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Administrative Assistants
by Alvaretta Roberts

Administrative assistants are probably the most underrated, under appreciated, and in many cases, underpaid employees in a company.

Administrative assistants carry a heavy workload in many companies and it is their job to keep the office settled and flowing smoothly. In essence, they are usually the backbone of the office and their managers depend on them to respond to any situation that might arise. They are the go-to-person when problems occur and in many cases, they are the problem solvers.

A professional administrative assistant takes on the responsibility of managing the office, performing clerical and other duties necessary to keep the office running smoothly by managing projects and coordinating the day to day activities of the office. They learn to effectively communicate with other employees, their bosses, and they handle other office related duties and perform them in a professional manner.

Typing, reading, mathematics, writing skills, the ability to speak clearly and effectively, and good telephone etiquette and techniques are a must for any administrative assistant. They have to dress well and their general appearance has to always be impeccable because they are usually the first line of contact for all clients, vendors, and visitors who come into the office.

Administrative assistants manage projects, schedule appointments, set up meetings, disseminate mail, e-mail, electronic files, and organize and maintain paperwork and business files. They answer the telephones, welcome visitors and vendors and direct them to the correct department.

At times, an administrative assistant may have to take on the task of being a personal assistant to the boss. They create spread sheets, buy office supplies, create and make presentations, collect data, and operate office equipment such as computers, copy machines, fax machines, and scanners.

Administrative assistants are assigned other functions in the company like making travel arrangements by booking airline flights and hotel rooms and keeping up with travel expenses. They may be required to manage bookkeeping, budgets, oversee conferences and meeting and take minutes.

In large companies, administrative assistants may be required to work in teams, conduct research, and train and orientate new hires. They may be required to learn new secretarial skills and attend seminars and classes to stay on top of new technologies.

A good administrative assistant can become such an asset to his or her manager that they are trusted with planning and executing day to day activities within the office and are given complex responsibilities such as controlling access to the manager, supervising the staff, and handling legal issues, and preparing medical and scientific correspondence.

Some companies require administrative assistants to have at least a 2 year college degree (Associate of Arts) or a 4 year degree (Bachelor of Arts). However, some companies hire high school graduates and train them to effectively handle administrative duties.

Administrative assistants work in a variety of environments. They are employed by corporate offices, government agencies, hospitals, schools, insurance companies, real estate offices, banks and other lending institutions, and many other types of businesses.

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