Administrative assistants are like the glue that holds a department or staff together. One well-organized and multitalented administrative assistant can surge productivity and diminish expenses across the board. Conversely, an administrative assistant who requires extensive training or has a weak grasp of current technology sets everyone back.
In the current hiring climate, employers agree—more administrators do not make for better overall administration. In an effort to minimize expenses, many businesses have cut back on their administrative staff. However, this actually increases the demand for truly skilled administrative assistants, since often one assistant takes on a workload previously shared by two or three employees. Shana Cohen, a Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support/Human Resources division, believes that “There are several rewarding positions available these days for truly well-rounded and polished administrative professionals, however, the job market is very competitive so it’s essential to have top-notch technical skills and a college degree.” Here’s what will set you apart as a candidate:
A Formal College Education
Historically, administrative assistant positions don’t require a college degree. However, as administrative positions become more competitive and demand a higher level of responsibility, a college degree is an invaluable asset. There are several advantages that come along with having a college degree, including:
- College graduates tend to have more job opportunities than uneducated professionals because of the skills and knowledge they possess
- A college education will give you the general problem-solving skills and means of thinking necessary to tackle a bevy of administrative challenges
- Opportunities for higher pay
Without these skills, you will only have your employer to rely on for education, and may take significantly more time to acclimate.
To complete your degree, you have the option to either go to school online or attend a traditional college campus. Online learning typically costs less than traditional learning, and it provides a more flexible schedule. Either way, a college degree is almost as vital as a high school diploma. Shana believes that “Nowadays, having a four-year college degree is essential, whereas five-to-ten years ago, a degree was a plus. In this job market, hiring managers are weeding out applicants who lack a formal college education.”
Understanding of Digital Technology
In today’s business world, administrative assistants are typically the first line of response when a technical problem arises, so possessing certain digital technology skills will definitely set you apart from other candidates. If you are familiar with:
- Google productivity programs (Google Docs, Gmail, Google calendar)
- Photoshop or other graphics software
- Basic web design and HTML
- Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
- Various social media outlets, companies will favor your resume over other administrative professionals who lack this type of skill-set
Gone are the days where secretaries complete everyday office work. Driven by technological developments, the administrative profession has transformed, creating unique and substantial opportunities for office workers. Administrative professionals have become vital partners in the world of business and are more empowered than ever to drive business growth!