As you look through lists of clerical and administrative positions during your job search, you may find yourself wondering if administrative assistants are being phased out in the workplace. This may be a valid concern; after all, much of the work done by administrative assistants in the past can now be accomplished by office automation equipment or advances in technology software. Despite that, more work for administrative professionals can be found in an office setting than you might assume. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of administrative assistants in the workplace will actually rise by 12 percent before 2020.
Executives rely heavily upon their administrative support staff to perform common work functions, such as appointment setting, phone answering, and event planning. Although smartphone apps and computer programs exist to help make some of those tasks easier, the senior employee is likely too busy to attend to them. This work may comprise much of what you may do as an administrative assistant for many different organizations.
Depending on the level of the supervisor you work for in an administrative support role, you may find yourself as that person’s right hand. Whereas they may get information from the internet or trade publications, they’ll probably still rely on you, their administrative assistant, to find relevant data, collect it into an easy-to-digest format, and distribute it to other interested parties.
If you want to ensure that your future as an administrative assistant is viable, you can take a few very important steps. First, if you are already in an administrative position, work with your employer to find ways to work on different projects. This broadens your work experience and makes you more valuable to both your current employer and any future companies you work with. Ensure you do not let any of your current duties suffer when you take on new roles.
Second, look for ways to stay current on skills necessary to you as an administrative professional. When technology changes, so will your duties. Many software platforms offer free or low-cost classes through the internet. If you are currently employed, your employer may be willing to pay for these classes to keep your skills up-to-date. Additionally, read articles and publications relevant to your industry, to keep your knowledge fresh, and take advantage of free or low-cost training or seminars in your area.
Third, get involved in professional organizations or online groups to network and learn. By connecting with other administrative assistants, you can increase your knowledge, enhance your skills, and learn about opportunities that may be open at other organizations. Discussing trends, issues, and expectations with others in the same role can make you a stronger current and prospective employee. Group involvement can also allow you to take advantage of online or in-person seminars.
Administrative assistants are often the backbone of an organization. When you work to broaden your knowledge, involvement, and skills, you are also working to ensure your future job prospects.
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