What Being An Administrative Assistant Is Like

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By day, I’m an administrative assistant and have been for a few years now. I’m often asked what I do and sometimes, it is hard to explain. Part of me wants to say, “Oh, I’m just an admin.” I hate that part of me, truly.

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When I was in college, being an administrative professional seemed like such a great job. Now with my degree, it often seems like a few steps down from where I could be. I know that I am not and that this industry should be a highly respected one.

First, I’m an admin because I’m gaining valuable skills and establishing my reputation in an amazing place with so many opportunities. I know that it’s not a waste of my time and that it’s one of my first steps of climbing the ladder! So, for those who are considering applying for administrative assistant positions, or are just curious about what we do, here it is!

Calendars / Meetings

I manage calendars and schedule meetings for our organization. Often, it gets difficult to know where everyone is at every moment of the day. This is getting easier, as I gain access to everyone’s calendars and train them to update it regularly. Then, it’s easy to look up and see where someone is at any given moment.

In smaller offices, this may not be as much of a hassle. In mine, we have some extremely busy managers. We also have several locations, very distanced from one another. Travel time makes it especially difficult to schedule meetings.

Communication

First and foremost, I am a huge point of communication within our department. The admins are responsible for finding the answers to virtually everything. We are familiar with policies and know who to ask if we run into something we cannot handle ourselves.

I answer my phone and my manager’s phone all day. He’s rarely in his office, so if someone needs to talk to him, they need to find me first. Things become a little chaotic if we aren’t there. This is good, it means that we are doing our jobs well when we are there.

Correspondence

I write both internal and external correspondence. Sometimes they are memorandums and sometimes they are official letters. Some of the time, the majority of the content is there, I just have to make sure it is formatted correctly and is within our company standards.

I work in a formal industry. A major part of my admin role is following the proper guidance and knowing where to find our rules. It seems silly to some, but branding is important. We make everyone look professional, concise, and like a team.

Property / Supplies

I order supplies and new equipment when people need it. I order laptops, office chairs, and basic items like pens, paper, and staplers.

We have processes for this and there are certain rules that we have to follow. There is very specific criteria for what we can and cannot order. We have systems in place to prevent anyone from getting into trouble, but it still happens.

Records

Records are pretty self-explanatory. Where I work, we do have a document management department that specializes in records. Often, they handle the bulk of records, but the admins are responsible for knowing policies and making sure that we follow the rules when our departments are creating new records.

Travel

We use a system to process travel through. We also have travel agents that help do all of the official bookings. I’m in charge of getting the approvals, putting the general information in, and making sure everything is correct.

At previous jobs, I’ve had a lot more to do with travel. I’ve had to find tools and resources to book the cheapest flights, hotels, etc. The need for this will vary depending on where you work.

Visitors

When we have anyone coming to visit from an external agency, I have to put a request into one of our systems. It helps me keep track of who’s doing what, and when, so it’s helpful to be the one that enters that information into the system.


Those are the key duties that I have, but more importantly, I often just need to listen to people. Work can be stressful and sometimes, people just need to vent for a few minutes. I try to listen and stay out of drama, but I’m always there to talk to. I keep a bowl of candy on my desk and when people need a break, they come down, chat, and leave seeming a lot happier than when they came it. Being that person is the best part of my job!

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I graduated from Boise State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Technical Communication. Photography and writing have both always been a passion of mine. I love sharing and hearing stories, both are such great ways to do so! In my free time, I love to drink coffee and hang out with my dogs. I have a great big German Shepherd and a tiny Porkie (Pomeranian & Yorkie).

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