An administrative assistant performs office duties including secretarial responsibilities, filing, faxing, creating spreadsheets and organizing client information. Many administrative assistants support executives or other high ranking team members in an office and handle tasks such as scheduling and taking phone calls.
Administrative assistants serve an important purpose, performing back office tasks vital to the day-to-day responsibilities of a corporation. The actual duties of an administrative assistant vary from business to business, ranging from sitting at the front desk and serving as a secretary to spending the day filing client reports and prepping mail. Small companies may have one administrative assistant who handles all administrative tasks, including drafting memos and handling industry-specific paperwork and projects. Larger companies may have a team of administrative assistants with each person being assigned a specific role, which is overseen by an administrative director or supervisor.
While some companies may prefer a candidate with experience, the administrative assistant role is generally an entry-level position that does not require formal training or education. Most employers require a high school diploma or GED, while others may require an individual who holds a two-year or four-year degree. This is especially true in a finance or law atmosphere where general industry knowledge is considered advantageous.
Administrative assistants come in many forms and may have varying job titles across industries. Some companies prefer to use titles such as executive assistant, clerk, receptionist or secretary, even though the responsibilities are relatively the same.