What is an Administrative Assistant?

Also known as: Office Clerk, Secretary.

Administrative assistants (sometimes also referred to as office clerks, secretaries, or receptionists), perform routine clerical and organizational tasks. They organize files, draft messages, schedule appointments, and support other staff. Although administrative assistants work in nearly every industry, many are concentrated in schools, hospitals, government agencies, and legal and medical offices.

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What does an Administrative Assistant do?

The work of an administrative assistant typically involves the following:

  • Maintain paper and electronic filing systems for records and messages
  • Route and distribute incoming mail and email
  • Answer routine letters and email
  • Reply and attach files to incoming messages
  • Correct spelling and grammar to ensure accuracy
  • Operate fax machines, videoconferencing and phone systems, and other office equipment
  • Use computers for spreadsheet, word processing, database management, and other applications
  • Complete forms in accordance with company procedures.

Administrative assistants use computer software to create spreadsheets, compose messages, manage databases, and produce presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, manage stockrooms or corporate libraries, and get data from various sources. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

What is the workplace of an Administrative Assistant like?

Although administrative assistants work in nearly every industry, many are concentrated in schools, hospitals, government agencies, and legal and medical offices. Most work full time in comfortable office settings. Virtual assistants typically work from a home office.

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