Operations assistants work in a wide array of industries and perform a variety of tasks that can change on a daily basis. While many of their responsibilities and tasks can seem commonplace and maybe even dull, they provide vital links between supervisors and clients. Operations assistants greet customers, schedule appointments, file invoices and in some instances, handle light bookkeeping. Sometimes, they proofread and type important press releases or letters issued by the operations manager.
Operations assistants need to be exceptional typists with strong verbal and written communication skills, particularly when it comes to relaying information to the operations manager and other top-level employees. Operations assistants need to be organized, professional, motivated, able to work quickly and follow detailed instructions from the operations manager. Many will also need to possess basic computer skills.
Operations assistants almost always need to have a high school diploma, and perhaps an associate's degree, before being hired to work in an administrative role for a company's president or CEO. Areas of study typically include subjects such as keyboarding, business, English, marketing and communications. Most also need experience working as a secretary or receptionist at another level or in another industry prior to becoming an operations assistant.
More than 1.5 million workers were employed as executive secretaries in 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which projects that number to increase during the next decade. According to the BLS, jobs for operations assistants will grow by 11 percent through 2018, or about as fast as the average of all occupations. "In addition to jobs created from growth, numerous job opportunities will arise from the need to replace secretaries and administrative assistants who transfer to other occupations, including exceptionally skilled executive secretaries and administrative assistants," the BLS noted.
Salaries for operations assistants are likely to fall in line with workers who have similar titles, such as administrative assistants or executive secretaries. According to PayScale.com, executive secretaries earned anywhere from $29,000 to more than $45,000 per year in April 2010.