According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the top skill employers look for in an administrative professional is computer proficiency. There is a growing emphasis on desktop publishing, with an increasing number of administrative professionals designing business communications such as annual reports, flyers and brochures, among other documents. A willingness to embrace technology is the key to advancement for administrative professionals.
Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant
Entry level administrative assistants answer phone calls, perform data entry and file documents, and may be required to handle overflow from their superiors. Experienced administrative assistants generally work for several managers, answering phone calls, greeting clients and visitors, handling mailings and faxes, word processing of various documents, and filing. Administrative assistants must have strong research and communication skills; they may also hold the title of coordinator or associate within an organization. Senior administrative assistants have the same duties, but require more experience.
The role of executive assistant is one of the most sought after administrative jobs, with top earnings and responsibility. The IAAP reports that as of 2008, senior executive assistants earn up to $56,750 annually. Executive assistants work for executive management within an organization, and a senior executive assistant works for the top executive; this role is common in large companies. Executive assistants have substantial experience in an administrative role and with the company.
Administrative professionals may also offer departmental support in marketing, human resources and sales.
Administrative professionals may hold management roles. Office and facilities managers are responsible for reviewing and purchasing office equipment, and senior managers select vendors and negotiate services. Office and facilities managers must be familiar with accounting. Office managers may be responsible for training new employees, particularly on software.
Project coordinators support project managers and are responsible for scheduling, ordering, and tracking a project’s progress. This role is prevalent in the construction industry.
Account coordinators are responsible for scheduling meetings and making travel arrangements, mailings and print projects. They often manage schedules and calendars of upper management.
Logistics coordinators manage processing of orders, shipping, billing and inventory, and must have experience in purchasing and warehousing.
According to the IAAP, more and more administrative professionals are serving as desktop publishers who create flyers, brochures, reports and newsletters. This role may also require website posting and updating. Design Specialists must have advanced computer skills.