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The complete guide to office management

What does an administrative assistant do?

Administrative assistants are key members of a company: thanks to their job and support, the entire office can run smoothly. Often also called executive assistants, secretaries, or office managers, administrative assistants are an essential part of most businesses—no matter the exact job title and the sector. If you’re wondering what an administrative assistant is and what they do, or if you’re thinking of becoming one, in this guide we’ll be answering all your questions.

What is an administrative assistant?

What exactly is an administrative assistant? This figure is often considered the backbone of any office setting, and that’s no exaggeration. Administrative assistant roles are in charge of a variety of tasks, helping both coworkers and customers. Thanks to their work, everybody else’s work and the office as a whole can function properly.

Administrative assistants are usually very efficient and organized persons, who are detail-oriented and have great time-management and communication skills as well as interpersonal skills. Not only do they help with routine clerical and administrative tasks, but they also step in to help in all sorts of situations that may come up within the office thanks to their problem-solving skills. 

Nowadays there’s an increasing number of administrative professionals who work remotely, also called virtual assistants. Their job is very similar in nature, but they work remotely from their own home or office.

What does an administrative assistant do?

An administrative assistant supports their coworkers and the office as a whole with a wide range of tasks, from everyday administrative tasks, to preparing documents and keeping records. They are also often in charge of schedules and meetings. Their job is mainly to manage information, help with planning, schedule appointments, manage business travel, and assist with various other daily operations. Executive assistants usually work full-time.

In short, admin assistants ensure an efficient operation of the office and a good work environment. They typically report to a manager or a head of department.

What are the duties and responsibilities of an administrative assistant?

Administrative assistant duties may vary depending on the specific job and the company they work for, as well as the sector. However, any administrative assistant job description generally includes:

  • Writing and preparing documents
  • Organizing files and keeping a record, both of virtual and paper documents
  • Taking memos and communicating with coworkers and customers by phone calls, email, and regular mail.
  • Scheduling appointments.
  • Arranging schedules for office workers.
  • Welcoming office visitors.
  • Managing stock.
  • Ordering office supplies.
  • Handling office equipment, such as fax machines, projectors, etc.
  • Preparing PowerPoint presentations.
  • Proofreading and correcting grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Managing databases.
  • Planning events.
  • Making travel arrangements: administrative assistants are often in charge of making reservations and handling everything related to all of the company’s business trips.
  • Performing basic bookkeeping.

As mentioned before, administrative assistants may work in all types of industries. However,  they are especially common at government agencies, lawyer offices, schools, healthcare, and medical offices.

What is a good objective for an administrative assistant?

An administrative assistant position can be a very competitive one. If you’re thinking of applying for an administrative assistant job opening, one of the things to pay special attention to should be your resume objective. Normally, the resume objective is located at the top of the resume, after your name and contact information. You can use it to quickly grab the reader’s attention and convince the person to continue reading.

A resume objective should clearly detail your skills and why you’re applying for a job in particular. It’s short and to the point, and it usually explains why you would bring value to the company and excel at your job.

A good way to start a resume objective is by highlighting your strengths, showing that you understand the company’s needs and that you can meet these needs with your skills and years of experience. You can read more about the skills required to be a good administrative assistant on our guide. You should also make sure to include your work experience, qualifications, and job training. Talking about your goals, showing you care about your future and that you want to grow with the company is also a great way to make a good impression.