard of when there are events or deliveries that need to be overseen.
Administrative assistants work in a variety of industries, and there are many ways to stand out from the crowd with unique certifications, including:
Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE). With PACE, skills such as interpersonal communications, task and project management, computer and internet technology, and management skills are highlighted. PACE can be acquired through an online course through the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP).
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). If you desire to work as an administrative assistant in the medical field, obtaining a CMAA will aid in this process. Being CMAA certified allows you to be responsible for assisting medical staff and patients in a hospital or clinic setting by scheduling appointments, patient intake, answering phones, and maintaining databases. A CMAA can be acquired through an online course and exam through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Certified Informational Technology Professional (CITP). If you want to further your career in the ever-growing technology field, being CITP certified will assist. CITP is a certified public accountant and will showcase your ability to provide business insight, show knowledge in the technology field, and set you apart from other admin assistants in the field. This is a great certification if you hope to move up in the workplace.
If you’re hoping to become an administrative assistant, you’ll need at least a high school degree or equivalent. It’s also important to have experience in the field. This could be secretarial experience, receptionist experience, or something in a related field.
Looking into courses that will develop your proficiency in Microsoft Office applications is always a good idea for admin assistants. Being a friendly, customer-focused person is one of the most important skills to have when choosing this career.
Administrative assistants need to develop soft skills like basic computer skills, so they can reply to emails, schedule meetings, plan travel, and write and maintain documents and website(s) for the company.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 43-000
Projected Employment in 2021
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift
Since companies are using online services for everyday access to businesses and communications, there has been a slight decrease in administrative assistant positions. Companies that can shift to an online environment have reduced their hours, eliminated the position completely, or combined this position with other similar job positions. Obtaining any related certifications, like Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, can increase your likelihood of a guaranteed position in the field.
Sample interview questions
What interests you about being an administrative assistant for our industry?
Are you comfortable with Microsoft Office?
Do you possess the ability to plan travel and manage communications for multiple executives?
What software tools do you use on a daily basis?
Are you a quick learner?
Have you received any certifications related to being an administrative assistant?
Describe a time you received negative criticism from your employer. How did you handle it?
Describe a time you received constructive criticism from your employer. Why was it helpful?
What guidelines or materials are you typically given to begin a project like [this work sample]?
What role did you play in developing like [this work sample]?
Describe a time you assisted in a project with a cross-functional team.
Who else did you work with on this project? What were their roles?
How much time did it take to complete this project?
Describe one of your more successful encounters. How do you define success?
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