Google Asks, C-Suite Answers: “What does an administrative assistant…”

— Mar 7, 2014 —

Recently, we typed the phrase “what does an administrative assistant” into Google and let Google’s autofill function suggest the top four searches with that phrase.

google search box

We’ve answered all four of these questions for you.  Here are C-Suite’s answers:

What does an administrative assistant do?

An administrative assistant (“admin”) is responsible for the day-to-day administration of an office, including answering phones, drafting correspondence, following up on queries, and following through on commitments.  Administrative assistants have a supporting role and often wear a multitude of professional hats such as processing invoices, preparing packages for shipment, tracking expenses, and ordering office supplies all in the same sitting.  The functions of an administrative assistant will vary across industries and are dependent upon the company’s size, but the key takeaway regarding administrative assistant duties is that it is wholly supportive and rarely are two days ever the same.

What does an administrative assistant make?

Admins’ salaries vary depending upon the industry in which they are employed, the size and prestige of the institution, and the amount of people they support.  Historically, the advertising industry pays, monetarily speaking, on the lower end of the spectrum, whereas the financial industry is on the higher end.  However, the advertising industry tends to have more of a glamour appeal: there is more direct contact with A-list clients, more opportunities to attend events, or even take home “swag bag” leftovers.  Alternatively, in the financial industry, you are much more likely to receive a year-end bonus.  Every industry is different, and every company within that industry will have their own compensatory benefits (vacation time, health insurance, 401K, and/or other perks), so it is critical to weigh what is important to you when considering a new opportunity.  The geographical location in which you work will also play a heavy role in determining compensation.  On average, an admin can expect to make between $35,000 and $65,000 per year.

What does an administrative assistant do at school?

There is no standard degree or major for an admin.  While most companies now require their admin candidates to have earned a four-year degree, there are still many companies that place emphasis on relevant professional experience.  For admins who do possess a college degree (usually a bachelor’s), their major field of study is, more often than not, within the Liberal Arts scope.  Still, some majors are more desirable than others; often, our financial services clients prefer a candidate with a degree in finance or accounting, since these candidates “come with” the foundational knowledge required to be successful within their firms.  The short answer: just about any college education will do.

What does an administrative assistant need to know?

Because the role is so multi-faceted, it’s difficult to quantify what an admin should know.  However, there are some basic qualities an admin must possess in order to be successful in their role.  Admins should have an undeniable need for organization since their responsibilities are to support and ensure the individual/department is on track.  Admins should be highly detail-oriented, since the work they produce is representative of the person/people they support, and, ultimately, of the company.  Admins should also be critical thinkers and proactive learners, consistently anticipating needs before they arise, and finding solutions to problems that others may have overlooked.  Admins are situated at the bottom of the funnel, and for this reason, they should expect the unexpected.

 

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