How to Get a Job as an Administrative Assistant
Susan Fenner, manager of education and professional development at the International Association of Administrative Professionals, has noticed a change in what employers look for when hiring administrative assistants. "Before, employers were looking for experience," she says. "Now, they're looking for high potential, for people who can think outside the box." Fenner explains that aspiring administrative assistants need to keep the company's long-term goals in mind and demonstrate not only an understanding of the organization and the industry, but also demonstrate how he or she would be a beneficial addition to the team. And because companies are always looking to move forward, Fenner stresses that it is important for job applicants to demonstrate both personal and professional advancement. "If you are looking for a job, now is the time for more education," she says, citing professional certifications and even online courses in business and software applications. "You don't have to know everything, but you do need to know where to go to fill those skill gaps."
Interview Questions Submitted by Real Administrative Assistants
"What are your two most played songs on your iPod?" - Clear Channel Outdoor Administrative Assistant Candidate (Philadelphia, PA)
"What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?" - Wilmington University Administrative Assistant Candidate (Location Unknown)
"What do you know about our company?" - Qbit Administrative Assistant Candidate (Location Unknown)
What is the Job Like?
Administrative assistants work in a variety of settings, from corporate and government offices to schools and hospitals. The cornerstones of the job include distributing information via telephone, mail, or email, planning and scheduling meetings, and maintaining and organizing files. Administrative assistants generally work 40 hours a week, and much of that time is spent in front of a computer. This can lead to eye strain, back and shoulder pain, and ailments caused by repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, most administrative assistants do not find it difficult to separate their work lives from their home lives because much of what they do can only be accomplished at the office.
Real Reviews From Administrative Assistants
+"Great benefits such as medical, dental, and paid time off. Flexible in scheduling work hours. Room for growth within company or department." - Kaiser Permanente Administrative Assistant
+"Easy workload, a lot of downtime, e-mail was very accessible. It wasn't a bad job really at all, just not that challenging for me." - Morgan Stanley Administrative Assistant (Chicago, IL)
-"Depending on the 'function' you support, work-life balance may be optional. Training and development seem to be manager's discretion and not the choice of the employee." - Chevron Administrative Assistant (Location Unknown)
-"Expect long hours. Some departments were notably dysfunctional so choose wisely." - Citigroup Administrative Assistant, Human Resources (Location Unknown)
Review information and interview questions supplied by Glassdoor.