Administrative Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

An Administrative Assistant, or Administrative Aide, is responsible for supporting an administrative professional to help them stay organized and complete tasks that allow them to focus on more advanced responsibilities. Their duties organizing meetings for Administrators, greeting office visitors and composing documents on behalf of Administrators.

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Administrative Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

The core duties and responsibilities of an Administrative Assistant revolve around supporting others. Their job duties can vary widely, not just from job to job, but from day to day at the same job. On any given day, they may perform a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Answer phones and greet visitors

  • Schedule appointments and maintain calendars

  • Schedule and coordinate staff and other meetings

  • Collate and distribute mail

  • Prepare communications, such as memos, emails, invoices, reports and other correspondence

  • Write and edit documents from letters to reports and instructional documents

  • Create and maintain filing systems, both electronic and physical

  • Manage accounts and perform bookkeeping

What Does an Administrative Assistant do?

Administrative Assistants typically work for organizations to oversee routine and advanced duties for other professionals. They work closely with Administrators and other employees to organize files, create correspondence and prepare reports or documents. Their job is to complete a range of clerical tasks including manage calendars, sorting mail, or preparing invoices. They may also be responsible for engaging in event planning and meeting setup and implementation.

Administrative Assistant Skills and Qualifications

In order to perform their various duties, an Administrative Assistant must exhibit many varied skills and qualifications. At the core, the Administrative Assistant is a support position, meaning that communications and decision-making are paramount. A few of the specific skills that all administrative assistants should possess include:

  • Decision-making: Administrative Assistants have to make independent decisions on a daily basis, addressing the best way to handle specific tasks.

  • Communications and collaboration: An Administrative Assistant must collaborate with other administrators and support personnel, management and clients on a regular basis.

  • Organizational skills: Organization and prioritization are the core elements of the Administrative Assistant’s responsibilities. You must know how to keep yourself and others organized and how to determine which tasks are the most important in a given list.

  • Writing: Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and writing are essential to an Administrative Assistant, who must be proficient in a variety of styles, from creative to professional to technical to education and more.

Salary expectations

Administrative Assistants can make a fairly good living, especially as they advance in their job. While the starting salary for a brand-new secretary-level Administrative Assistant can be as low as $7.25 an hour, on average an Administrative Assistant in the United States makes about $15.42 per hour. At the highest end of the range, executive Administrative Assistants with a great deal of education and experience can earn as much as $30.25 an hour. 

Administrative Assistant Education and Training Requirements

The minimum level of education for an Administrative Assistant is a high school diploma or GED. Temporary agencies may also provide training in these areas. For those straight out of high school, courses in word processing and general office procedures are offered at vocational schools and community colleges and can be very helpful. Administrative Assistants with a bachelor’s degree are more marketable, as they are seen to have a more well-rounded education that includes writing and mathematics, which can be useful to the job.

Administrative Assistant Experience Requirements

While prior experience is not strictly required for work as an Administrative Assistant, many employers value prior work in the field. This is because many office professionals learn their major skills through on-the-job training, and a strong history of long-term work with other organizations can show reliability, responsibility and that you possess the skills you need. Starting as a secretary and working up through the ranks also shows increasing skill development and dedication.

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Frequently asked questions about Administrative Assistants

 

What are the daily duties of an Administrative Assistant?

On a typical day, an Administrative Assistant starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to missed messages from clients, employees or Administrators. They greet Administrators upon their arrival, give them their messages and review their schedule with them. Throughout the day, Administrative Assistants answer phone calls and add appointments to calendars. They also sit in on meetings with Administrators, company Executives and business partners to take notes and help Administrators prepare presentations.

After each meeting, Administrative Assistants use their notes to compose meeting minutes. These documents help meeting participants remember what they discussed and actions to take moving forward. They check the document for errors before sending it to authorized individuals.

 

How can you use a resume to determine a candidate's Administrative Assistant qualifications?

To determine if a candidate is a good fit for your Administrative Assistant position, follow these steps:

  1. Make a list of the responsibilities your Administrative Assistant needs to be able to take on.
  2. Review your job description and highlighted skills for the position.
  3. Compare the skills included on their resume to that of your job description to determine compatibility.
  4. Look at their work experience section. Previous work experience as an Administrative Assistant or in a related role like a Receptionist or Office Assistant can be helpful. Their relevant work experience could determine whether they’re fit for the job.
  5. See if their educational background could contribute to their role as an Administrative Assistant. For example, a candidate with an associate degree in business administration and certifications in Outlook, Excel and professional support suggests their eligibility.

 

Is there a difference between Receptionists and Administrative Assistants?

Although both roles have clerical duties in an office setting, their focus is much different. Receptionists answer phone calls, transfer calls to particular employees and departments and welcome visitors to the office. In contrast, an Administrative Assistant supports a specific manager or administrative officer, taking messages for them, scheduling their meetings and appointments and performing clerical duties on their behalf.

 

What are the most common industries that employ Administrative Assistants?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most common industry for Administrative Assistants is health care and social assistance, followed by educational services, professional services, government and religious/non-profit services. In addition, most Administrative Assistants work in an office setting, but some can work remotely as Virtual Assistants.

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