How to Be an Effective Secretary

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If you thrive in administrative positions, you may want to consider pursuing a career as a secretary. A secretary does routine work in a business office, including tasks such as maintaining records, managing phone lines and putting together information. Before considering a career as a secretary, consider the qualities and skills that will help you to be effective and successful.

Pay attention to details, no matter how small they may seem. Effective secretaries realize that every little bit of information matters, from what time the boss's first morning meeting is supposed to end to the last name of the caller at the other end of the phone line.

Learn to use technology. A lot of the work of a secretary involves working with computers, phones, and other office technology. If you have to print out a schedule for your boss's upcoming week, you need to know how to use a word processing program on your computer. To send out mass emails to everyone in the office, learn the ins and outs of your email program. An effective secretary knows how to do everything from organizing conference calls to creating invoices.

Develop strong communication skills. A big portion of any secretarial position is talking to other people. In many cases, the secretary is the first person clients see when they enter an office. Secretaries also spend a significant amount of time on the phone, either making or answering calls. Learn how to communicate in a strong and clear way, in a tone that is polite, easy to understand and in control.

Work on your writing skills. To stand out as a secretary, it is an advantage to possess impeccable writing skills. If you jot down an important telephone message for your boss, you want your grammar and spelling to be top notch. Not only do those things make your notes easier to understand, but they give the impression that you care and take pride in what you do.

Handle pressure gracefully. Office environments can get extremely hectic, and a secretary may sometimes feel like she is in the middle of it all. Whether it is a pressing deadline for the boss or an approaching holiday season, a secretary needs to have the ability to multitask and keep cool despite what seems like a hundred things all going on at once. Managing time properly is also essential to being an effective secretary.


Looking and acting professionally are also big parts of the job of a secretary. Make sure you know what the company's policy is for acceptable work attire. If you are unsure of it, contact the human resources department. Always maintain a calm and friendly attitude, no matter what may be going on otherwise in your life.

Consider completing a specialized vocational program if you are looking to become a secretary. Many community colleges and trade schools around the nation offer certification programs for secretaries.

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