Administrative Assistant Job Description (Skills, Duties, Salary, Certification & More)


By Mike Simpson

A business looks a lot like the mystical city of Oz. At the top is the CEO, the almighty business magician if you will. They seemingly have control over everything, guiding the organization to success. (If they’re good, sure.) But, if you pull the curtain down, you see a different story.

Now we’re not saying that a lot of CEOs aren’t incredibly skilled, just that they have a supporting army and one of the most critical components … is the administrative assistant.

Without administrative assistants, many CEOs and other business leaders would melt like the Wicked Witch of the West after having a cup of water thrown at her. They just wouldn’t be able to meet all the demands that surround them like a tornado.

However, when they have a competent and knowledgeable administrative assistant by their side, that story changes. They can jump without too much care because they know someone is supporting them.

What is an administrative assistant?

When some think of administrative assistant duties, they imagine the stereotypical secretary of yesteryear. Maybe they answer the phone, handle files, and brew coffee. They have a singing voice and a beaming smile, much like Glinda the Good Witch. (Oh, did you think the OZ analogy was made ?? No!)

But, while an administrative assistant can certainly possess the above qualities, it is an archaic view of the job. Today’s administrative assistants are battle-hardened, the right arms of CEOs. They ensure that day-to-day tasks are handled competently, allowing business leaders to focus on other topics.

More, they liaise between other departments and the CEO. They are the ultimate custodian, ensuring that, like the Emerald City, the CEO’s time is protected.

Essentially, the primary responsibility of an administrative assistant is to make life as easy as possible for the CEO. Whether it be calendar management, manage incoming calls, or, yes, even brewing a cup of coffee, they make sure it happens quickly and seamlessly.

What are the duties and responsibilities of an administrative assistant?

As with most jobs, administrative assistant duties can vary from company to company or position to position. Each CEO has different needs. Some are influenced by personal preferences, while others are influenced by the industry of the organization.

However, there are also similarities between many roles. Here is an overview of the tasks and responsibilities that you will find in a typical administrative assistant job description:

    • Generate reports
    • Prepare presentations
    • Manage paperwork and filing
    • Order supplies and plan maintenance of office equipment
    • Manage calendars
    • Schedule meetings
    • Manage travel arrangements
    • Answer phones and wired / direct calls
    • Take meeting minutes
    • To conduct research
    • Assist visitors
    • Review, organize and respond to emails
    • Maintain contact lists
    • Distribute memos
    • Manage expense reports

Essentially, they handle critical but somewhat mundane tasks to make sure the CEO doesn’t have to spend their time on them. The main goal of an administrative assistant is to manage the day-to-day, ensuring that the leaders of the company can focus on the big picture, spur innovation or move the company forward in the right direction. .

What skills do administrative assistants need?

The best administrative assistants are technically skilled and socially competent. They have the right mix of brain, heart, and courage, which allows them to navigate complex situations, make the most of the tools at their disposal, and deliver the results they need.

That means your average administrative assistant has a ton of skills.

Here is an overview of the technical capabilities they must bring to the table:

    • Mastery of computer and telephone systems
    • Administration office
    • Creation of report, memo, invoice and correspondence
    • Inventory management
    • Schedule planning and management
    • Travel reservation and route generation
    • Research Capabilities
    • Creation and maintenance of the file system (electronic and physical)
    • Call screening and routing

An administrative assistant also needs a lot of soft skills. Here are some things they need to be good:

    • Communication (written and verbal) and collaboration
    • Organization
    • Decision making
    • Management of time
    • Emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills
    • Ability to multitask
    • Attention to detail
    • Good judgment

It is also essential that administrative assistants be able to respect confidentiality. They are often aware of details that others should not have, so stealth is another critical ability.

What education / training / certification is required?

Technically, administrative assistants do not need to have a specific type of education, training or certification. Sometimes a high school diploma is enough. However, many administrative assistant job descriptions list the associate degree as a must.

In most cases, a two-year degree puts the CEO’s mind at ease. If you have one, you probably have many of the basic skills they want to learn, including Communication, organizational, management of time, and similar skills. Plus, you probably had to spend time on a computer, researching, and writing your fair share of reports.

If you want to become an administrative assistant, it helps to have a degree that relates to the role in some way. For example, one in Business Where office management could be a good fit. Communication, marketing, public relations, or something like that might also work.

MIKE’S TIP: While it’s ideal to have a degree in a related field, that doesn’t mean you can’t move on to the career of an administrative assistant if your degree is in biology, for example. You still have transferable skills like the aforementioned research and report writing skills. Additionally, you can always look for an opportunity at a company in a sector that matches your degree, an approach where your degree could give you a head start.

You also have the option of getting certified. There are a few administrative assistant certifications, including the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) and the Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE). However, these professional requirements rarely are, but as usual, being certified can set you up above your competition.

Administrative assistant Salary expectations

If the idea of ​​being an administrative assistant is right for you, you probably want to know if the salary is going to meet your expectations. Fortunately, it is not difficult to understand.

The median salary for an administrative assistant is $ 38,880 per year (or $ 18.69 per hour). However, not everyone who works in the field earns this amount. For example, the lowest paid 10% earn less than $ 24,690 each year. Typically, these are entry-level workers in areas where the cost of living is lower, but this is not always the case.

On the other hand, those in the top 10% can earn more than $ 64,230 per year. That’s a pretty high salary. But don’t rush to spend that money on a new pair of ruby ​​slippers just yet. To get there, you usually need to have a lot of experience or more education, such as a bachelor’s degree.


It is also important to note that the demand for administrative assistants is actually declining. Between 2018 and 2028, 276,700 jobs are expected to disappear. However, given that there are more than 3.7 million such positions across the country, the field is not just disappearing. But the drop could limit your earning potential, especially if supply ends up exceeding demand.

What you need to know for your job interview

Have you decided that being an administrative assistant is the right decision for you? If so, great! All you have to do is get your administrative assistant interview and get the job.

Simple, right? Well, yes and no.

Interviews are always a bit difficult. After all, you need to present yourself as the ideal candidate and set yourself apart from the competition. Fortunately, we have some great strategies that can help.

One of the best is to dive deep into the job description itself. There is a ton of valuable information waiting for you that most job seekers ignore. As we have seen in this article There are a lot of skills and qualities that will be listed in your job description that the company will be looking for in their ideal candidate. It’s your job to show you have these skills and qualities in your job interview!

After reviewing your job description, move on to these other powerful strategies: The STAR Method and Personalization Method for Behavioral Interview Questions can turn interview answers into engaging success stories, increasing the chances of success. impress the hiring manager and show him or her you are the perfect person!

Likewise, by reviewing key administrative assistant interview questions and repeating your answers, you can smooth out wrinkles and increase your self-confidence.

By devoting time and attention to practice, you increase your chances of shining during your interview. It is totally worth it.

Put it all together

Ultimately, administrative assistants are wizards in their own right. They handle so much, ensuring CEOs aren’t distracted by the nuances of everyday life. By learning and honing the right skills, you can stand out in the field. Just use the information above as a guide and you might find that there isn’t a place you’d rather be.

Discover our others “Job description items” if you are exploring career options:

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