Whether the official title is secretary, administrative assistant, appointment specialist, or executive support staff, being an administrative professional in today's job market requires plenty of special skills. If you're considering a career as a secretary, or you’re already employed as one and want to improve, here are some tips for being ahead of the curve.
Keep an Organized Calendar
In the event of your absence, you want your superiors to be able to carry on for a day or two without scheduling problems. Whether it's a paper appointment book or a shared calendar in an email program, make your notes in clear, concise language. If you have your own abbreviations, make certain a key to them is accessible in an obvious location.
Keep Your Filing System Organized
The last thing your superiors want to do is dig through piles of paperwork to find vital information. Use a tabbed system to keep forms handy, and label computer documents with logical names in neat folders.
Keep Your Correspondence Short and Succinct
If you need extended face-time with your boss, request a meeting instead of writing an enormous email. Unless he or she has specifically stated they prefer everything in writing, use brief meetings and concise emails to communicate. If you have to address several issues in one email, number them and keep your questions clear. Not only will this keep communication easy, but it gives both of you more free time for other tasks.
Know Your Superiors' Private Details
While you don't want to pry, you also don't want to leave their spouse on hold. Be friendly and get to know those near and dear to your superiors and that kindness will likely not be forgotten. You should also have access to your boss's personal cell phone number in case of emergency, especially in industries where business hours are not as strict, such as criminal law or surgical medicine.
Learn Your Boss's Preferences
If he or she doesn't like to be rushed through lunch, make the appointment slots right after the meal break the last ones to be filled. If your boss prefers not to be disturbed during meetings, hold all but the most important calls. Learn what they like and make their job as easy as you can. This will be rewarded and you'll be seen as an indispensable member of the team.
Do the Research
If you're booking a hotel room for a conference, don't choose a roach motel based on the low price. If you've been put in charge of ordering office supplies or finding a printer, research the best options. Being caught skimping on the research and making a bad decision is one of the worst gaffes you can make.
Take Online Classes to Learn New Skills
No matter how far you are in your career, it's important to keep improving and learning new skills. Sign up for online skills courses, like free typing lessons. Taking free typing lessons will sharpen your skills and improve productivity - If you still need further convincing, check out our article, "8 Reasons You Should Take Free Typing Lessons."
A good secretary can help their boss in innumerable ways. Depending on the industry and your duties, you can use these tips to make yourself an important part of your organization and impress your superiors.