Admin Assistant: An Essential Job

30 September 2020 is Administrative Professionals’ Day 2020, so we are taking a look at this essential, but often overlooked, position. More than the celebration, though, it is of note that admin assistant roles are still hiring as they are particularly essential in the booming logistics and supply industries. But they are not limited to those sectors, and admin assistants can be found in almost any company from education, health care, government, to legal services.

But first, what is an Admin Assistant?

Typically, an admin assistant assists departments in managing and distributing information around an office. This involves backend duties such as organizing data, taking memos and maintaining records as well as front-end tasks such as greeting clients and customers.

Admin assistants keep an office running smoothly and are crucial to a company’s daily operations. They ensure that people are kept informed, databases are updated, appointments are made and kept and necessary documents are filed. In certain industries and/or companies, admin assistants may take on more specialised roles, such as handling billing and payment.

While responsibilities can vary from industry to industry, working as an admin assistant normally involves:

  • Organising and maintaining digital and paper files
  • Creating or typing reports and other documents
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Answering emails, telephone calls, and written correspondence
  • Greeting visitors
  • Monitoring stock levels and ordering new supplies
  • Organising company travel
  • Basic account keeping and financial work

What qualifications are needed to work as an Admin Assistant?

Locally, most Admin Assistant positions require at least a Diploma in any field. Companies tend to favour applicants with previous experience in their industry or a specific task (e.g., invoicing, stock management) rather than looking for any kind of qualification.

Courses in Secretarial Work or Office Administration are a perk, but not considered a requirement for most Admin Assistant jobs. However, such certifications may provide applicants with an edge over their competitors when applying as they show mastery of specific job-related skills.

What qualities should an Admin Assistant possess?

The role of an Admin Assistant is a general one which requires multi-tasking and collaborative skills, as well as an eye for detail. Those who keep their cool under pressure and have the technical prowess to keep up with ever-changing business practices will find the most success as an administrative assistant.

Communication skills are also indispensable for an Admin Assistant. Admin Assistants interact with almost everyone in an office and may be responsible for passing on messages and/or greeting clients. Hence, individuals who enjoy interaction and have a flair for effective communication would be at home in the role.

What career opportunities are there for Admin Assistants?

Admin Assistants can look forward to being promoted to higher-level management roles such as Office Manager, Project Manager or Business Analyst. They are promoted based on their knowledge of the business and industry, and a proven record of working well with others and effectively handling tasks.

Some Admin Assistants chose to use their company knowledge to enter the relevant industry instead. An example would be an Admin Assistant in shipping company moving to a position in a shipyard. in this way, an Admin Assistant position is a good way to learn about an unrelated field and be exposed to different industries and working environments.