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Host

How did you get your start doing administrative assistant work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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MBlake in San Diego, CA

99 months ago

In the first 2 weeks of a new job,I met and made copies for a guy who turned out to be the director of Engineering.
A few months later, he left the company. I contacted by him, with an offer to become his Administrative Assistat in a company he started.

This is a position I had no experience in and I was hesitant to accept the offer, yet I did and became a successful assistant working for him in also anther company he started 3 years later.

All it takes to be the best Admninstrative Assistant is Customer Service and computers skills

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deb in Monroe, North Carolina

98 months ago

I relocated from NJ to NC in hopes of a new life and cannot believe I am unable to find an Admin. Asst. position paying more than $10./hr. I have over 15 years experience, and everyone in this title range knows the list of duties for an Admin. Asst. goes on forever. We woman do everything for everyone in the office and most of the time they're taking a coffee break while we're working. Its endless, tiring, and basically gets no gratification. The money is ridiculous and basically an insult. As an Admin. Asst. your pulled in every direction possible, everything is a priority, and your expected to have the answers for every question, and don't dare have a bad day. Your customer srv. skills demand sharpness and you better be available for whoever feels their work is a priority. I want to know...where is the money. Where is the payment for all of this. Admin. Asst's are definately underpaid and its about time we get the money and recognition we deserve.

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Emma (Host) in Stamford, Connecticut

98 months ago

Sometimes a good way to find a job that matches your work experience is by searching various keywords. For example, rather than doing a search for Administrative Assistant, you could do a search for Executive Administrative Assistant. Below are two links that you may find interesting. One is a search for Executive Administrative Assistant in NC and the second is a Salary Search comparing the differences in salaries for various admin jobs.

Job Search in NC:
www.indeed.com/jobs?q=executive+administrative+assistant&l=North+Carolina

Salary Search:
www.indeed.com/salary?q1=administrative+assistant&l1=&q2=executive+administrative+assistant&l2=&q3=senior+administrative+assistant&l3=&tm=1

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Donna in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina

96 months ago

Deb, I'm there with you about the pay. I have 25 years experience, MS certified and offered $10-12. I don't take it, yet. I was making $21.
Being an admin is difficult - yes, but in the right environment, I find very gratifying. I have had a mix of 25/75 - the 25% can take a flying leap - but the 75%, I would do anything for.
Just keep trying, keep the good attitude up. I have a soft heart for NJ - I'm a born/bred NC - married to a NJ. Keep your chin up and be patient. There really are good jobs out there. Now is a good time.

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Patricia in Toronto, Ontario

89 months ago

I agree with Donna. I have had my share of bad Admin Asst. jobs, but I have also had excellent jobs. My current job being one of them. I would recommend not being too fast to accept a lower end AA position. I worked for an agency for a few months at many lower end jobs, but just waited for the right one to become available and it did and I have been it it for 11 years now in the legal field. The money is good and there is room for growth. Unfortunately, most AA jobs eventually reach their maximum salary level, but it can be upwards of $60,000. I am not there yet, but still working at it. Getting closer. I enjoy my work and find it satisfying. Also, we are very appreciated in our office and recognized for our invaluable service and knowledge of "everything that goes on in the office".

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Brenda in Atlanta, Georgia

89 months ago

I am a 52 year administrative professional. I have been looking for a job for the past six months. I left my last job (which I made over $51,000 a year)because I was burned out. About six months later my husband became very ill, subsequently disabled due to kidney failure. Talk about a life altering change and unemployed.

I know the jobs are out there--be persistent. Follow-up and network with everybody you come in contact with. The one thing I regret is not making my employer pay to keep my software and management skills up-to-date and fresh. I solicit help from peers and even my son (whose in college) to teach me new software.

Don't give up! I don't plan on it--even though some people think 52 is old :)!!!

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Small Town near Big Town in Charlotte, North Carolina

89 months ago

Can someone please explain something to me about the Executive Level asst positions? I have been at the C-level (as was explained to me CEO, CFO, Directors, etc.) for about 11 yrs with 24 yrs overall. I was laid off from F500 after 18 yrs and have had 3 long term and a few permanent positions since then - all "C" levels.
Why do some employers think they can combine workload of 2 positions, give it the Exec Asst or Exec Admin title, and expect one person to do this job? I left a position because the workload was overwhelming. After THREE WEEKS, my "boss" made the comment, well I guess you know all our procedures, processes, and where to get info. I had interviewed very well with him and thought he hurried through because he was busy. Nope - that was his nature all the time, condescending.
I am interviewing for a job "Admin Asst", the pay is that of an upper entry level, but the job description is that of an Sr or Exec level. Factoring in insurance, I would be making 50% of what I had before.
How do others handle the situation of too much work in the position or extremely lower pay for an advanced level?
I understand selling yourself, however, I just see more companies pushing those with knowledge and skills way past what is reasonable. I have strong MS competency, budget, and workload management skills - why can't we be paid for them?

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Small Town near Big Town in Charlotte, North Carolina

89 months ago

Patricia in Toronto, Ontario said: I agree with Donna. I have had my share of bad Admin Asst. jobs, but I have also had excellent jobs. My current job being one of them. I would recommend not being too fast to accept a lower end AA position. I worked for an agency for a few months at many lower end jobs, but just waited for the right one to become available and it did and I have been it it for 11 years now in the legal field. The money is good and there is room for growth. Unfortunately, most AA jobs eventually reach their maximum salary level, but it can be upwards of $60,000. I am not there yet, but still working at it. Getting closer. I enjoy my work and find it satisfying. Also, we are very appreciated in our office and recognized for our invaluable service and knowledge of "everything that goes on in the office".

YOU GO GIRL - I have worked with attorneys and know that you deserve that salary. I just wish I could come even close to what I was making 3 yrs ago. For the jobs that have the same salary, 75% of them are 2 positions that have been combined, a workload that is 55-60 hrs/wk (paid for 40), or recently "vacated" by someone who has "left the company" (translation: left because boss was bad), had medical problems that we tried to work with her on (found out twice, it was from same reason as above), or this is a "new" position - translation: someone else needed the admin to do their less desirable jobs, so the Exec Admin's job description was re-written to include these new "tasks".
Sorry - I babble, just frustrated that employers expect us to take bones when we usually are their infrastructure and sometimes, their backbone.
I do love my job - I just don't appreciate being treated as less needed than anyone else on the "bosses team".

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rw in Boca Raton, Florida

88 months ago

Recept./Typist/Greeter/Clerk/Filer/Data Entry/Sec'y./Mailroom Tech./AR/AP-person/Cust. Svc. Rep./Gopher/Gen'l. Office/Supply, Meeting, Event, Flight Coordinator,etc...These are the responsibilities, and more, in the A.A. job classification. It used to be, (back in the days), that these thirteen(-plus)duties would be assigned to, perhaps, 8-13 people to fulfill. It seems that the general "secretarial" position of former years has been re-named and re-defined as the new, supercharged, super-hero: "Admin. Asst." As semantics have changed with the classification of this position, so have the responsibilities. While the wagescale and job opportunities have decreased due to "down-sizing," "streamlining," technological- and/or population -growth (or just plain due to a poor economy for real workers), the workload has expanded exponentially. To me, it has been not only a "war of words" in the re-classification of the job title, but a fight of equal fairness in recompense to the workers it affects. There was a particularly intensive "cross-over" period when the newspaper was still sprinkled with the various job names of the above, and the hiring trend was to combine all the aforementioned job descriptions into the categorical catchphrase of Administrative Assistant. I valiantly fought and lost the battle to keep the old descriptions still intact (and by association, the proper wages for each function intact)so that fair recompense would remain on the work-side (thereby benefitting the company). However, the facts on the ground have changed and the benefits are first reaped by the company. They certainly receive their monies' worth from the employees in this job capacity titled A.A. After about 15 years, progrssively earning less and doing more, I got out -- but have to reconsider, now, due to unemployment. Try starting as a receptionist, file clerk, data entry operator, etc. and see where it will lead you. Practice typing skills and software knowledge.

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Alice Banda in Lilongwe, Malawi

88 months ago

Thanks RW of Boca Raton, Florida for the enlightment. I like the description of AA. Really as AA we not well paid, all this time i thought it's only here, am surprised to read through that you face the same problem of being underpaid.

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barbara

83 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing administrative assistant work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

i took some classes at community college in computer, then went on to some credit classes in office technology. If you can type and answer a phone and use the computer a little you can do receptionist work. They usally just want you to answer the phone and type a little. If you take a course in word processing or just read your manual that came with your computer about your word processing software you can probably do the typing they need. Most places tell you exaclty how they want things done so that helps. Going through a temp agency first is the best way to get in the door and get experience. Good Luck!!

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Scorpio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

82 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing administrative assistant work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

I have just been hired for being a administrative office assistant but i really dont know all the steps that i need to know another problem is that i will be running the office buy myself could you give me some type of tips to stay at this job for aslong as i can i really could use your help.

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marie in Mesa, Arizona

82 months ago

I have been a stay @ home mother for 14 years..I working as a administrative/clerk in the billing dept. of a large power plant. Worked there for 8 yrs. moved out of state and started a family...I want to get back in the field. I have took a couple of classes to brush up on my computers skills...It seems that since I have been away from the work force for so long, it does not give much of a chance.

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Jeanni in Wilmington, Delaware

81 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing administrative assistant work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

I have over 15 years of experience as an Admin Assistant. The best suggestions I can give are to take a Career Test to see if you have the basic skills first. You will need to be VERY organized, detail-oriented, and have lots and lots of patience. Will also need major juggling skills in larger companies. Absolute musts for Admin work: Microsoft skills including Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Phone, and great proofreading skills. In general, you are a glorified babysitter, but it is rewarding if you have the patience for it. Believe it or not, once trained and have been in a company for a while, you'll know more about the inner workings and company in general than most of the people you will support. I went to a secretarial school many years ago to learn the basic computer stuff, file maintenance, shorthand - they don't use that anymore, and proofreading,editing, etc. You can probably self-teach most of it yourself. Good luck to you..it takes a special person to be an Admin....a mommy of sorts.

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Jodith Allen in Bellingham, Washington

81 months ago

I got into admin work in a roundabout way. I was working as a dispatcher at a private ambulance service. They had an opening in the billing office, and I was burned out as a dispatcher, so I applied for that job. Well, that led to a higher level acct asst job at the local university. When I had some downtime, I worked on teaching myself how to use word and excel, and was able to work into a job as receptionist/secretary for a very small mom and pop outfit. That led to a more advanced secretarial job at a bigger company, and later and Admin Asst to a director at a large, multinational software company. When my boss got promoted to VP, I was promoted with him to Exec Asst.

I never took any specific classes to become an admin asst. I've taken a couple of advanced Excel and Access classes when I got further than I could figure out from the books. But other than that, I'm mostly self taught. However, I do have about 4 years of college education under my belt. I never graduated because I kept playing musical majors, but that almost college degree has made the difference in several job interviews I've been on. A lot of executives are looking for bachelor degrees or equivalent these days for their Executive Assistants, so don't totally dismiss the idea of getting some formal education, even if it's just an associates degree.

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