Posted in Career Insights
how to become an administrative assistant

Administrative assistants support others in the office.

They are arguably one of the most essential positions in a business. An administrative assistant may not be at the top of the business hierarchy, but nothing would get done without them. 

Administrative assistants are everywhere. They work in the hospitality, business, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and legal industries. They make the wheels of any office turn. 

Are you interested in joining them? If so, you may be wondering how to become an administrative assistant. 

No specific schooling is necessarily required to become an administrative assistant. However, you generally need good computer, organizational, and communication skills.

At Stratford Career Institute, we offer an administrative assistant course. You can learn the foundational knowledge required to work toward a career as a successful administrative assistant.

What Are the Duties of an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative assistants’ essential duties keep the business running smoothly. 

Everyday responsibilities of an administrative assistant can include the following:

  • Organize appointments,
  • Schedule meetings,
  • Answer phone calls,
  • Take messages,
  • Send emails,
  • Keep track of files and documents,
  • Book travel appointments,
  • Interact with customers or clients, and
  • Collaborate with personnel in other departments.

Experience in these duties can stand out to employers during the hiring process.

Steps for Becoming an Administrative Assistant

An administrative assistant is a job that you mostly learn by experience rather than education. But the specifics depend on the industry you work in.

If you want to know how to get a job as an administrative assistant, these steps can help.

Step 1: Decide If You Need a Certification

You may wonder, do you need a degree to be an administrative assistant? Generally, an administrative assistant requires only a high school diploma or GED. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that this is the typical amount of education for an entry-level position in this field.

However, some specific administrative positions require more schooling. For example, a legal assistant might need a paralegal certificate. A medical assistant may also need a healthcare diploma. If you have your heart set on one of these administrative assistant positions, look into the necessary certifications or degrees. While not always mandatory, certifications can demonstrate your expertise and make you a more competitive candidate.

If no specific schooling is needed after your high school diploma or GED, skills can make you stand out to employers. At Stratford Career Institute, our course can help you learn the basic skills and office duties required to be an administrative assistant. 

Step 2: Know How to Use a Computer

Much of an administrative assistant’s job involves using computers. Thus, you need to be comfortable with them to learn how to become an administrative assistant.

More specifically, you should be comfortable with typing. Employers might have different requirements about your typing abilities. According to the American Society of Administrative Professionals, the average typing speed is 40 words per minute. However, the average typing speed for administrative assistants should be about 60 words per minute.

Knowledge of Microsoft Office is also essential. Any typing or data entry will most likely be done through Microsoft. 

Also, knowledge of using office equipment like a primer, fax machine, or scanner is vital. Understandably, all office equipment works differently. Just because you can work with an HP printer does not mean you can work with a Canon printer. However, you should have some general familiarity with them.

Step 3: Sharpen Your Skills

Employers can’t always train you in basic administrative and people skills. They should, however, help you with industry-specific skills and teach you about their office rules. 

But other than that, they’ll likely expect you to have the following skills:

  • Good work ethic,
  • Exceptional time management skills,
  • Communication skills,
  • Ability to multitask,
  • Good organizational skills, and
  • Excellent writing skills.

An administrative assistant’s daily tasks will require these abilities. Therefore, try to sharpen as many of them as possible. These skills can help you get a job as an administrative assistant—and keep it.

Step 4: Make a Resume

A well-crafted resume is your first impression on potential employers. When building your resume for administrative assistant positions, highlight the skills and experience most relevant to the job description. 

However, if you’re having trouble finding a place to start, here are some common things that employers look for in an administrative assistant:

  • Soft skills (e.g. time management, communication, etc.);
  • Quantifiable achievements like cost saving or efficiency;
  • Event and meeting coordination experience; and
  • Bilingual or multilingual abilities.

Remember that employers want to see not only that you have knowledge, but that you can apply that knowledge. This is why it’s important to give them the full picture of your experience, even if some of it is unrelated to being an administrative assistant at a surface level. There are many skills that are transferable to this type of career. 

Before you submit any application, carefully proofread your resume. Typos and grammatical errors can significantly harm your chances of landing an interview.

Step 5: Apply for Administrative Assistant Jobs

Now, you can begin your search for that dream job! 

Look for positions that will interest you. For example, if healthcare interests you, apply to administrative assistant positions in doctor’s offices, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies. If travel interests you, check out jobs in the hospitality industry. 

Regardless of what industry you choose, landing your dream administrative assistant role requires a strategic approach to the job search process. 

Here are some key steps to follow:

  • Refine your online presence. In today’s digital world, your online presence can significantly impact your job search. Ensure your resume is optimized for applicant tracking systems (ATS) by incorporating relevant keywords. You may also want to consider creating a professional LinkedIn profile showcasing your skills and experience.
  • Target your job search. Research the industry and specific companies you’re interested in working for. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply for, highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to the job description.
  • Network strategically. Leverage your professional network to learn about potential job openings. Attend industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and reach out to former colleagues or classmates who may be aware of relevant opportunities.
  • Ace the interview. Once you land an interview, prepare thoroughly. Research the company and the specific administrative role. Practice your answers to common interview questions, dress professionally, and arrive early to demonstrate your enthusiasm and respect for the opportunity.
  • Follow up promptly. Following up after your interview is crucial for staying top-of-mind with the hiring manager. Send a thank-you email within 24 hours, reiterating your interest in the position and highlighting your qualifications.

By following these steps and showcasing your skills and enthusiasm throughout the application process, you will likely increase your chances of landing the perfect administrative assistant role.

Learn How to Become an Administrative Assistant with Stratford Career Institute

At Stratford Career Institute, we offer distance education programs in a variety of different fields that can provide the basic knowledge and skills to jumpstart your career.

Our administrative assistant course aims to help you learn the fundamentals on how to be a competent administrative assistant. Contact us to learn more or enroll today!


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)