Administrative Job Duties (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 22, 2021
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Becoming an administrative assistant is one of the most remarkable ways to understand office culture before heading down any other career paths to build your work experience.

But what exactly does an administrative assistant do, and what are their common job titles, duties, and responsibilities? How will you know if you are qualified for this kind of job?

Below, we answer some common questions and provide additional detail on what the administrative assistant job is all about.

Common Administrative Job Titles

The administrative job is a broad category with a variety of different titles. This kind of work can encompass many duties, making it a great job for those looking to explore different opportunities to see what they like.

In short, administrative workers are those who help to provide support to a company. This might include things like office management, phone management, email or calendar management, client interaction, clerical work, and more.

Here are some of the most common administrative job titles:

  • Administrative Assistants and Secretaries. This is where the majority of the administrative job titles fall into, including administrative assistant, coordinator, manager, executive assistant, legal secretaries, human resources administrators, and more.

    People in these roles typically perform administrative and clerical duties. The terms secretaries and administrative assistants are often used interchangeably.

  • Bill and Account Collectors. These individuals help to manage the finances of the company. Their job titles may be account collector, bill collector, or billing coordinator. They typically record financial information, arrange for payments, and receive payments.

  • Financial Clerks. These jobs include bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing. These individuals are responsible for maintaining financial records, financial transactions, and helping customers. These titles could be anything from accounting clerk to bookkeeper, to office manager.

  • General Office Clerks. Similar to the administrative assistant and secretary, these individuals will perform administrative tasks around the office, such as file records, maintaining documents, and helping customers. Job titles may include billing clerk, file clerk, typist, or staff assistant.

  • Information Clerk. These individuals perform clerical duties and gather information to help the company. This might include looking through databases, maintaining records or spreadsheets, or retrieving files. Job titles might include data entry, support specialist, or records management analyst.

  • Receptionists. These individuals are similar to secretaries and administrative assistants in that they answer phones and answer questions while performing administrative tasks. Other job titles might include office assistant, virtual assistant, or client relations manager.

What Does an Administrative Assistant Do?

Administrative Assistant’s duties and responsibilities are to provide administrative support to ensure the office runs smoothly. Since the administrative assistant position is one of the most popular and common job opportunities to come across in a job search, let’s focus on their direct responsibilities and expectations.

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These varies based on the organization, industry, and executives, but the core responsibilities are relatively the same. These individuals are typically responsible for confidential and important information and are often the “go-to” person for questions, practices, and procedures.

Some of their responsibilities may include:

  • Phone management. The administrative assistant is typically the first contact a customer has with the business. They are responsible for answering and fielding all calls to the appropriate parties.

    They may be expected to answer basic questions such as operating hours, basic payment questions, or other inquiries.

  • Calendar management. Administrative assistants usually manage calendars, meaning they organize and schedule all meetings, appointments, and travel arrangements. This can sometimes be tricky, especially if you are working with a very busy executive.

    It’s important to be flexible and not be afraid of confrontation should you need to shift meetings or deadlines.

  • Contact database management. Administrative assistants are sometimes asked to maintain contact lists for the executives or employees they serve.

  • Internal communications. Administrative assistants are usually expected to help develop and distribute internal communications. This may be in the form of reports, memos, letters, faxes, documents, emails, newsletters, or more.

  • Organization. Administrative assistants must be organized and may be asked to develop a filing system or reconcile things like expense reports or invoices.

  • Office supply ordering. Administrative assistants are typically the individuals who place orders for the office.

    This includes monitoring supplies that may be low or asking employees in the office what they may need. Oftentimes, this will include kitchen and bathroom items as well.

  • Customer support. Administrative assistants may be asked to provide general support to visitors or provide information by answering questions or requests from people over the phone or who walk in. Although this may sound simple, it’s an important consideration to make.

    You’ll need to have a friendly and engaging attitude in this position to put on the best face possible for your company.

  • Office maintenance. Administrative assistants are also responsible for ensuring that the office looks, smells, and feels its best.

    This means maintaining a relationship with cleaning services, tidying up when necessary, ensuring all equipment is functioning properly, and giving the office an “extra touch.”

What Skills or Qualifications Are Necessary for an Administrative Assistant?

Now that we understand what types of responsibilities this job might require, we’ll want to understand what types of skills or qualifications are necessary to land this kind of job.

There are a few key skills you’ll want to be sure you can articulate when you interview for an administrative assistant position:

  • Great communication. Both written and verbal communication is one of the most important skills you’ll need to possess as an administrative assistant.

    A key responsibility of this role is to ensure you are communicating with various people across departments in an efficient way.

    This could mean taking meeting minutes, crafting company-wide emails, or phone call conversations. Whatever your task, being a clear and efficient communicator is key.

  • Super-organized. Administrative assistants might be expected to answer any question about the company or office at the drop of a hat. This means they need to be incredibly organized and know where all things are at any given time or have a way to reference.

    This might mean keeping spreadsheets clean, managing calendars, or knowing where the specialty coffee is in the kitchen.

  • Friendly and engaging. Customer service is a key part of any administrative assistant’s role. You may be the first person a client would see, and you’ll want to be sure you are friendly and engaging.

    If you naturally love being around people and helping customers find what they need, that is a wonderful trait to bring to the table as an administrative assistant.

  • Confidence. The hard part of being an administrative assistant is that you need to be firm about many things, whether it be a company policy or an office rule. Having the confidence to be authoritative about the responsibilities of your own is important.

    You may need to remind a higher-up executive about proper protocols or a customer about a certain process. Whatever the case, having confidence in yourself and your abilities is important.

  • Basic computer and internet knowledge. A computer is a big tool for administrative assistants, whether for email and calendar purposes, creating spreadsheets, or managing a database.

    You’ll want to ensure you have basic computer and internet skills before you apply for this position. Every company will have a specific way of handling their business, but knowing the basics before you walk in will help you succeed faster.

What Experience Requirements Are Necessary for an Administrative Assistant

The requirements for any job will vary based on the organization and specific responsibilities you’ll be expected to maintain. However, the basic requirements are typically very similar. Some essential experience requirements may be as follows:

  • Experience. Depending on the company, they may want an administrative assistant with existing experience.

    If you have previously worked as an administrative assistant, virtual assistant, or office administrative assistant, you’ll be eligible for an administrative assistant job that requires previous experience.

    Remember that there may be other jobs where you’ve acquired transferable skills that you can also use as a basis for experience. This can include customer service roles, marketing roles, or sales roles.

  • Office knowledge and attention to detail. It’s important to have some experience or knowledge of how office management systems and procedures work.

    It’s ideal for administrative assistants to have worked in an office setting prior to being hired, but not always necessary. You should know how printers, fax machines, and coffee machines work and have a keen eye for detail.

  • MS Office or Google Suite knowledge. Knowing MS Office programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is typically a requirement.

    For some companies, having knowledge in Google Suites such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides is equally as important. You should know about both programs as an administrative assistant.

  • Time management and organization skills. As an administrative assistant, you’ll be juggling multiple projects, deadlines, lines of communication, and priorities. Having time management skills is essential to keep things moving and getting things done efficiently.

  • Communication skills. As mentioned above, communication skills are one of the most important skills you need to have as an administrative assistant. You’ll want to ensure you have communication experience, both written and verbal, either in prior work experiences, internships, or academic experiences.

  • High school degree. A college education is not always necessary for administrative assistants, as a high school degree is absolutely enough of a qualification to get hired in this kind of position.

    However, any additional experience you have and can bring to the table will certainly improve your chances of getting hired.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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