Well-organized… resourceful… persistent and detail oriented… with a strong drive to make things work. Secretaries and administrative assistants need a combination of all these qualities. They handle administrative activities in most organizations, including schools, healthcare facilities, government offices, and private companies. Secretaries perform a wide variety of tasks. They prepare documents and spreadsheets, organize files, schedule appointments, and support other staff. They may also buy supplies, plan events, and manage stockrooms. Most answer phone calls and direct them appropriately. In schools, they handle communications among parents, students, and school administration. Some duties are particular to a type of secretary: Executive secretaries work for top executives to handle complex responsibilities, including research and writing reports. Confidentiality and integrity are essential. They may also manage clerical staff. Legal secretaries prepare legal documents and help with legal research under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal. Medical secretaries transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for doctors or medical scientists. They may handle communications with patients and process insurance payments. Most secretaries and administrative assistants work full time in offices; some work for administrative service companies out of their own homes. Jobs typically require a high school education and basic office, computer, and English grammar skills. Legal and medical secretaries need additional training to learn industry terminology. Most community colleges offer programs or courses to obtain these skills. Executive secretaries require several years’ related work experience.
What they do:
Perform routine administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.
On the job, you would:
Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.
Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.
Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.
Arts and Humanities
Engineering and Technology
computers and electronics
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
Data base user interface and query software
Video conferencing software
high school diploma/GED or associate's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.