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Secretary Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Secretary Do?

Secretaries provide administrative support for individuals or organizations in an office environment. Their responsibilities typically include a wide range of tasks, such as taking incoming calls and messages, managing schedules and appointments, filing documents, paying invoices, processing payroll, and organizing meetings and events.

Secretaries must be highly organized and have excellent verbal and written communication skills. Proficiency with bookkeeping, typing, scheduling, Microsoft Office, and other common digital office tools is also required.

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National Average Salary

Secretary salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Secretary is:


Secretary Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great secretary is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

Experienced secretaries play a critical role in the daily operations of our company. There are a variety of administrative roles and responsibilities that come along with this position. Our secretary will be assigned to take care of visitors as they enter the building by greeting them and directing them to the appropriate departments or people. They will also schedule future appointments and meetings for clients, colleagues, and supervisors. Typical duties will also include making photocopies and filing important documents. It is important for secretaries to stay organized to ensure the company can run smoothly. You should have previous experience taking care of basic administrative tasks for a company and have the necessary communication and time management skills that will help you succeed with us.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Welcome guests and direct them to their final destination
  • Answer the phones and respond to various emails asking about meetings and appointments
  • Assist supervisors and colleagues with small projects and tasks
  • Maintain and keep a record of the company’s schedule
  • Schedule meetings and appointments 
  • Record inventory and order office supplies
  • Copy and file important company documents
  • Organize and take messages for other staff members
  • Take and record customer payments 
  • Keep up-to-date records on the company’s customers i.e. contact information
  • Take minutes at board meetings

Education and experience

  • High school diploma/GED
  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration for certain industries
  • At least one year of related secretarial experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Ability to work independently
  • Exceptional communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Optimistic and friendly attitude
  • Good time management skills
  • Professional discretion 
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Solid computer programming skills
  • Organized and neat
  • Experience with data processing and bookkeeping

Preferred qualifications

  • 2+ years of administrative experience 
  • Ability to speak a foreign language
  • Ability to multitask
  • Proficient typing skills
  • Good problem solver
  • Calm and patient
  • Ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment

Example 2

ABC Company is seeking an organized Litigation Secretary for our (City, State) office. The ideal candidate will have 3 years of experience working with litigation attorneys. The skills, qualifications, and responsibilities for this position are as follows:

Required skills:

  • Ability to e-file documents in state and federal courts
  • Ability to schedule depositions
  • Knowledge of preparing legal documents including appeals, complaints, discovery requests, motions, pretrial agreements, subpoenas, and summonses
  • Knowledge of Adobe, TOCs, and TOAs
  • Ability to manage multiple attorneys’ calendars, schedule meetings and appointments, and calendar court dates
  • Ability to help lawyers prepare for arbitration, depositions, hearings, mediation, and trial


  • Ensure legal documents are successfully filed with appropriate courts, agencies, and officials
  • Set motion dates, return dates and times in State courts
  • Maintain and distribute information relating to court calls and significant dates for firm business (court dates, filing deadlines, etc.)
  • Arrange for service of process (summons and subpoena)
  • Create and maintain effective working relationships with lawyers, staff, vendors, and court personnel
  • Obtain and distribute on request paper or electronic copies of forms for Federal and State Courts
  • Review state, federal and local rules to confirm that pleadings comply with guidelines
  • Reception area duties (when needed), and providing overflow assistance to other attorneys when needed

Required qualifications:

  • At least three years of experience working with litigation attorneys
  • The ability to work independently and seek clarification when needed
  • Proficiency in basic computer applications including Microsoft Office 365 (Word, Outlook, Excel, and Netdocs)
  • Must be well organized, detailed oriented and follow directions closely
  • Must be results oriented, dependable, and able to meet all deadlines
  • Possess good judgment, decision making skills, and strong communication skills to communicate effectively with all levels of the firm

Example 3


  • Performs reception duties; answers phone and routes calls, greets and directs visitors, etc.
  • Performs clerical tasks including data entry, filing, photocopying, scanning, etc.
  • Coordinates mail, deliveries, couriers, etc.
  • Schedules meetings, books meeting rooms, handles any special requests, sets up and cleans up meetings rooms, etc.
  • Maintains reception area and other common areas
  • Maintains stock of office supplies and ensures functionality of office equipment
  • Assists in the preparation of correspondence, presentations, proposals, and reports
  • Edits and formats correspondence, presentations, proposals, and reports
  • Manages calendars, schedules meetings, books meetings rooms, handles any special requests
  • Assists with document control including filing and archiving
  • Coordinates travel itineraries and arrangements
  • Processes expense reports, invoices and orders, timecards
  • Performs clerical tasks including data entry, filing, photocopying, scanning, etc.
  • Act as Office Safety and Environmental Coordinator (OSEC) which includes but is not limited to, act as a resource to local office operations in the administration of day-to-day safety activities and post and distribute HSSE (Health, Safety, Security, and Environment) Program documents such as policies, rules, practices, procedures, and forms
  • Provide administrative support to new hires during the onboarding process, including ordering and coordinating computer equipment, assisting with I-9 processing, coordinating orientation modules review, and directing new hires to the appropriate contact
  • Disseminate HR information locally
  • Assist in routing verification of employment, employment opportunities/job applications and recruitment inquiries
  • Performs other administrative duties as required

Qualifications and skills

  • Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Versatility, flexibility and willingness to work within frequently changing priorities
  • Must be willing and able to take initiative when needed
  • Flexibility to learn new skills
  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite
  • High School Diploma with minimum of 2-3 years experience, or Post-secondary degree in related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience

Example 4

Job details

Under the guidance and direction of the HR Manager, the Secretary will be responsible for duties such as, but not limited to, taking phone calls and greeting visitors, ordering supplies, organizing meetings, and enhancing HR functions by assisting HR Manager with Culture Building activities and communications.

Primary duties

  • Manage all office administrative activities, including daily mail and FedEx deliveries and shipments, ordering of office supplies and equipment, maintenance of office equipment, and other day-to-day office operations
  • Assist with planning team-building events and other gatherings
  • Assist with maintaining file system and files correspondence and other records
  • Anticipate business needs, think proactively, and respond appropriately
  • Drive innovation and progress through continuous process improvement or reengineering efforts
  • Utilize business acumen to recognize issues, problems and opportunities and recommend actions as needed
  • Other projects or duties as assigned

Required skills and competencies

  • Must have excellent communication skills and the ability to develop a team environment
  • High level of accountability, quality, and innovation (strives for high performance, emphasizes problem prevention, develops ideas for improvement, document new processes, ensures accuracy of information)
  • Self-starter
  • Self-Aware and the ability to flexibly interact with others
  • Ability to prioritize and multi-task in an organized, detailed manner, given limited time frames
  • Comfortable working independently and showing initiative

Education and experience

  • High School Diploma required; Bachelor’s degree preferred or 2-5 years of relevant experience in Office Administration/Assistant roles
  • Knowledge and prior experience with Human Resources policies and practices is a plus
  • Strong verbal and written communication abilities; effective interpersonal skills; strong attention to detail
  • Proven ability to build and maintain strong virtual and in-person relationships with colleagues, clients, and vendors
  • Experience working with remote locations a plus
  • Proficient with MS Office and HRIS programs (experience with ADP a plus)

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Certified Professional Secretary (CPS). A certified professional secretary is a professional secretary who has met certain educational, training, and examination requirements set by the International Administration for Administrative Professionals (IAAP). This certification was designed to recognize secretaries that have taken the extra steps to increase their knowledge and skills to better perform at their jobs.
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Expert (Office 365). Many employers find it beneficial for their employees to understand the basics of Microsoft programs. The Microsoft Office Specialist certification allows candidates to get the most out of Office 365 by learning to easily navigate through programs and use the special features. Earning this certificate will demonstrate to employers that they possess advanced skills in these key office programs.
  • Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE). This certificate is great to earn for candidates looking for a job that requires administrative duties. The PACE certification will help them strengthen their management, computer and technology, and interpersonal communication skills. Earning this certification won’t only make someone a better secretary, but it will also provide credibility and confidence to their future employers that they know how to complete various tasks while dealing with customers in a professional manner.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Why did you apply for this secretary position?
  • What qualities does every secretary need?
  • What important qualities do you possess that make you believe you will make a good secretary?
  • What motivates you to succeed at your work?
  • What did you like most about your last secretary job?
  • What did you like least about your last secretary job?
  • How well do you work under pressure?
  • What skills would you like to obtain that will help you become a better secretary?
  • Tell me about a time a co-worker asked you to share confidential information with them.
  • How would you rate your verbal and written communication skills in a professional setting?
  • What experience do you have with maintaining and filing large amounts of paperwork?
  • Did you compose meeting minutes in your last secretary role? Can you provide an example of how you accomplished that task?
  • What do you do to minimize mistakes in your work?
  • Describe a difficult problem you had to fix at your last job.
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • Describe a time when you had to manage multiple people’s calendars. How did you manage it?
  • Can you operate Microsoft Office applications?
  • How would you handle an angry client?
  • What is your experience with record keeping?

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