Career as a secretary is expected to be among those with the largest number of new jobs. Secretaries today perform less number of clerical tasks and are increasingly taking the role of Information and Communication Managers. However, the core responsibilities involve performing and co-ordinating an office’s administrative activities, storing, retrieving and dissemination of information to staff and clients remain all the same.
Job profile: Secretaries have to perform variety of duties necessary to run an organization efficiently. For example, planning and scheduling of meetings and appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, managing projects, conducting research and disseminating information by using the telephone, mail services, websites and e-mail. In addition, they may also be required to take down minutes of the meeting and make sure that it is distributed to the concerned people/departments on time.
They use a variety of office equipment such as photo copiers, scanners, video conferencing and telephone systems. Specific job duties vary with experience and title. Secretaries usually work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings and government agencies, legal and medical offices.
Skills required: A secretary’s job requires good communication and organizational skills, ability to maintain confidentiality and good decision making skills. Apart from knowing computers and a working knowledge of maths, secretaries should be proficient in keyboard and should have good spelling, grammar, punctuation and oral communication. Good customer service, interpersonal skills, management ability are always an advantage.
Secretary’s job requires one to be methodical with a good eye for detail. He/she needs to be well organised, with an orderly mind and an ability to do multi tasking.
Education and training requirements: High school graduates with basic office skills may qualify for secretarial positions, although a college degree is preferable, as secretaries may also work with top level executives. Training in computers (Microsoft word, excel, PowerPoint, etc.) shorthand, typing etc. are also essential. Most secretaries continue to obtain additional skills through on-the-job training.
Work environment: Secretaries and administrative assistants usually work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings, government agencies, or legal and medical offices. Their jobs often involve sitting for long periods. If they spend a lot of time keyboarding, particularly at a computer monitor, they may encounter problems of eyestrain, stress, etc.
The majority of secretaries and administrative assistants are full-time employees who work a standard 40-hour week. In few workplaces, secretaries can also avail benefit as job-sharing arrangements, in which two people divide responsibility for a single job.
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