Advanced Skills Admins Need to Excel in Today’s Workplace

It’s no secret that admins are taking on new roles in today’s office. Here are some of the skills needed to excel in the workplace today, according to the Education & Professional Development Department of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

  • Project manager
  • Software trainer (especially for execs and new hires)
  • Software adaptor (adapting software to particular company needs)
  • Web site maintainer (updater)
  • Negotiator (with clients and vendors)
  • Online purchaser
  • Reviewer/evaluator of furniture and technology equipment (includes phone systems, copiers, and more—purchasing and leasing)
  • Coordinator of mass mailings (includes dealing with the printer and determining the most cost-efficient method)
  • Storing and retrieval of information, along with interconnecting its significance (could be e-info, tapes, videos, paper, etc.—multi-formats)
  • Scheduler and maintainer of calendars for self and others (mostly done electronically; also includes scheduling facilities)
  • Meeting planner (includes negotiating hotel contracts, scheduling catering, preparing for cyber- and video-conferencing)
  • Travel planner (includes online research, booking, tracking, preparing the traveler, securing needed info such as maps, phone numbers, alternatives, emergency numbers)
  • Desktop publisher (brochures, flyers, annual reports, and other things that are sent directly and electronically to the printer, Web design and postings)
  • Team leader dealing with virtual members (from other facilities, traveling execs, or with outside business partners)

What new positions will open for secretaries/administrative professionals in the future?

  • Telecommuting (by administrative assistants and managers)
  • Home-based administrative services businesses
  • Training for administrative support staff (on-site and through local colleges)
  • Information management on the Internet (becoming a "Web Master")
  • Personal computer troubleshooter
  • Creating customized software manuals for organizations, particular to department and/or industry needs
  • Secretarial/clerical recruiter for temporary/permanent placement agencies
  • Newsletter editor (compile and summarize information on particular areas of interest)
  • Multimedia librarian/coordinator/information abstractor
  • Video and/or Web conferencing coordinator (scheduling, site preparation, equipment procurement, host conferencing, on-site at business or off-site)
  • Technology coordinator/facilities management (maintenance scheduling, tracking/backing up databases, installing new hardware/software
  • Graphics/desktop publishing coordinator
  • Support services consultant

Administrative Career Offers Bright Future

[Source: International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)]

Now is a good time to become an administrative assistant, executive secretary, information coordinator, or other type of administrative professional. Technology and corporate restructuring have created jobs that are more rewarding and more skilled than ever before.

Salaries. Average salaries in the United States for mid-to upper-level administrative staff range from $30,000 to $45,000 and up, according to the 2006 OfficeTeam Salary Guide and IAAP member surveys. Employers are paying more for specialty skills such as desktop publishing and database management.

Career Paths. Companies are creating a multitude of career paths for persons in administrative professions. Administrative assistants have moved into training, supervision, desktop publishing, information management and research. They are involved with equipment purchase and maintenance, customer service, project management and supervision of outside vendors.

Changing Roles. The number-one skill sought by employers when hiring administrative professionals is computer expertise. Administrative assistants should master word processing, spreadsheet, database, graphics and desktop publishing. With more managers keying their own correspondence and more files being stored electronically, the nature of secretarial work is changing drastically. Managers are doing more clerical work; administrative assistants and secretaries are doing more professional work.

Job Satisfaction. Most administrative professionals want to remain in their field and advance into higher support positions or become office managers. They say they are finally receiving recognition for what they do. They are becoming members of the management team.

The Future of the Profession. With businesses operating in a global economy, administrative professionals will have opportunities to interact via e-mail, audio- and video-conferencing, and even face-to-face with customers and associates from around the world. The winners will be those professionals who master technology, effectively use their interpersonal and communication skills, who have the ability to track and organize and be creative in solving problems, and most importantly, who have the willingness to learn and grow, and accept challenges. For these administrative professionals, there is a world of opportunity waiting for them!