College degree needed to be a secretary

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azurri in Bellevue, Washington

52 months ago

This is a reality in Washington State. Among researching for employment, an entry-level position, or a wage position have requirements or even the word "preferred" in the qualifications for positions such as: "dog walker", "customer service representative", "driver", "courier", "hostess". I am currently working towards my doctorate in biomedical anthropology and have my master's in medical anthropology and my bachelor's in anthropology. However, during this entire time, I have worked at Starbucks to pay the bills and to have a benefits package. But what I have noticed is that my work experience as a "barista" in the coffee business, which is seven years now, is more helpful to me than having my degrees in finding immediate gainful employment. I am very proud that I have pursued my education in a field of my passion because it is when I perform best, but if I were to apply for a wage position, I would be very confident to be hired because of the fact that I have maintained steady employment, references, and networking skills through my "menial" job. I know many individuals who enjoy their jobs, but I always know many who despise their current state of work and wish they could do something like me. I have had to work full-time and attend school full-time for the entire time at the University of Washington and it is not an easy feat but can be done.
Working at a "menial" job can mean creating references, work experience, giving yourself a taste of society outside of academia. I've stayed with Starbucks because they have treated me well, and the benefits package is enviable by some of my colleagues who have received their master's and have not had any job offers. I never applied for school loans, but only for grants and scholarships. I started out at minimum wage and now I make $12.00 an hour. But because I work full-time I don't have the need for loans because my income can cover extras and I live humbly.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

I'm 52 years old and I never went to college. I have the equivalent of a high school education with business and vocational school training. When I first started working in the late 70's, I was a nursing home dietary aide. I didn't go to college to learn how to set up trays, to know the patients' diets, and what foods they could and couldn't eat. I was not a dietitian, where you have to go to college. There's a big difference between a dietary aide and a dietitian.

I also didn't go to college to learn how to type and do office procedures. And I didn't go to college to get into the telemarketing field either. I didn't go to college to learn how to recruit doctors for focus group discussions and to do telephone surveys. I didn't go to college to solicit credit card accounts over the phone.

I took up freelance writing 5 years ago, and I didn't go to college. I am though taking a home-study writers course through the Long Ridge Writers Group up in Connecticut. I didn't go to college have my letters to the editor published, to have Green Acres trivia questions published in a farm magazine, or to have nearly 300 articles posted on Helium.com.

Let's not forget that when you were in high school, you had secretarial courses. Also, back in the 1980's, there were plenty of secretarial schools then as well. Nowadays, and I hate to say it, the secretarial schools have gone the way of the dinosaur. There's very few of them around.

I still think that it's stupid and rediculous to have a college degree for an administrative assistant. But unfortunately, that's what the companies want today. A lot of executives today are so super busy and travel a lot, so they needed somebody to supervise abd manage the office staff.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

But this is a valid point. I might want to research this.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: One would hope these things would help you get a job. But, face it, after one turns fifty, and, realistically, much sooner, one must expect age discrimination. No matter how professional they are or present themselves, companies simply don't want older employers for the reasons I set forth in my post, above.

In any event, good luck with your job search.

I agree with you on that. We live in a youth-oriented culture today, and it's just not in the job market. It's in the entertainment field as well. They want to cater to the younger people. That's not right.

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Nanlisa in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

52 months ago

I did find out that for senior and executive-level administrative assistant positions, you have to have a college degree. For anything under that, you just need a two-year degree.

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Pamellita in Parkersburg, West Virginia

51 months ago

Anne in Littleton, Colorado said: I think you have to consider your age when deciding if it's really worth it to get a degree. I don't think the degree will help much if you're over forty. If you are you'll probably be deemed as overqualified or experience age discrimination.

I totally disagree. Most MBA candidates are in their late 30s!

I hope that this is not the normal attitude with enployers. I am a displaced worker in my middle 50's, I finish college as an Associates Degree in Executive Administrative Assistant in June 2010. I have worked all of my life in the clerical/secretarial field, yes; but if someone offers college to you at no tuition or book cost, and reimburses for travel, it is foolish to say no. I am a much better worker than a student, although I was no slouch exactly as a student, but I did have to put my whole life on hold while I concntrated on schoolwork.

What I have read here isn't exactly encouraging. My life after graduation is a blank slate, because I can move to anywhere I want to. I look forward to rejoining the workforce, and living a life again.

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

I applied for a part time positon as an admin. I received an email asking for a degree. I responded as follows;

Thank you for writing me back. I wasn't sure why an administrative position would require a Bachelor Degree, but I do have sufficient experience and have worked in much higher level positions as a business analyst and senior administrative assistant with GE Corporation for over 13 years. I was also the Marketing Coordinator for xxfor a number of years before I worked for GE and worked for a Marketing company as well. Providing, "hands on" experience in the field.

Additionally, I did study marketing at xxUniversity and have credits there although no BA, (I am working on it though).

My last 3 contract jobs were Project Coordinator roles at major companies and institutions such as Yale University and Hospital, xxand xxcorporation. While at these organizations, I did market reseearch, and business analytics and participated in project planning with executive management.

I am not sure why many years of working for major corporations is discounted due to the poor economy, but if I had a BA in Marketing, I would probably want to work in Management and not as an admninistrator. I hope you can understand but realistically, I feel many corporations are taking advantage of a troubled economy, and requiring business degrees for positions that did not require them in the past.

Personally, I think this philosophy is judgemental and unfair to those who actually worked hard to earn experience in the business world. I appreciate your contacting me but I have to communicate my view on such a requirement. Someone with a BA may not choose to stay in an administrative role, where someone who truly wants to be an administrative assistant would.

I know am qualified and capable of being an administrative assistant and I have plenty of experience to do a fine job.

All the best to you, and thanks again.
s

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

As a follow up. Well I guess the company didn't appreciate my letter as they sent back a standard form letter in PDF form and it said, "UNQUALIFIED" in big letters.

I wish some one in the press would do an article on the "new discrimination" that is going on here.

Funny that Yale, one of the most prestigious universities would be fine with my experience as was t he largest company in the world. Yet, I am considered to be not worthy for a part time job in a field in which I worked in for over 15-20 years.

Currently, I am doing a temp job in an HR Dept. of another large corporation. It sure is an employers market at this time.

Has anyone had to deal with this also:?

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Mary inTampa in Tampa, Florida

51 months ago

I can't believe any company would send out the type of rejection letter you just stated. That is so low.

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dee in Boston, Massachusetts

51 months ago

Dear LaidOffinConn:

I have encountered the same situation, many times over. I posted of this subject, on this forum, many months ago. I believe this is age discrimination, as it IS NOT essential to have a degree to successfully fulfill the position of administrative assistant, especially so when you have worked in this field for many years.

Employers are most likely asking for college degrees, so they can single out the "older" (40-50+)job seekers. I would probably think about sending them an email back, in response to theirs, in all capital letters, reading "AGE DISCRIMINATION!!!!!!" It is a very frustrating job market. Please try not to succumb to their ignorance. Perservere and someone will eventually see you for what you truly are....a professional, not a number.

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Travis in Osseo, Minnesota

51 months ago

Scarlett said: Why is a college degree needed to be a secretary/receptionist/typist? What ever happened to life experience and good old fashioned common sense? I know the answer is that there is an overabundance of college degrees out there and, therefore, employees can now ask for degrees for the most menial jobs imaginable. When I got out of secretarial school, I taught myself, and was taught by some wonderful people on the job, pretty much all that I needed to know. I never got the sheepskin for financial and familial reasons and it now seems that I cannot compete anymore with all the freshly minted people coming out of colleges with BAs and above. How many employers really think that anyone with a BA is going to be content to be a secretary, or administrative assistant. Did they really lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a glorified secretary? Will someone please explain to me why a degree is necessary to properly answer a phone, take accurate messages and compose and type correspondence. No, I certainly don’t know everything, but I love to read, and learn, and give me a day or two and I will be up to speed. Learning how to learn is just as important, if not more so, than where it was learned.

Education is over valued. They just use a piece of paper as one method to screen you out. Which is exactly why in 2-3 more years even a Bachelor's degree will be nearly worthless. I know a large number of people that are either going back/ or staying in school because of the market. It gives them a chance to defer their loans, or barely get by while looking for work.

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

The letter was standard, but it was named in the PDF in all caps and attached to an email. It's probably what they send out all the time. I was just as shocked, believe me.

I don't take this personally, but at least I had the opportunity to speak my mind on this one. I know someone had to have read my former email. I wasn't rude but explained my position.

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

I am sure my response shocked them as not many would speak up in this economy. But, after 35- 40 interviews, i've come across a lot. Some companies are truly professional. I have been stood up by major corporations for interviews they confirmed. Only once on that, and another smaller company. But, still I had some good interviews and made some connections.

I could just imagine the reaction if I had sent back what you mentioned. But, I am sure the letter got them going. Your comment made me laugh. But, you are right, it's not worth it. I got to speak my mind and I feel better they got my email (which I posted on the formum).

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

I see your point here. Not sure why the school I went to for Administrative studies which was a leader in the industry at the time, Katharine Gibbs, is now worthless, along with my other creditials from paralegal school and college credits.

Well, I just got a letter stating I qualify for a grant for re-education. Maybe I will use it!

I think the only way to get a job now is to either via temp /contract or, if you know someone. They have very younger generation screeners going through resumes.

I have worked in 2 HR dept.'s since my lay off. I am amazed at what I see.

Where I am now is nice, they seem to operate on the "old regime" and have many varied aged workers including administrators over 40 and 50.

It's rare to find. I hope I can stay in there for a while. But, it's only a short term assignment.

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Laidofflast3jobs in Arlington, Texas

51 months ago

Angel Watson in Panama City, Florida said: I completely agree with the comment.., "Why do we have to have a degree to be an administrative assistant..,"

I started in this career aproxmately 20yrs. ago and for the first time in 20yrs. I have found myself with a "Job Elimanation", of all things. I have NEVER had trouble obtaining employeement, until now that is. Years ago ( longer than most of you could probably remember), we started off with a handshake and an opurtunity to prove ourselves. Now you need a BS to answer the phone! Where is good olde fashion common sense.

I've had a diverse background in secretarial/administrative support and for the past 20+ years worked for 3 major corporations in the aerospace industry and thought I would retire from each. After working at one company 9 years, one company 7 years, one company 4 years. My second lay off was from a company where I got a 5% raise EVERY year for 8 years. My 9th year I got a 7% raise and was laid off 3 months into the next year. Wish I'd turned down the raise...

I've been laid off since Feb 2009. I have NEVER been out of work this long. I always quit jobs to go to a better paying, career advancement opportunities job. I'm early 50's and, as well as y'all, can run circles around these young girls with their degree in "basetweaving" because I really think that's all you should need to be an admin asst because OTJ and experience counts for a lot. I also used to be intimidated by an interviewer that was 20 years younger than me. I considered it degrading to be judged by a "snotty nosed" kid. I have come across interviewers that made me feel like I was wasting their time.

REGARDING GOOD OLD FASHION COMMON SENSE...You don't learn that in college!!!!!!!!

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ButtercupYorkieLover02 in Tarrytown, New York

51 months ago

Its insane a good secretary never needed a college degree. They always were smart, intelligent and intuitive. My Grandmother was a career Administrative Assistant without an ounce of college. Common sense lifeskills. I have a BA and am working on my Masters and I enjoy Secreterial work I find it calming and wonderful to help run an office. I have applied for many seceterial positions and I always get the your too qualified answer. Well why is BA in the job script?

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Joanna in Berwyn, Illinois

51 months ago

I have been an administrative assistant and learned Microsoft skills on the job, by reading books, magazines with tips from other readers, learning from my co-workers and when I have been tested on my skills when I went to employment agencies I also have done very well on them. When I was in school, they did not have Windows, they did not even have DOS, and I learned it, now they learn this in elementary school. At my former job, one of the managers had his 5th grade son help him with a PowerPoint presentation he wanted to give. Shows you do not need college to do that. What classes to you have to take to get a degree? Algebra, Chemistry, Biology. Do you use that in the office? I had Algebra in high school and almost failed, I could not understand what x + y meant and to this day, it was useless knowledge, but I had to take it to graduate. I did much better in basic math, although today I depend on a calculator for everything. I can see taking a class in something that will relate to the job, but not requirements like you have to do English, Math, Science, History & Foreign Language to graduate. I do not have a degree and do not plan to get one after getting by without one. I read about a man who has a Masters degree in business working as a cashier in Target. Talk about a waste of money on a degree for that. I hope that he can find a better job when the economy improves.

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LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut

51 months ago

I agree with your points. I made a good salary without a full degree. I made as much if not more then people with master's degrees. I was an administrative assistant for a large cocmpany, I had some college and 2 certificates from top business schools for Administrative assistants and paralegals. I never used the paralegal educations and I took the Math economics, etc. at Katherine Gibbs school. Much of my trainingi came from the companies. Back to my point, I am a single white women now in my 40's and I makeover 70K at my admin job and another 20K from my rental. Now I am down to spotty income and working contract jobs, collecting in between if I can't find work.

Still as a temp, I am doing ok, and scraping buy. It's scary, but hopefully things get better. I don't feel like going back to school at my age. I am already tired from years of working. But, I may have to take some type of a program since all this Obama push for education is impacting how employers look at candidates.

Why isn't the training I took at Katherine Gibbs School worth anything now? I took accounting, economics, english, etc.

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Lupe G in Plano, Texas

50 months ago

I don't believe that requiring someone to have a degree is age discrimination, in itself. And I am a huge advocate for fairness in hiring. I filed an age discrimination lawsuit myself.

But no, a company requiring you to have a college degree for a position is not age discrimination.

It may be unfair, but its not illegal discrimination.Sorry.

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dee in Boston, Massachusetts

49 months ago

Response to the below comment:

I tend to disagree that "mandating" a degree over years of experience is not being discriminatory. I have over 20 years experience, as an executive assistant, and didn't need a degree to do my job efficiently, nor was one ever required. Employers are now asking for a degree to attract the younger job seekers. Some have gone even so far in asking for "recent" college graduates. I repeat, you do not need a degree to fulfill the requirements needed for a secretarial position. There was a time when an employer valued you for your past accomplishments, excellent work ethics, and what you could bring to their organization. Now, age has become the prevelant factor. People are subjecting themselves to cosmetic surgery with the hope of increasing their chances of getting hired. This alone speaks for itself.

-----------------------------------------------------

I don't believe that requiring someone to have a degree is age discrimination, in itself. And I am a huge advocate for fairness in hiring. I filed an age discrimination lawsuit myself.

But no, a company requiring you to have a college degree for a position is not age discrimination.

It may be unfair, but its not illegal discrimination.Sorry.

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Deborah James in Menlo Park, California

49 months ago

-----------------------------------------------------

I don't believe that requiring someone to have a degree is age discrimination, in itself. And I am a huge advocate for fairness in hiring. I filed an age discrimination lawsuit myself.

But no, a company requiring you to have a college degree for a position is not age discrimination.

It may be unfair, but its not illegal discrimination.Sorry.
___________________________________________________________________

It is not age discrimination. Companies may be trying to thin out the ranks of the numerous applications they receive. Secretarial work does not require a college degree, but applicants with even an AA in business are looked upon more favorably than applicants without; unless they have years of experience which usually separates the wheat from the chaff.

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laid off in Connecticut in Norwalk, Connecticut

49 months ago

I agree with you. I have proved this dumb and rediculous degree requirement to be a joke many times over.

Since my lay off I have worked at Yale, Prudential and other large-scale companies. I make a higher rate based on my experience. I have college credit and a Business School certificate from Katharine Gibbs.

Currently, I am working at my former employer and may be changing to another employer, making more then my last salary on a contract to hire deal. These are huge global organizations.

So, the degree requirement is BS. 2 years ago I made over 100K betwen my job and 16K in rental income.

I am so sick of the new nonsense that employers are now pulling. Either you are born smart or you are not.

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

49 months ago

As long as the economy is in a depressed state, employers are in the driver's seat. They are in a position to say what types of qualification they want their employees to possess - and people who are looking for work - has to follow by their rules. If they want you to have a college degree combined with experience, then that is what they want. The sad part is, although you may have the degree and experience - it still doesn't mean they will hire you. Unfortunately, there is no choice - either job seekers will have to meet the job qualifications the employers demand or work for yourself. As the saying goes - don't hate the player, hate the game! And employers are playing the game - the job seeker has to decide if he wants to play! If so, you have to play by the employer's rules ! I know it sucks, but that's the way it is!

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cobi in Elmsford, New York

47 months ago

LaidOffinConn in Norwalk, Connecticut said: I am sure my response shocked them as not many would speak up in this economy. But, after 35- 40 interviews, i've come across a lot. Some companies are truly professional. I have been stood up by major corporations for interviews they confirmed. Only once on that, and another smaller company. But, still I had some good interviews and made some connections.

I could just imagine the reaction if I had sent back what you mentioned. But, I am sure the letter got them going. Your comment made me laugh. But, you are right, it's not worth it. I got to speak my mind and I feel better they got my email (which I posted on the formum).

You should also anonymously post the name of the company and the details on Glass Door .com. It would be interesting to find out what it would have been like to work there.

Anyway, whenever I have a bad interview (like Age Discrimination where they lost interest the second they saw I was not 20) I trash the company on Glass Door.

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sue in Parker, Colorado

47 months ago

No one knows how "old" you are until they see an actual application. If they like you and your skills, they will hire you. If you are "worried" that you are too old, you won't get hired because that WORRY WILL COME ACROSS in an interview. I see way too many concerns with "age" here and really -- NO ONE knows how 'old' you are - it isn't AGE -- it is ENERGY LEVEL.

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GINA in Gurnee, Illinois

47 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Your app statement is a non-starter. For one thing, job apps don't ask for age or birth dates. It's illegal to ask one's age. But it doesn't matter; employers can determine age simply by viewing you. Also employers have an uncanny ability to determine age from resumes, even if resumes are carefully constructed to omit age references.

Employers may hire candidates despite their age, but don't bet on it. You have a better chance of winning at blackjack in Black Hawk.

BS
You are asked dates and years of graduation all the time on applications.

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Nacon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

46 months ago

Hello all, I came across this posting and had to respond the fact it hits home with me and my job search project. I'm searching for an AA position (office support, etc) and have found the AA position has changed dramatically these last 25 years to what employers want. Yes I'm an older female despirately searching for a job that is very much needed. I have to rely on SS and can't retire for 3 more years and need to find a job. My prevous position was eliminated due to the recession last April.

What most employers want today from an AA is more than I can offer from my past experience. Than comes age. Which is something you can't prove as they just say "you're over qualified" I have a great resume with my past positions, they when they meet me - the age factor comes in. What I found amusing is the US Army has several jobs posted in PA that I qualify but they are looking, and they note 18 - 42 (?) I loose. It's the most frustrating time for everyone. The most frustrating I am experiencing is I have my health, my energy, enthusiasm, williness to work and can not find a job. That's so sad.

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Pissed Off Applicant in Detroit, Michigan

46 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Uhh, did you read my post? I wrote that job apps do not ask for age or birth dates. I did not address requests for dates of graduation.

You should read comments carefully before calling something BS and hitting the "reply" link.

Well they do ask if you are over/under 18.

However, if you are under 18 they require you to provide your birth date.

Not that semantics are relevent here, but I just wanted to help iron out hte confusion.

That said, generic application just ask you how many years you attended, the school's name (if you live in an area with a poor school system/declining population and your school was shut down then this could give away your age) and your curriculum. They rarely ask you for your exact graduaton date.

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

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Nancy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

45 months ago

"Out way"? I'd take this article more seriously if the author could spell.

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

Yeah I noticed the typo as well but it doesn't take away the fact the author does raise a point.

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

Yeah, I noticed the typo as well. However, the author does raise a good point.

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FashionBug in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

Just read article. It does hit home for me since I'm an executive assistant with 13 years experience without a college degree. I didn't see any typos in the article. The article says "outweigh" is that not correct?

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

FashionBug in Atlanta, Georgia said: Just read article. It does hit home for me since I'm an executive assistant with 13 years experience without a college degree. I didn't see any typos in the article. The article says "outweigh" is that not correct?

My cousin has been an EA for 11 years with a telecommunications company in Philadelphia. She's looking for an EA position in South Jersey close to her home. To help with her job search, she registered with 3 temp agencies with hopes of finding a permanent EA position. All three agencies told her they would have a hard time placing her because she doesn't have a college degree - although she has 11 years experience. The temp agencies told her "their clients want degreed employees". Her department is now being outsourced and she will lose her job Dec. 31 of this year. I say all of this to say if you want to work for another company as an EA; or God forbids if you are let go and looking for work as an EA- employers may require a college degree although you are a seasoned administrative professional. Just something to think about. The games employers play...

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FashionBug in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia said: My cousin has been an EA for 11 years with a telecommunications company in Philadelphia. She's looking for an EA position in South Jersey close to her home. To help with her job search, she registered with 3 temp agencies with hopes of finding a permanent EA position. All three agencies told her they would have a hard time placing her because she doesn't have a college degree - although she has 11 years experience. The temp agencies told her "their clients want degreed employees". Her department is now being outsourced and she will lose her job Dec. 31 of this year. I say all of this to say if you want to work for another company as an EA; or God forbids if you are let go and looking for work as an EA- employers may require a college degree although you are a seasoned administrative professional. Just something to think about. The games employers play...

Wow! Sorry to hear about your cousin. I do hear you loud and clear. To be honest, I felt I could get by without a college degree, but the job market has changed. I want to be in a position where I can compete with other EA's who have college degrees. My husband has been telling me I need to go back to school for the last 3 years. Now I will seriously consider it. Thanks for helping me to face my inadequacies. The truth really hurts...

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Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia

45 months ago

FashionBug in Atlanta, Georgia said: Wow! Sorry to hear about your cousin. I do hear you loud and clear. To be honest, I felt I could get by without a college degree, but the job market has changed. I want to be in a position where I can compete with other EA's who have college degrees. My husband has been telling me I need to go back to school for the last 3 years. Now I will seriously consider it. Thanks for helping me to face my inadequacies. The truth really hurts...

Good luck to you and may God bless you on your educational endeavors. By the way, you are right regarding the article - "outweigh" is correct which is now reflected in the article. Take care of yourself.

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GrahamD in O'Fallon, Missouri

44 months ago

Well as I have experienced lately, a degree doesn't get you very far sometimes. I just got my Bachelors Degree in May and got laid off in May and still haven't found a job. I can't pay for my education, which is due because I don't have a job. Most companies that I have looked at want to pay you $10.00 an hour for an Executive Admin.

I do wish you all luck in finding any kind of Administrative Assistant positions. In an article I read that this position is one of the ones that will be eliminated. I don't see how that can be, I just think that they are changing the title again.

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AdminRckStr in Brooklyn, New York

43 months ago

Back in the early 90s, when I first graduated from college, I found a job in my specialized field. I had an office etc, yet I would look at the administrative assistants with envy. They were working together in teams and they seemed to know so much more about the company than I did. Meanwhile I was all alone isolated in my office. Then in 1993, I relocated and I took jobs as an assistant to learn various businesses--always with a plan to move up.

I never moved up, instead I started a family and a free-lance writing career while working part-time clerical/admin jobs.

I find admin jobs to be quite challenging and the pay I think can be quite well. **I** am personally not making much right now as I'm part-time, but I see executive assistant positions that pay $65,000-70,000 a year, plus 401(K), generous vacation, tuition reimbursement etc. And I will go for these jobs when my children get older.

I've worked in a variety of industries as an assistant and I haven't had what I would call an "easy" job yet where I was simply picking up the phone and taking messages. As an assistant I've always been involved with projects that can get rather involved like developing proposals, coordinating board meetings, report preparation, etc. I've put together newsletters, brochures, PowerPoint presentations--all as an assistant!!! And I did all of this while answering the phone, making copies etc.

Since I graduated from college and had my first job and observed what admins do, I've developed a deep respect and appreciation of the field though I could go back to the field I was trained in in college, I probably will remain an admin.

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AdminRckStr in Brooklyn, New York

43 months ago

...I ran out of space before I could respond to the question of whether you need a degree to do the work of an admin assistant. What I've discovered is that what you learn in a college classroom is many times irrelevant when you actually start to work in a lot of fields--yet a degree is required!! Further when you're getting these degree you don't get taught what you really need to know in the world of work like time management, project management, conflict resolution, assertiveness etc.

I'm hesitant to get a masters degree because I feel that most formal education IS irrelevant unless you are a lawyer, doctor, nurse etc and you need to be certified by some governing board. If not then $1000 a credit is too much for me to pay for a class that will not DIRECTLY help me to do my job better. I guess you could say I'm more interested in timely, vocational education. And that is part of what attracts me to administrative assistant work. There are all kinds of timely inexpensive training classes available from PACE certificates to MOS training.

So, do I think I'm overqualified to be an administrative assistant as I have a degree AND years of work experience? Not at all. I find the work challenging and interesting. As I've said, I haven't had an easy job yet. And some offices are a riot with all of the different characters/personalities etc. When I'm at work, the time flies. I love learning about how each business/organization works. And when I run into a problem and work through it, it feels great. I read books/blogs about goal setting, organizational skills, office procedures, time management etc--all things relevant to being a great assistant, and I'll probably join a professional administrative assistant organization at some point soon. I have big plans for my admin career and I'm very excited about it.

The sky is the limit…watch me soar!

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AdminRckStr in Brooklyn, New York

43 months ago

One more thing. I am over 40 year old with graying temples. So when I was looking for a job last year, I did the thing where you take your graduation date off your resume and then list only your last 10 years of experience. I did this and got an interview. When I got to the interview the first manager I met did not ask me a single question, he just looked at my resume and kept saying I was over qualified.

I, however, had just read Patricia Robb's book for administrative assistants called "Laughing All the Way to Work" and Robb suggests responding to that question by saying something like "I appreciate the compliment, at the same time I know how to make the most of any opportunity..." and I said "...If what you say is true then I'll get up to speed quickly and will need limited training so I can start to make a contribution right away."

I made it past that manager and was sent to another who also said I was overqualified. His concern was that I would stay a month and then leave. I assured him I was looking for a job that would be at least three or four years or so.

I got hired...over 40, overqualified, a woman AND a member of an ethnic minority. I have every strike against me that you can imagine. LOL. Still I got hired.

Think positively folks! If there is a will, darnit, there is a way!

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Laid off in CT just found a job in Norwalk, Connecticut

43 months ago

I am also over 40, and a little over weight. I had friends tell me to lose weight, etc. Well, my determination got me over 60 interviews and 5 contract jobs, and now a perm job. It is possible. I just said, I was very interested in making a contribution and being part of the team. It's been a long road and I think the key to getting a job is to not take the HR personally when you get rejected. Pretty much, the fact you got an interview is a good thing. They get tons of candidates now, in the thousands in some cases. Many of the companies had me to homework, testing, you name it. All which is totally rediculous in some instances where I can prove by my past experience I have already done all the things I said. Getting a job is about timing, luck, how they like you, your past experience, who you know even. I found the HR dept. to be a hinderandce in some cases. I can't figure out what those people do. If you can get to the hiring manager that's the best way in. I met my new manager at a coffee shop. I actually was the last candidate, and I got the job. I feel fortunate.

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AdminRckStr in Brooklyn, New York

43 months ago

Good for you Laid off in CT. Congratulations!

I know that there is age discrminiation, but as I said I'm a member of a minority group AND a woman so all of my life I've always known that there was a chance that I could be discriminated against. But I didn't let this stop me from at least trying. So I just make sure I do my research. When I first got out of school, I learned how to write a resume/cover letter that highlighted what little experience I had. Now that I could potentially have pages and pages of stuff, I learned how to cut it down to one page. Also I read that it helps if you are enthusastic and let that shine through on the interview. While this won't make you any younger, it makes you a pleasure to talk to.

Afterall, 45, 50, 60 and 65 year olds get hired every day. So I say, why can't **I** be one of them?!

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AdminRckStr in Brooklyn, New York

43 months ago

Nacon in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said: Hello all, I came across this posting and had to respond the fact it hits home with me and my job search project. I'm searching for an AA position (office support, etc) and have found the AA position has changed dramatically these last 25 years to what employers want. Yes I'm an older female despirately searching for a job that is very much needed. I have to rely on SS and can't retire for 3 more years and need to find a job. My prevous position was eliminated due to the recession last April.

What most employers want today from an AA is more than I can offer from my past experience. Than comes age. Which is something you can't prove as they just say "you're over qualified" I have a great resume with my past positions, they when they meet me - the age factor comes in. What I found amusing is the US Army has several jobs posted in PA that I qualify but they are looking, and they note 18 - 42 (?) I loose. It's the most frustrating time for everyone. The most frustrating I am experiencing is I have my health, my energy, enthusiasm, williness to work and can not find a job. That's so sad.

Years ago when I was in my 20s I worked with an admin that was actually retired from another job. Actually 2 now that I think of it. Have you tried taking classes and volunteering? There are lots of organizations that need admin help, but can't pay. By volunteering you can close the gap on your resume, get more great references AND help a worthy cause!

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LaidoffinConnecticut in Norwalk, Connecticut

43 months ago

To Admin.RockStar, Thanks for the congrats. My new job is a handful but I am happy to have a job, so I don't lose my home. I struggled to pay for it for 18 mos with temp jobs, savings, etc. Really, I have learned so much from this experience. The job agents over emphasized the "Degree" requirement. IT's all nonsense because we call know that these jobs don't require a degree. I think the most important quality is being positive, and what you can bring to the job. I had to learn more softwares with no budget. I found free sites and watched video's on Youtube. I actually have more skills then the job that laid me off. Currently, I am trying to help some other friends get work. I gave them my resume, to see if they could get any new ideas, and I have called up people that placed me in temp jobs and referred my friends that are looking. We all have good skills, and if you put in the work, hopefully you get the result. In CT the unemployment reate is at 9%. Other states are worse.

We have to work hard because these are different times. The companies come with some crazy things. I have been tested, every which way till Tuesday. Yet the job I am in did not require the testing. My references and background check were enough. I can't tell you how many time-wasting stupid tests I took which were not even close to how the softwares are used!

I wish the best to all, and God Bless each and every one of you.

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x2davis in Decatur, Georgia

42 months ago

Sharon in Atlanta, Georgia said: I don't know but I'm finding that getting a job these days is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I am finding out that not only do you have to have a degree to answer the phone but you have to almost know the president that runs the company and even then, if they are not willing to help you get your foot in the door you are at square one. I have found that companies are so worried about you having a "piece of paper" than life and work experience. I would hire someone who has work experience before I would someone with a degree. What does it prove....that the person will be in debt for the next 40 years trying to pay off college expenses with a receptionist job!!!!!

I agree with this! There is nothing about a college degree that is going to make me any stronger of a secretary than my existing 10+ years of experience. Yet, with all that experience, outstanding references, etc., I'm still finding myself being "weeded out" for administrative positions due to, what I assume, is the lack of a Bachelor degree. Although, like so many others, if I accomplished a Bachelor or Master's degree, I can't say a mere administrative role is something I would be interested in any longer.

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dee in Indianapolis, Indiana

42 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Anne in Littleton, Colorado: "I totally disagree [that age is a consideration for considering a degree]. Most MBA candidates are in their late 30s!"

. . . . but we're talking about people who have no college degree and are over forty. Under forty and advanced degrees are another matter. It depends on the industry, but I don't think much more advanced education helps much for people over forty - especially if one must start over.

Well; why don't you just tell me to go live under the bridge and wait to die. I am 50 years old and was always capable of getting employment until this..."MUST BE CERTIFIED" kick. I have been faithfully in the work force for over 35 years. Is it fair to just kick me to the curb after I have given my entire adulthood to working and now,knowing I am a baby boomer, I only have 17 years to retirement. How am I going to survive on what little social security I will get if I am unemployed for the next 17 years? And Yes...I am willing to work any place to self-sustain;but get this I have been told over and over that I have too much experience to make them believe that I will stay in that position. "Catch 22"....you think? I am taking MAA and Medical Billing and Coding online now.Do you know where I can get a job in my skill sector that is entry level while I'm going to school? Answer that!

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BS in Indianapolis, Indiana

42 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Uhh, did you read my post? I wrote that job apps do not ask for age or birth dates. I did not address requests for dates of graduation.

You should read comments carefully before calling something BS and hitting the "reply" link.

If I was asked the date I graduated highschool, and replied 1978.DUHH!!!It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that I definitly am not 12 years old especially if the interviewer knows they weren't even born yet! Not to mention some interviewers of certain departments are haters and feel threatened when a person has more experience them.

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BS in Indianapolis, Indiana

42 months ago

Administrative Professional in Atlanta, Georgia said: Yeah, I noticed the typo as well. However, the author does raise a good point.

too many replies to one response. We get it!!!

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DEE in Indianapolis, Indiana

42 months ago

Susan in Los Angeles, California said: Well, I am 54 years old. Looking for a fulltime Admin. with Accounting Skills position. I know computerized accounting skills. I am hoping that, along with my work experience, that by presenting myself in a well dressed professional manner, that will help me get a job. I am hoping that if I look polished, and have a nice personality, it may help me land a job being a person over 50. Any comments please?

"KEEP HOPE ALIVE!!"

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Brenda in Anaheim, California

41 months ago

I completely disagree with your statement. It did not take me 5-10 years to learn my administrative skills although I have 15 years of experience. Yes, being an admin is not just being a receptionist, it also encompasses excellent interpersonal skills in a diverse work environment, strong computer skills using several relevant software programs, creativity, excellent customer service internally, as well as externally, etc. You do not need a college degree to be an AA, EAA, or an EA. I have been on several interviews and these interviews were with industries I applied for online and refuse to state my ethnicity because all that they need to know is that I am "female" and "not a vet". Take a look at which ethnicity has the highest unemployment rate and the fact that the government is not enforcing race and age discrimination laws they enacted. I am being penalized because I decided raising my sons to be intelligent, responsible, college-educated young men was more important than going back to school for a college degree. Raising 2 intelligent, responsible, college-educated young men alone is a 24-hr job which I successfully accomplished and yes, I did not become a grandmother until I reached the age of 52 and both were happily married.

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