Today's Administrative Assistant: Not Your Father's Secretary!

administrative assistant at work


In the modern-day workplace, the responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant go beyond the clerical tasks that once defined the role of a secretary. In fact, Administrative Assistants are often at the heart of a company, providing critical support to staff at all levels of an organization to help it run smoothly.

If you want to become an important team member in an office and enjoy a career where multitasking is the norm, then an Administrative Assistant role might be the ideal job for you. While the specific responsibilities vary by company, here’s some of what you’d expect if you choose this career path:

Be the Face of the Organization

As an Administrative Assistant, you would probably be the first point of contact for customers, clients, and visitors. You would greet them and direct them where they need to go. Since you’re often the first impression people get of a business, it’s important that you make a good one.


Be a Communication Whiz

While secretaries of the past were associated with typewriters and switchboards, today’s Administrative Assistants handle incoming and outgoing communication across a range of media. In addition to traditional mail and telephone calls, you might connect with people through email, messaging, fax –even social media. You’ll need to be comfortable and confident with multiple modes of current communication and whatever comes around the corner next.


Prepare Important Documents

You may be present for important meetings among high-level executives and play a valuable role to ensure that these meetings are successful. In addition to scheduling the meetings, you might write and distribute the agenda, take detailed minutes, and assist with any follow-up tasks including reports and memos. Accuracy is imperative.


Maintain Order in the Office

You will need to make sure documents are properly filed either in physical folders or electronically so they can be easily retrieved when they’re needed. You would also organize and maintain inventory to make sure the office supplies everyone needs don’t ever run out.


Keep Everyone on Schedule

You’ll coordinate the schedules of the office executives and schedule and plan meetings for multiple staff members. You may need to secure venues, develop agendas, handle catering, set up audiovisual equipment, and be in charge of other important logistics.


If you want to thrive as an Administrative Assistant, it is important to that you have the right traits. You need to be:



Be well-organized so you can maintain multiple schedules and perform all necessary office functions.



You will have access to sensitive and important business information as part of your role. It is critical to maintain confidentiality on high-level business matters.



In addition to being proficient with a computer, it is important to have a firm grasp on the various technology and software used in your office, such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel. Not only will you use software for your assignments, but you may have to assist your coworkers with their software-related issues.



You need to effectively handle all office incoming and outgoing communication in a timely and professional manner. Within the office, you should be able to comfortably communicate with coworkers and supervisors across all levels of the organization.



Since you will represent the company through your communication, it is vital that your work is free of any errors that would reflect negatively on your organization.



While some administrative tasks can seem repetitive, it is important to understand that they help keep an organization running well. You should be enthusiastic about all tasks no matter how large or small.



Because you have a wide range of responsibilities, it is important to work efficiently and understand how to prioritize the tasks that are most critical to the organization.


Behind every successful office is an Administrative Assistant who maintains order and helps the workplace run smoothly. If you would like to embark on a fast-paced and rewarding career as an Administrative Assistant,  Career Quest Learning Centers can help you develop the necessary skills in as little as eight months with our Administrative Assistant program. Call us in Lansing at 517-318-3330 or Jackson at 517-990-9595 to learn more now!


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