The role of a secretary or administrative assistant has evolved considerably over the past few years. While being the go-to person in an office, they now need to be tech-savvy and should have industry-specific knowledge along with strategic thinking ability.
According to a worldwide survey conducted by ManpowerGroup among 562 employers, around 98 percent of the respondents said the role of an administrative clerk has changed, while around 85 percent admitted it would be difficult to replace a good secretary.
The change is obvious in India, too. The Indian government is planning to replace many conventional clerical jobs with new posts that would require tech-savvy executive assistants, according to a recent report by The Economic Times. The point emerges that administrative roles are changing to become more specialized, diverse and important. New generation of secretaries has valid reasons to expect lucrative salaries and numerous perks. If you are planning to enter into this profession, read here about the specific of this career option.
Job DescriptionTo help ensure smooth-running of an organization, secretaries take the workload off the management personnel by tackling a range of mundane yet important clerical and administrative tasks. These include answering phone calls, maintaining files, scheduling meetings and appointments and dealing with customer queries. Your duties as a secretary may vary depending on the industry and levels of your responsibility. For instance, a medical administrative assistant could be responsible for generating medical bills and reports – a specialized task that requires familiarity with medical terminology and procedures. Roles and responsibilities vary, but almost always include;
Organizing events, seminars and toursResponding to customer queriesTaking care of emails and phone callsMaintaining office inventory and other resourcesPlanning and scheduling meetings and appointmentsPreparing presentations, spreadsheets and reports, using PowerPoint, Excel, Microsoft Word or other softwareCreating and maintaining filesTyping documents and lettersAttending training sessions and workshops to enhance industry-specific knowledge
Educational QualificationYou can enter into this profession after graduation or 10+2. However, depending on the industry and employer, some positions may require higher educational qualification. For instance, a degree in law is a common requirement for legal administrative posts. Some employers prefer candidates, who studied accounting, marketing or corporate finance in graduation. Apart from formal qualification, you should have proficiency with computers – preferably a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree in computer studies.
Skills RequiredYou need a diverse range of skills and qualities to become a good secretary or administrative assistant. Today’s secretaries must have good computer skills and proficiency with commonly used Office software programs, including Excel, Word, Outlook, Publisher and PowerPoint. Good typing skills and familiarity with industry specific terminologies will help you have a leg up on other candidates. In addition to technical knowledge, you should have the following skills and qualities to excel in this profession.
Excellent organizational skills – From maintaining files to scheduling meetings - most part of your job is about organizing thingsInterpersonal skills – You need to coordinate between different external and internal departments, customers and employeesCommunication skills – You are the initial contact person in your office. You need to communicate with customers, salespersons, guests, external vendors and the management staffIn addition, you should have excellent project management and time management skills, a nice, pleasant persona and a professional attitude.
Career Opportunity and SalarySecretaries are employed across a diverse range of industries, including healthcare, education, legal, marketing, real estate, publishing and retail. Contrary to a common misconception, this profession provides excellent career growth opportunity. For instance, Dell Inc CEO Michael Dell’s executive assistant Rajan Anandan went on to become the head of a Dell global office and later the Head of Google India. Some employers that offer high paying administrative jobs throughout the year include Reliance Group of Companies, Future Retail Limited, Wipro Enterprises and Tata Group. You can expect good salary package, plus several perks and benefits. Salary may vary depending on skills, qualification, experience and the levels of responsibility, but usually range between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 18 lakh per annum.
Good secretaries are the eyes and ears of a company. If you are reliable, honest, proactive, professional and tech-savvy, you are perhaps a good candidate for this profession.