Today an administrative assistant career is a dozen jobs rolled into one: secretary, bookkeeper, researcher, receptionist, event planner, guest coordinator, computer tech, you name it. Here are 5 skill areas to master to truly be an executive assistant Renaissance man—or woman—and take your career to the next level.
1. Middle management responsibility
The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) reports that today’s administrators are taking management-level roles, supervising teams, and spearheading projects. They have significant financial responsibilities such as managing budgets, approving and authorizing business expenditures, handling expense reports, and processing invoices.
2. Business acumen
Today’s administrative assistants need business expertise beyond clerical and office management skills. Admin assistants should be able to give presentations and even come up with innovative solutions. The more familiarity with the business world and the appropriate social decorum behind them the better since assistants are often the go-to for planning corporate events and social media management.
3. IT department
As an admin assistant, you may be the frontline tech support, setting up equipment and solving software problems. It is also likely that you will be required to learn a specific software system and train others in it. While proficiency in using MS Office is still an absolute must, the most highly sought after admin assistants today have broader technical skills. The ability to conduct research; a working knowledge of social media tools; familiarity with software applications for payroll, HR, desktop publishing, data management, web design, website maintenance, and more could all be part of your executive assistant job description.
4. The face of the company
Administrative assistants are no longer silent secretaries in the back room. Employers rely on them to interact with prospective employees, team members, vendors, customers, and potential customers.
As a result you are expected to have strong communication skills.
5. Industry-specific knowledge
There is a large demand for qualified professionals in a wide range of businesses, and each company expects their admin assistants to have industry-specific knowledge. According to ASAP, nearly 92% of an administrative assistant sample group had been in their current industry for 5 or more years. Obviously, the more expertise you have in an area the better, but don’t worry if you have little experience or want to break into a new industry. Do what research you can to prove to potential employers that you are eager and quick to learn.
Sound like a lot of skills to have under your belt? Don’t sweat it: today’s administrative assistants are formally trained, so make becoming a Renaissance woman a lot easier on yourself by enrolling in a quality training course, such as Career Step’s Executive Assistant program. Already an executive assistant? What skills did we miss? Help out tomorrow’s admin assistants by commenting below.