Administrative Assistant

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Verina in Brooklyn, New York

86 months ago

Why every one is calling themselves Administrative Assistant,
from a HS degree to a Masters degree in Administration. We don't have secretaries any more.
Why go to college to be an AA, when you can have a HS diploma only and the range of salaries are 23000 to 60000 and more per yr.
If you are over 50 years of age, it is very hard to get an AA position if even you have a BA degree, WHAT IS GOING-ON.

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lost in Phoenix, Arizona

85 months ago

Are you kidding me? Who wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a college education just to be an admin? I have years of debt to pay off and I'll never make enough money being an admin to stop renting an apartment and pay off all my debt. It's not easy to move up in the job either. All the admins at my company are women and there are tons of them. All the men my age that just graduated college are managers. I am halfway through my master's degree and all I get is an admin job? I decided to drop out of grad school becuase I can't waste money on something that won't be appreciated. I was a project manager before this job and I left becuase everyone was getting laid off and I took the first thing I could to get the hell out of there before a lawsuit happened. I should have never sold myself short becuase I can't stand busy work and making copies. Nobody wants to be a servant and my ego has suffered severely. No matter what I said in the interview and how well I display my knowledge, everyone still treats me like a child who has no experience. I could run circles around them if I just got a promotion. I'd almost rather not work at all than have this job. As bad as my previous company was, I almost wish I didn't leave because at least I had prestige and the ability to do real work. I feel that if I wasn't a woman I would have been making at least twice as much money as I am now. Everyday I come into work and see a parking lot full of BMWs and Range Rovers, I being to despise the doors I walk through. Even when I try to go to networking events, guys just hit on me and try to buy me drinks. Women aren't taken seriously and I can't stand it. I don't want to waste my life. I've paid my dues (literally and figuratively) and I'm tired of still doing it. How the hell do you get a promotion? That's what I want to know. Before the interview, I was told the woman in my position got a promotion after being here one year. It turns out that she's been here 10 years!!!!

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e in Stamford, Connecticut

85 months ago

Come to Connecticut. Admins are the ones driving the BMW's and Range Rovers.

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Jan in Birmingham, Alabama

85 months ago

I think it depends on where you live. I think that the coastal areas respect admins more and pay more. I know there is much more professional respect in Atlanta than B'ham, and I think that is true for a lot of places.

It is VERY hard to break out of the admin area. If someone likes you, and can "bring you up" you might get a chance. It definitely helps to have a degree, at least not having one won't stand in your way.

I think you almost have to get some kind of liscense or extra training and go into another field to break away from admin. As a girl from Flynt Michigan told me "don't be so good that someone else can't do your job (if you want to get promoted).

But it's not just admin, it's women in general. Check out what the female attys say about the law profession. I have come to understand that other than the federal govt, and some fields, such as real estate (which is commission based) despite gains there is total discrimination toward the "rank and file" average woman be it secretary, admin or whatever.

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:)@@ in Hackensack, New Jersey

81 months ago

lost in Phoenix, Arizona said: Are you kidding me? Who wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a college education just to be an admin? I have years of debt to pay off and I'll never make enough money being an admin to stop renting an apartment and pay off all my debt. It's not easy to move up in the job either. All the admins at my company are women and there are tons of them. All the men my age that just graduated college are managers. I am halfway through my master's degree and all I get is an admin job? I decided to drop out of grad school becuase I can't waste money on something that won't be appreciated. I was a project manager before this job and I left becuase everyone was getting laid off and I took the first thing I could to get the hell out of there before a lawsuit happened. I should have never sold myself short becuase I can't stand busy work and making copies. Nobody wants to be a servant and my ego has suffered severely. No matter what I said in the interview and how well I display my knowledge, everyone still treats me like a child who has no experience. I could run circles around them if I just got a promotion. I'd almost rather not work at all than have this job. As bad as my previous company was, I almost wish I didn't leave because at least I had prestige and the ability to do real work. I feel that if I wasn't a woman I would have been making at least twice as much money as I am now. Everyday I come into work and see a parking lot full of BMWs and Range Rovers, I being to despise the doors I walk through. Even when I try to go to networking events, guys just hit on me and try to buy me drinks. Women aren't taken seriously and I can't stand it. I don't want to waste my life. I've paid my dues (literally and figuratively) and I'm tired of still doing it. How the hell do you get a promotion? That's what I want to know. Before the interview, I was told the woman in my position got a promotion after being here one year.

I HEAR YOU!!

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Totally dejected and rejected in Evansville, Indiana

81 months ago

I moved to a larger city thinking I would have no trouble getting work, as I have many years experience in healthcare offices. Hah! I have started from the front desk and graduated to my own office in healthcare facilities and here I can't even get a decent job! I am now answering ads for home caring for the elderly---with no success!I will mention I am a little past middle-age and see the younger women reaping the good jobs. I can't change my age and am about to lose my home. What now?

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Makaal in Hartford, Connecticut

81 months ago

I am convinced that a college education is important at whatever level. I have watched the high end of "respect" given to those who have attended college or graduated from college and it is not the same for those who either don't have a degree or are not working on one. So, I am searching for courses online which would work best for my schedule. Any recommendations, please let me know.

By the way, I am not good at writing goals and objectives for my job as an Administrative Assistant. It is a new requirement for me at work and I have little experience in that area. Normally, I would proactively accomplish assignments as needed but now there is more structure to be developed. I know what I do but am stuck on how to word it. Any suggested language would give me a jump start 'cause I need it right now!!!!!!!!!! Appreciate it.

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Patricia in Ottawa, Ontario

80 months ago

So, I am searching for courses online which would work best for my schedule. Any recommendations, please let me know.

By the way, I am not good at writing goals and objectives for my job as an Administrative Assistant. ...

I agree College or online courses would be helpful. It is hard though if you are working to make the time for College and it can be expensive. If you can find something online at least you can do it from the comfort of your home. As for goals and objectives, here are some things to get you thinking along those lines. This is probably not exactly what you were looking for, but might be helpful:

What are Your Goals?
Do you have goals that you have set for yourself in your position? If not, think of some things that are doable. Maybe your goals are related to your bosses' goals in which case you would need to brush up on what those goals are and how your goals can relate.

OBJECTIVE:
What is your objective? I was applying for a job in the legal environment so I wanted to highlight that experience: Administrative support utilizing strengths in typing, speed, accuracy, software programs and organization to provide high quality services to professional staff in a legal environment.

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tina4545 in Pembroke, Georgia

80 months ago

Sounds good: have you tried Skillpath/Skillsoft they have many courses available online and you can do them at home to brush on skills.

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Patricia in Ottawa, Ontario

80 months ago

You can find me at: secretaryhelpline.blogspot.com/
I write articles for administrative assistants that you might find helpful.

Patricia

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tina4545 in Pembroke, Georgia

80 months ago

I already subscribe to the blog. It is very helpful. Good luck!

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cateer in Paoli, PA

80 months ago

Very interesting comments, all of them. For myself, I would not have been able to go into legal administration (law firm management) without a B.A. It has helped me tremendously in getting employment, even now when I have been laid off and am seeking employment at the age of 61! Administrative assistant is the new age term for secretary who can, will do, and expected to do anything from high level multi-tasking to gopher. No one wants to be called a secretary anymore. I have finally gotten over it, as long as I get a job. As written above, I do see many younger women getting the same salary as I am offered even though I have 30 years' experience. The answer is: it doesn't matter how much experience you have if the job responsibilities are the same and someone 30 years younger can do it just as well, or better, than you. But that B.A. does indeed come in handy when companies search and even demand that their candidates have bachelor degrees. Just look at the want ads of today. If you need a job you have to pound the pavement, as they say, and follow up on every single lead that even remotely sounds like an A.A. The exception I have found is when someone is looking for an Executive Assistant, a very different animal. The E.A. almost always works for the top people in a company and almost always require that bachelor's degree. But a recommendation from an established employee would come in very handy. If you're serious about a job, turn over every rock, FORGET what the title is, and if what they're looking for grabs for attention, your attitude and work ethic will get you that job and promotions, too. Be positive and you'll see results. I just did.

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Jodith Allen in Bellingham, Washington

80 months ago

Technically, according to the Dept of Labor anyway, the difference between a secretary and an Administrative Assistant is the amount of independence they have in performing their duties. A secretary performs duties as proscribed under supervision. She isn't given latitude to make decisions on her own. An Administrative Assistant works more independently and makes many decisions in how the workflow runs. I know some companies that have a clerical progression from clerk to secretary to assistant.

Jodith
administrativearts.com

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cateer in Paoli, PA in Southampton, Pennsylvania

80 months ago

Jodith Allen in Bellingham, Washington said: Technically, according to the Dept of Labor anyway, the difference between a secretary and an Administrative Assistant is the amount of independence they have in performing their duties. A secretary performs duties as proscribed under supervision. She isn't given latitude to make decisions on her own. An Administrative Assistant works more independently and makes many decisions in how the workflow runs. I know some companies that have a clerical progression from clerk to secretary to assistant.

Jodith
administrativearts.com

I make many independent decisions, am self-directed with minimal supervision and am still considered a secretary (a legal secretary). I an considered a legal administrative secretary. It covers all the bases. Probably in larger companies there are more distinctions. From all my years in the job market, I have seen administrative assistants do more clerical duties than anything else. That's why I recommend focusing on what the job responsibilities are, what the job entails, and if you are comfortable with those responsibilities, then go for it. It doesn't matter what the title is. I have not seen any company comply with what the Department of Labor describes for job titles.

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iva in San Francisco, California

79 months ago

All of your comments are wonderful and I hope that they've been helpful to you Verina.

In my career as an administrative assistant I've worked in New York, Maryland, Texas and California and while having an advanced college degree can help you advance in your career; you must remember that most modern companyies operate more like high schools in that they all have cliques and if you fit into the correct one it doesn't matter your age, experience level or education you will advance. I've trained HS grads that were promoted over experienced admins and secretaries within a matter of months; I've also trained young male college grads that were brought on-board as department managers with no hands-on work experience while the female graduates were brought on as administrative assistants or at best office managers.

In today's working era it's also helpful to join a network which can also foster job leads. I myself operate a blog that offers interviewing tips, job search techniques and general business strategies you may find helpful. andesattic.blogspot.com.
Another option I can suggest to keep your spirits up is to try and get certified as an administrative assistant or secretary. You can look up classes and trainging materials at the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) www.iaap-hq.org.

Good Luck

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JGer in Minneapolis, Minnesota

73 months ago

After spending nearly 10 years in this field I believe that working as an administrative assistant, executive assistant, secretary, (by any other name it's still the same job) is a terrible career. It's fine to start off in this kind of work to learn about an industry or a particular company, but this is not where you want to spend a career. I agree with the person who asked why anyone with a college degree would want to spend a career being a support person. This is unrewarding, unfulfilling work to say the least. A college degree is important because it gives one a sense of accomplishment and self-respect, regardless of what position you are in; but don't waste in the support field.

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Jodith in Bellingham, Washington

73 months ago

Well, obviously, if you feel that way about administrative work, then it really isn't the right job for you. Many of us do find the work to be both fulfilling and rewarding. It is important necessary work. Honestly, if you feel that way about the work, I can only imagine how you feel about the people who do the work. I don't think I'd want to work for you with that attitude towards assistants.

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Susie in Saint Petersburg, Florida

67 months ago

Jodith in Bellingham, Washington said: Well, obviously, if you feel that way about administrative work, then it really isn't the right job for you. Many of us do find the work to be both fulfilling and rewarding. It is important necessary work. Honestly, if you feel that way about the work, I can only imagine how you feel about the people who do the work. I don't think I'd want to work for you with that attitude towards assistants.

Amen sister!

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lost in Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

66 months ago

Yes Phoenix, I quite agree with you. I have been trying to get out of the admin role for years with no luck. I started with an associates degree and was told to be a manager I needed a Bachelor's degree - so I went back to school at night and got a Bachelor's degree in Business Admin with majors in Marketing and Economics. Worked like crazy to finish in a short time and kept up a 3.9 GPA. What did it do? Nothing. My lack of manager experience and years of admin experience on my resume has hurt me. When our office manager resigned I applied for the job. I've always had excellent reviews and combined with my degree and years of experience I thought I would get the job. But I was told that I was too valuable to lose as an admin and they wouldn't be able to replace me since I supported so many managers and teams. So they hired someone else. I left that company and went to another as a Marketing Assistant but the reality of the role was quite different than what they told me in the interview. It turns out it is really an admin assitant role - making copies, running reports and scheduling meetings for numerous directors. I was told later on that I need to stay in this role for at least 5 years then take classes in management training and possibly go for my MBA to show that I have what it takes to be a manager. Are you kidding me? One of our directors came right right out of college with a BA and he no management experience at all. Companies are VERY conservative in Milwaukee and I've seen too many still expect the 1950's secretary with their admins (get my coffe, runs personal errands, be at my beck and call, etc). It's unfortunate but I believe that once you are an admin you are one for life. The trick is to get in to a place where they treat you with respect and you are compensated fairly.

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Tei in Stone Mountain, Georgia

66 months ago

I agree with you Lost,

I've been an admin for years and want to get out. I may very little money and there's no place to advance to.

I'm planning to return to school in the fall to earn a degree in something totally unrelated to office work so that I won't keep getting pigeon-holed into this kind of work. I was going to get a business degree in hopes to get better admin jobs as I work in government and the pay is awful. But I realize now that I don't want to do admin work at all anymore.

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Sara Scott in RICHMOND, Kentucky

65 months ago

Totally dejected and rejected in Evansville, Indiana said: I moved to a larger city thinking I would have no trouble getting work, as I have many years experience in healthcare offices. Hah! I have started from the front desk and graduated to my own office in healthcare facilities and here I can't even get a decent job! I am now answering ads for home caring for the elderly---with no success!I will mention I am a little past middle-age and see the younger women reaping the good jobs. I can't change my age and am about to lose my home. What now?

Age is definitely a factor in the AA field, even if it shouldn't be of any consideration at all, it certainly is. I have been in the admin field for 29 years and find myself being passed over because I can't wear a mini skirt, low cut blouse, or drive a sports car anymore. I do have a degree, which, thankfully, I did not have to pay to get (the military did). I can remember a time when age meant wisdom and viewed as being more reliable, dependable, etc. Back then the older ladies were being hired above me, now that I am older, it is the opposite.

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CareerChanger in Brooklyn, New York

65 months ago

I am a teacher and am looking for a change. I'm not interested in being a principal or coach so there's no room for growth in my field. I took a career assessment that said my skills and interest lean more towards clerical work.

Are you saying that if I become an admin I will find my job unrewarding? I mean I would hate to give up an 8-3 work day and summers off only to find myself stuck at another job just in a different field.

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tj in Whiteville, North Carolina

65 months ago

Sara Scott in RICHMOND, Kentucky said: Age is definitely a factor in the AA field, even if it shouldn't be of any consideration at all, it certainly is. I have been in the admin field for 29 years and find myself being passed over because I can't wear a mini skirt, low cut blouse, or drive a sports car anymore. I do have a degree, which, thankfully, I did not have to pay to get (the military did). I can remember a time when age meant wisdom and viewed as being more reliable, dependable, etc. Back then the older ladies were being hired above me, now that I am older, it is the opposite.

i may be naive here in my response, and i may have to eat my words, but i think that age issues can be negated by attitude. I refuse to allow age to limit me anymore than i would let my gender limit me. thus far in life, that attitude has often seemed to overcome the barriers.

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Comment-asaurus in Atlanta, Georgia

64 months ago

Sara Scott in RICHMOND, Kentucky said: Age is definitely a factor in the AA field, even if it shouldn't be of any consideration at all, it certainly is. I have been in the admin field for 29 years and find myself being passed over because I can't wear a mini skirt, low cut blouse, or drive a sports car anymore. I do have a degree, which, thankfully, I did not have to pay to get (the military did). I can remember a time when age meant wisdom and viewed as being more reliable, dependable, etc. Back then the older ladies were being hired above me, now that I am older, it is the opposite.

I disgagree with you. While I am young I got an admin. job without wearing a high skirt or low cut blouse and I drive a Hyundai. I was hired because I had experience assisting higher ups in the company I was moving from and a Bachelors. My Mother in law went from being an AA in the military to a much higher position recently - and she is in her min-50s. So I fail to see how people can keep saying it has to do with age or manner of dress.

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Mary Vollmer in Fort Dodge, Iowa

64 months ago

Jodith in Bellingham, Washington said: Well, obviously, if you feel that way about administrative work, then it really isn't the right job for you. Many of us do find the work to be both fulfilling and rewarding. It is important necessary work. Honestly, if you feel that way about the work, I can only imagine how you feel about the people who do the work. I don't think I'd want to work for you with that attitude towards assistants.

I agree completely.

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Sarah in Abilene, Texas

63 months ago

CareerChanger in Brooklyn, NY said: I am a teacher looking for a change. there's no room for growth in my field. I took a career assessment that said my skills lean towards clerical work.

What area of teaching? There are admin assistant (AA) jobs in the educational field. Not sure, but perhaps with your next summer off, try it out as your summer job, if possible. At a school or elsewhere. I'd take it with a grain of salt about a career assessment leaning towards clerical. Find a professional job, where you'll end up doing some degree of your own clerical work anyway. I earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in organizational speech over 10 years ago, and though I have some experience related to my field, much of it was in an AA type of role. My 1st job after college was as a Temp AA, in fact my last job was the same, spanning 11 years time, 7 of them as a military spouse. Even working at an airline in corporate communications, I thought I'd be able to advance to being a communications specialist. After all, I came in seeking growth towards that, and the PR Director (still in place at that airline) told me it might take 2 years before an opening came up. Well, at least 2 openings came up in the nearly 1.5-years I was there, so I resigned after they hired from OUTSIDE of the company for one, the OUTSIDE of the department for the next. I suppose on my resume I emphasize that my latest AA work was while my husband has been Active Duty military as an excuse, because for me personally, it has not been my goal to perform this role after earning my undergrad degrees. Recently I was offered a job in my field, but approx min wage!! I was earning double that in a smaller city/low populated state, though it was government service. My current goal is to land a job, start a Masters, preferably w/ an Internship to help me break the mold of my resume showing admin experience. I should have hung in there longer for my 1st job out of college.

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mike in Jacksboro, Tennessee

63 months ago

I am currently enrolled in a admin. asst. program. After being laid off twice in five months, I decided to get out of the blue-collar work force. Judging from these posts, I am starting to get very nervous about my newly-chosen carrer path. I am a 40 year old man. Should I try for my A.A., or just go with the year-long program I'm now in?

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Sarah in Abilene, Texas

63 months ago

I believe Administrative Assistant work is a good field for always finding a job, as it will always be a need. Really, it is a good step I would say, if taking a step in another direction other than the blue-collar workforce.

However, there do seem to be a lot of blue-collar jobs that pay well. I know someone who started his own lawn care/landscaping business and business seems to be booming. When we had additional home insulation installed, I was amazed at how the job was done in under an hour, with a main boss who didn't do the job but touched base, and his two employees who did the job, and approximately $500 paid to them...surely not much of that went towards the actual installation and truck/machine equipment and gasoline to arrive to my house, etc; though I'm sure there are plenty of expenses I don't know about.

I just think of jobs like Plumbing and other Contractor work, especially if one has the skill or the ability to be an apprentice for an area. However, with aging or depending on how in-shape one is, general labor and in various weather conditions could get old and exhausting.

Hopefully your program allows you a chance to get a feel for it... to job-shadow someone doing the role, for example. I worked at temporary agencies and a start was to simply do a single day's work as a Receptionist and I got a little taste of Admin world back then. Even better, is if you are able to work in Admin while you complete the year for the program, that way you gain the experience, and perhaps a job change upon completion of the program can help you gain a higher rate.

I think in the low 30,000s is possible for many cities for Admin work, but without the experience it wouldn't surprise me to earn in the mid- to high- 20,000s for annual salary. Best of luck, Mike

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Patricia in Ottawa, Ontario

63 months ago

Depends who you talk to and where you live. I love my job and am treated well and reimbursed fairly. I think you have to know that an administrative assistant needs to be a service-minded person. You will be called upon to do many different tasks. If you are the type who likes to organize things for people, take care of someone and just have your hand in a whole lot of stuff, you will love it, but its not for everyone. It can be a very rewarding career and I have enjoyed it and have been at it for almost 30 years.

Patricia
secretaryhelpline.blogspot.com/

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Sarah in Abilene, Texas

63 months ago

Nice comment, Patricia. I like how you worded it all. Truly, I guess I have been doing Admin for 11 years now since it does fit me. I interviewed for an Admin role today, and felt super that I was one of five chosen out of 67 applicants. Though I may have goals related to 'using my journalism degree', perhaps those goals will be accomplished in my off-work time, such as freelance writing.

Probably many of the comments that scared Mike where folks wanting to see their specific field of education fit into a professional role that specifically required that educational expertise (or experience). But another gal had commented well on it too, saying something along the lines if one found themselves not liking their role (and this goes for any job role), then they probably aren't a great fit for it and should move on to another opportunity...take a different path.

I applaud Mike for being pro-active and taking a new path. His blue-collar work will certainly have transferrable skills that he can 'beef up' on his resume... working with team members, communicating, documenting the work done/written records for filing or tracking, etc.

Perhaps if one is not embracing their role as an AA, they need to figure out what it is they want while doing the role (i.e., some might do Admin in a college setting, while working on a degree program part-time).

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Marie in Staten Island, New York

63 months ago

I have been an Administrative Assistant/Office Manager for 25 years.
I was recently laid off from a new job after 4 months.
Since then I have been looking for a new position.
I responded to many online ads, applied on company websites,
and even city job boards.

So far I haven't received one positive response. I believe it could
be because I don't have a Bachelor's Degree. Now all the people who
would have never taken the Admin jobs, are applying for them.
The counselor at Workforce One told me my resume is good. I gave
her a copy, and even they haven't set up an interview for me.

I basically feel that I am being pushed out of the field I devoted
a lifetime to. I can't even apply for more than half the jobs I find.
I meet all the criteria and experience of the jobs, except for the degree requirement.

It's very disheartening and I feel like I am being pushed out of my field.

My previous manager had a Masters Degree. They made her do some filing for the CEO. She was so mad that she decided to resign shortly thereafter.
Then I got stuck with her filing but I was glad to do it. I told myself, at least I had a job.

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Sarah in Abilene, Texas

63 months ago

Marie,
Have you tried USAjobs.com yet? Government jobs, and some have temporary-hire or terminal-hire jobs if it's hard to get in permanent. I certainly do think when I've been hired or at least gain an interview for an Admin job, that my degree can only help, though never required. Yet I've had 11 years post-college experience, than about 2 years while in college, so that experience (admin) is more than what goes with my education (i.e., public affairs/public relations jobs I can't seem to get at entry-level).

Some examples:

closing date: 8/14/2009 for:
Secretary (Office Automation) Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration US-New York $42,837.00+
Vacancy Ann #:F-DEA-NYLAB-09-0626-DEU
Who May Apply:Public Pay Plan:GS-0318/07-08
Appointment Term:Permanent Job Status:Full-Time
Opening Date:07/30/2009
Salary Range:From $42,837.00 to $61,675.00 USD per year

Office Automation Assistant Defense Contract Audit Agency US-NY-New York $26,264.00+
Vacancy Ann #:D80003 Who May Apply:Public Pay Plan:GS-0326/05-06
Appointment Term:Permanent Job Status:Full-Time
Opening Date:02/27/2009
Salary Range:From $26,264.00 to $38,060.00 USD per year
Office Automation Assistant Defense Contract Audit Agency US-NY-Owego

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Marie in Staten Island, New York

63 months ago

Sarah in Abilene, Texas said: Marie,
Have you tried USAjobs.com yet? Government jobs, and some have temporary-hire or terminal-hire jobs if it's hard to get in permanent. I certainly do think when I've been hired or at least gain an interview for an Admin job, that my degree can only help, though never required. Yet I've had 11 years post-college experience, than about 2 years while in college, so that experience (admin) is more than what goes with my education (i.e., public affairs/public relations jobs I can't seem to get at entry-level).

Some examples:

closing date: 8/14/2009 for:
Secretary (Office Automation) Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration US-New York $42,837.00+
Vacancy Ann #:F-DEA-NYLAB-09-0626-DEU
Who May Apply:Public Pay Plan:GS-0318/07-08
Appointment Term:Permanent Job Status:Full-Time
Opening Date:07/30/2009
Salary Range:From $42,837.00 to $61,675.00 USD per year

Office Automation Assistant Defense Contract Audit Agency US-NY-New York $26,264.00+
Vacancy Ann #:D80003 Who May Apply:Public Pay Plan:GS-0326/05-06
Appointment Term:Permanent Job Status:Full-Time
Opening Date:02/27/2009
Salary Range:From $26,264.00 to $38,060.00 USD per year
Office Automation Assistant Defense Contract Audit Agency US-NY-Owego

Thanks for the tip Sarah. I certainly will give it a try.
It was nice to receive such a well thought out plan of action.

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Meg in Mc Connells, South Carolina

63 months ago

Hello, all!

There's a lot of interesting discussion going on here!

I'm a 23 yr. old recent college grad with a B.A. in English. I know, I know, hindsight is 20/20 and all that. If I'd known the way the economy was going to turn out, I'd have gone a more practical route ;) I'm considering going to my local community college for an Associate's in Office Systems Technology, but I can't help but think that now's as good a time as any to go after my Master's in...something. The thing is, I still don't know what I want to do with my life, and I really want a career where I can make enough to support myself and my parents when they age.
But now I'm terrified. What if I'll just be wasting two more years of school on a job that turns out to be dead-end? I'll work as hard as I have to, but I at least want to live safely above the poverty level and not get treated like bat guano for my efforts :P
So what do you all think? I know it's ultimately up to me and that my problem pales in comparison to many other people's, but should I fork over the extra money for a Master's in something or should I get the Office Systems Tech degree and be an Administrative Assistant? I wouldn't mind adminstrative work (I don't think), and I don't consider any task beneath me. I just want to make enough to survive. Any and all advice would be welcomed :)

Thanks!

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Marie in Staten Island, New York

63 months ago

To the 23 year old Grad with the BA in English.

I say don't become an Administrative Assistant. First off, you will eventaully
feel bad, when you see others at your work place being treated better.
They will be perceived as 'Professionals', and you will be considered at the
'Clerical Level'. Secondly, you should consider a degree in anything
related to Computer Science or the Medical field. These 2 fields have expected growth. If these fields don't seem interesting, than maybe continued
studies in Human Resouces. I think with the BA in English, you could
make a smooth transition to a Human Resource director. It pays well,
and requires good writing skills.

My sister used to be an Admin and she got a Bachelors in Computer Science
at a city college. Now she is doing better than anyone I know.

I on the other hand, was an Administrative Assistant for over 25 years,
and noe I can't get work. I was treated poorly at my jobs, overworked,
and hardly ever received raises. The salaries are not that good either.
I don't know many Admins who make over 50 K. Most make under 45K,
right here in New York City, the land of great opportunity.

This is just my opinion and maybe someone else has a successful Administrative
story.

Plus, when you are older and not so cute, if you have to get a new job
in Administative field, good luck.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

63 months ago

Marie - that is very well said - especially the last sentence, because it is very true. In a good economy and city, pay is decent. In a bad economy, pay is $10.00 an hour.

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Admin Conn

63 months ago

Hi - I live in Connecticut. I had a good experience, and my salary with overtime was 70K at a major corporation.

I was laid off in May of this year. I am shocked by what is out there and how rude the companies are trying to low ball the salaries.

Meanwhile, they are working for big money themselves. I remind them of the experience level, and the cost of living in the NorthEast.
Unless you live home with the family, or have a rich husband, most could not live off of the low ball salaries that are being offered.

Since my lay off, I have worked for 26 and hour and 30 an hour. I demand the higher pay because they are not paying benefits for these temp jobs and the agents are making a ton of money off of you.

It seems the new trend is admins. is that they have a BA degree.

I assure you if I had a BA, I would not work as an admin. for all the reasons the other poster mentioned.

There are still decent wages out there, if you look hard. A senior admin. in Finance can make 60K up.

A couple years, I made 80K.

Since my past employer is willing to, "readucate" , me, I will take the up on it. I may get Project Management Certification.

It's a bankable skill without going to school for 4 years. Plus, you get certified. They ahve similar financial certifications.

Good luck to all!

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Sarah in Anonymous Proxy

63 months ago

Marie in New York, hope you find something good-paying and well-deserving of your skills there. I agree, most admins in large or small cities I've lived in made under $45k.

Admin in Connecticut, wow, I don't think I've heard of that many successful admin stories as your experience. Probably that is a good key reminder too, you are open to continued education/certifications.

Meg in South Carolina. In hindsight, I think I would have entered a Masters degree immediately after undergrad. If someone enjoys school, a constant need to learn, and you majored in English because it is your area of love...reading, writing, expressing life and experience in words or gaining perspectives of others' words...then I say, aim for that Master's or Doctorate's. While in your 20s it seems prime to be a student, whereas once you become a spouse, own a home, have children, the priorities are different for managing time and money.

Having a lot of education under your belt and gaining internships or job experience that match your field is ideal. Especially if you'd like to be a Professor and publish academic articles. Or even if top companies/organizations hire you since you have a ton of education in your field, backed with some experience.

If one doesn't have the education, then playing up years of experience is an alternative. Not having either is the challenge. Or having an education in one area and experience in another, seems conflicting to one's goals. Seems common sense to match education with experience, however the need for financial stability or grabbing the first job opportunity that pays decent, can get in the way. Or various circumstances...location, moving out of parent's home, personal relationship changes.

Now I wonder how my college jobs helped me. Sure, I paid the rent and car payments, but waitressing would have been best if I wanted to go into the restaurant business; retail for fashion merchandising; receptionist for AA...

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Kat in Bronx, New York

63 months ago

Interesting issue here. I never write a comment but I am definetly related with this topic and have the same frustation as some in here.

I have been working as a Bilingual EA and trying hard to get out of that role as well. I left my last job for all the bad reasons related to being AA... I am now working on my Master's in Operations Management since my BS degree has not done anything for me to get me out of that field. I think I am young (32) and with chance to go for a career oriented position, and hope I will be able to get a management position (or at least one leading to it) after I am done with my Master's in a few more months...

Who knows, like someone said, when employers see you have been working as a secretary (ok., assistant), some how it is hard to be seen differently, to the point where a new grad with no experience can get a job leading to managment easier than someone who is working as admin.

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Marie in Staten Island, New York

63 months ago

I think it is best to have a technical skill associated with any
degree nowdays. The employers are looking for technical skills,
since everything is now technologically based.

Thirty two is young for most professions. For an Administrative Assistant
it is middle aged!

Try to get any job in you field that is not related to an AA, so you
won't get boxed in. Even if you have to do an internship. I have seen it many times before. Once an AA, always an AA. It is rare that we make the leap from AA to Management, at the same company.

Good luck.

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Shelby in Voorhees, New Jersey

61 months ago

I have been an Executive Assistant for 18 years and was laid off in August of this year. I had worked for a global consulting company and many people (Partners, Managers, Consultants, Analysts, and support staff) were laid off. Across the US, 100 Executive Assistants at my level were laid off and the jobs are being outsourced to an Indian tribe in Oregon, not joking! The company had already outsourced some admin. jobs to South America a few years ago but now it has found a new way to outsource. One of the Partners I used to support told me that her new virtual EA has no admin. experience! With all the new technology and self enablement tools, there's no need for an EA when companies can save money and make the executives do it themselves. When I left, the company was rolling out a new technology so you can check your email from your phone. The computer can read your emails to you over the phone! They already have websites for making travel arrangements, setting up conference calls and Telepresence that the executives can do themselves. I'm not job searching yet but I've been looking and there aren't a lot of EA jobs out there. There will always be a need for clerical work but I think companies will not hire as many EAs because of technology and outsourcing. I really don't want to do this type of work anymore and want to train for another field. I hope to do some volunteer work and learn a new skill in the process. Maybe go back to school and do something else.

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tthisjasi in Staten Island, New York

61 months ago

There will always be an EA job for a young beautiful assistant.
Plus they cost less money than the experienced EA's. I would bet
they have someone cute to tell their boring stories to.

It's true about the new technology decreasing the need for so many
EA's.

Everyone says to go into the Medical Assisting field, but the job
pays from 25k - 35k. It's only a good salary if it is your 2nd
household income.

The few EA jobs in New York are now "temporary", without benefits.

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CTAdminlaid off

61 months ago

I love the last response, and I think it is what is happening in the NY/CT area. I went on an interview this week. They wanted to pay 60K, and I was ok with that. But, after spending 1/2 a day there, they have not gotten back to me. Or, responded to my thank you letters, or calls. I found out they had 2 roles. And, one of my former colleagues was offered a job, and took a pay cut. I think she's younger. It's just so dissapointing to go on all these interviews, and some of the companies don't even get back to you after you spend hours there interviewing. I interviewed at one of the major banks recently and they mail back after I contacted them and said they had not made any decision. There's no follow up any more.

The employers have no courtesy towards the applicants because of the volume.

It's frustrating but I do see more opportunities coming up.

It's just hard to get any of the roles.

Once company did send me an email and thanked me for applying and said the former person decided to stay on.

I wish all the employers had that level of courtesy.

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tthisjasi in Staten Island, New York

61 months ago

At least you are getting the interviews. Keep up the good work and don't get discouraged. Some of us can't even seem to get an interview.
You must be getting Hot!

So many people have become discouraged and are giving up looking. If you stick with it, eventually your chances of getting hired may be greater.

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

61 months ago

tthisjasi in Staten Island, New York said: There will always be an EA job for a young beautiful assistant.
Plus they cost less money than the experienced EA's. I would bet
they have someone cute to tell their boring stories to.

It's true about the new technology decreasing the need for so many
EA's.

Everyone says to go into the Medical Assisting field, but the job
pays from 25k - 35k. It's only a good salary if it is your 2nd
household income.

The few EA jobs in New York are now "temporary", without benefits.

I am/was a legal assistant. Even when I was 25 I was always competiting in interviews with the beautiful girls with less skills. I have had some pretty decent jobs - but I would have had far better jobs, better opportunities and more money had I been young and very pretty.

The irony is that the not pretty (average) have to work to build skills, knowledge, education. The pretty just have to be pretty. At my last job (lasted two years) I constantly helped the secretary who sat next to me - and she was getting paid $11,000 a year more than I was.

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CTAdminlaid off

61 months ago

Believe me, I get discouraged, but I am single and have a big mortgage, and I am not a beauty queen, but look ok. I am over 40, and to get the interviews, I look as hard as I can. I use all sites, and even company websites. I go to job agents and use thier labs to better my skills. Then I keep in contact with some of the agents that have helped me. I apply for jobs all over, but mainly ones of interest, everywhere from Craigslist, to Indeed.com, simplyhired.com, careerbuilder, yahoo. I am everyone is looking but yes, it gets discouraging and I get disgusted, but when I look at my home, that I worked so hard for (2-3 jobs at one time), it motivates me to try harder and not give up. I have days I don't want to deal with it all (the search) but being resiliant helps.

The more you look.. the more you increase the chances of getting a job interview. But, we all know this, and how hard it is, and we all wonder if our resumes are going into the big internet black hole.

Some agents ask me to change things around on my resume even. I do it and then send it back over.

It's scary out there but we all have to keep trying. It is hard and you feel like your self esteem is going down the drain but you can't let that happen.

Stay strong, search all over, take breaks then resume the search.

Make a reference list and give it to the recruiters and the companies you apply to.

Get any free training you can. Apply at company sites, agents pretty much everywhere that is applicable.

My heart is with all of us. I am afraid also but I don't give up. I have been off for almost 6 months.

All the best to everyone

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SportsMom in Waterloo, Illinois

60 months ago

Sara Scott in RICHMOND, Kentucky said: Age is definitely a factor in the AA field, even if it shouldn't be of any consideration at all, it certainly is. I have been in the admin field for 29 years and find myself being passed over because I can't wear a mini skirt, low cut blouse, or drive a sports car anymore. I do have a degree, which, thankfully, I did not have to pay to get (the military did). I can remember a time when age meant wisdom and viewed as being more reliable, dependable, etc. Back then the older ladies were being hired above me, now that I am older, it is the opposite.

I have been in the administrative support field for over 25 years. I have been laid off for ten months. I apply to probably 20 jobs per week. I have gotten numerous interviews, even second interviews, but I'm still unemployed. I am fine until they realize my age. I just turned 50 this year, even though I'm in better shape than women in their 30s, I am considered old. I spoke with an HR Specialist who was working for a corporation and she told me that most companies are looking to hire people between the ages of 25 - 45. If you are not within that age range you are purposefully overlooked. If you are in your late 40s or older, you are considered too old to learn new things, a possible health risk, retiring soon, unfamiliar with technology, etc. Age discrimination is alive and well in the USA. Even though we have the experience to do the job better than most. It is excruciating to realize because I can't do anything about my age. I do think my age is one of the reasons I was laid off in the first place.

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SportsMom in Waterloo, Illinois

60 months ago

Shelby in Voorhees, New Jersey said: I have been an Executive Assistant for 18 years and was laid off in August of this year. I had worked for a global consulting company and many people (Partners, Managers, Consultants, Analysts, and support staff) were laid off. Across the US, 100 Executive Assistants at my level were laid off and the jobs are being outsourced to an Indian tribe in Oregon, not joking! The company had already outsourced some admin. jobs to South America a few years ago but now it has found a new way to outsource. One of the Partners I used to support told me that her new virtual EA has no admin. experience! With all the new technology and self enablement tools, there's no need for an EA when companies can save money and make the executives do it themselves. When I left, the company was rolling out a new technology so you can check your email from your phone. The computer can read your emails to you over the phone! They already have websites for making travel arrangements, setting up conference calls and Telepresence that the executives can do themselves. I'm not job searching yet but I've been looking and there aren't a lot of EA jobs out there. There will always be a need for clerical work but I think companies will not hire as many EAs because of technology and outsourcing. I really don't want to do this type of work anymore and want to train for another field. I hope to do some volunteer work and learn a new skill in the process. Maybe go back to school and do something else.

I agree with you that technology is making the administrative support field disappear. The need for someone to do all your typing, copying, faxing, etc. is no longer necessary. It can all be done automatically or through email. Some offices are even going totally paperless. I have been attending college for almost two years now. I am getting a BS in Information Technology. My plan is to start my OWN business.

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Laidoff in CT

60 months ago

I am 46, just had a final round interviwe at an Investment bank. I made it to the last 2. They probably thought I was younger since I have good skin. But, they wrote me a nice letter and said that I made to the final round and the team picked the other person. I spent 2 days there, and wrote many letters. I was close but didn't get it. So, now I am back to the drawing board. It's so hard to get a job, but we have to keep trying.

Also, I worked in Technology and for one of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world. My job was cut. Now I get interviews but I am always in the top 2 or 3. Yet someone else always seems to get the job.

But, my advice to all is to not give up and keep on applying.

Best wishes to everyone finding a new job.

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tthisjasi in Staten Island, New York

60 months ago

I think you ladies are on to something. I can't even get the interviews set up.
You must be on the right track, so don't give up.

Just the fact that you have been invited back for second interviews seems hopeful. Maybe the next time you will be the one they choose.

Are you getting these interviews set up through job posting or agents.

P.S. I am the Granny of the group at 49.

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