Some people think of an administrative career as a job with limited potential for growth, but there has never been a better time in history for admin employees to learn, grow, and achieve their potential. For part of the 20th century, secretaries and office managers served in somewhat limited administrative roles, typing documents, answering phones, and taking transcription. Today, administrative assistants have a wide variety of skills, and fulfill roles as wide-ranging as bookkeeper, event planner, and project manager. As the roles and responsibilities of this unique job title expand, the career paths for office managers and administrative assistants have changed greatly.
The Skills You Need
There are lots of ways into the field of admin work, but foundational administrative skills are a must. If you’re trying to enter this field, be sure to develop a working knowledge of computers (Mac and PC) as well as a functioning knowledge of various software programs, including Outlook, Microsoft Word, and Excel. Even if you don’t have these skills, you may be able to enter the field just by merit of your superior interpersonal skills and strong attention to detail.
An administrative assistant is the base upon which the whole company thrives, so good organization is a must. Like any job, it always helps to have a working knowledge of the industry. Before your interview, spend some time researching your field online and the company online.
Once you land the job, the possible office manager career paths are endless and unpredictable. While it is likely you will begin with basic administrative work, your responsibilities can quickly grow to include HR tasks, bookkeeping tasks, and the management of team-building programs.
Often, the size of your company will influence the direction of your administrative assistant career path. While large companies offer support and stability, small companies will allow you to get to know the names and faces of the higher ups on your team. An admin job is a great way to get your foot in the door to bigger and better things.
Taking it to Another Level
Once you have established a good relationship with employees across your company’s departments, you can use this as an opportunity to grow and improve your skill set. While many administrative employees stay in the field for their whole career, some move on to other, often higher paying, positions. Use your relationships with people at the company to pursue opportunities to learn new skills. Sit in on meetings and volunteer when the opportunity to take on new responsibilities arises. As your skill set grows, so will your indispensability to the company.
Even if you plan on staying in an administrative assistant or office manager role for a long time, your potential for growth is not limited. The average salary for an office manager is $42,000 per year, but you can surmount this figure by scheduling quarterly performance reviews and negotiating for raises each year.
The administrative assistant career path is not narrow, but wide and filled with potential. Work hard and use your imagination to build the career you dreamed of.