Secretary How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

The secretary handles and facilitates communication within an office environment. They take care of inbound and outbound calls, along with physical and digital correspondence. They additionally handle book and file keeping, along with appointment setting and the implementation and upkeep of office procedures.

By handling the daily administrative tasks of the company, these professionals keep a department well organized and up-to-speed on everyone’s needs and expectations. Keeping an open line of communication with colleagues, other departments, and customers is their contribution to keeping the business running.

While a college degree isn’t strictly necessary, candidates should be familiar with office organization and possess a high degree of time management. Alongside having excellent verbal and written communication skills, bookkeeping, and scheduling skills, they should be proficient in MS Office and other digital suites preferred by the company. 

Sample job description #1

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:

Skills necessary for the position:

  • 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

Responsibilities for the position:

  • 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

Sample job description #2

Your opportunity

  • 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

Your capabilities and credentials

  • 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

Sample job description #3

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 functions

  • 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)

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a secretary is $45,100 per year in the United States. However, income can vary based on location, industry, and experience.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$47,450$58,000
Los Angeles, California$53,550$65,450
Denver, Colorado$44,600$54,550
Washington, DC$54,350$66,450
Miami, Florida$44,400$54,300
Orlando, Florida$40,950$50,100
Tampa, Florida$41,400$50,600
Atlanta, Georgia$43,400$53,050
Chicago, Illinois$49,900$61,000
Boston, Massachusetts$53,950$65,950
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$43,000$52,550
New York City, New York$56,800$69,450
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$46,250$56,550
Dallas, Texas$45,050$55,050
Houston, Texas$44,850$54,800
Seattle, Washington$51,950$63,500
National Average$40,500$49,600

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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