By Jessica Harper writing for U.S. News
Today’s administrative professionals do more than make coffee runs and screen phone calls.
When Kemetia Foley registered for an International Association of Administrative Professionals meeting in Reno, Nev., nearly six years ago, she mostly planned to make a few contacts and take some best-practice ideas back to her supervisor. Foley, a finance and customer service coordinator for the American Staffing Association who has worked as an administrative professional for 21 years, says she never expected her entire career perspective to change.
But it did. “I suddenly realized how many industries we supported and how pervasive we are in terms of keeping the CEOs and managers on track,” she says.
The event opened Foley’s eyes to the work of countless peers who are invested in improving their field as well as the varied titles they hold and distinctive tasks they complete each day. Today’s administrative professionals must understand Microsoft Office Suite backward and forward, prepare emergency readiness binders at the drop of a hat, and repair malfunctioning copiers and fax machines with ease. In many instances, the men and women of this field are the lifeblood that keeps the office pumping at full speed. And their jobs can serve as a springboard to higher-level managerial, specialist, or directorial positions.
The administrative assistant profession should grow 5.8 percent by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also projects an additional 156,000 openings for executive assistants. Medical administrative positions are expected to have the most openings in the field, due to accelerated growth of the healthcare industry.
1. Fine-tune your multitasking skills. Foley says administrative assistants are like “traffic cops,” constantly directing the flow of office bustle. They should be comfortable balancing several tasks at once. “If we go offline, the office goes offline,” Foley says. “It’s kind of a multiplier effect.”
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