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So You Want To Be A... Secretary/Administrator


 So You Want To Be A... Secretary/Administrator

The secretary, also referred to by some companies as the administrator, provides both clerical and administrative support. They have a vital role to play in the daily running of the business, ensuring everything keeps running smoothly and everyone else knows their part.

The daily life of a secretary is never a boring one. Whether it’s working with a team of secretaries for a large corporation or solely holding the fort at the office of small to medium sized enterprise, the role requires a love of organisation and multi-tasking, as it’s always go, go, GO!

Think it might be the career move for you? Then keep reading! In this article we will look at the fundamentals of the secretary/administrator position, including roles and responsibilities, typical salaries and benefits, and the career training and experience needed to progress in this profession.

Have your sights set on something a bit more specific, specialising in Law maybe? Read our article on becoming a Legal Secretary.

The Ideal Candidate

If you aren’t sure if the job is for you, then take a look at some of the key characteristics that law firms categorise as ideal for some interested in becoming a secretary:

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • The ability to work in a busy office environment
  • The ability to work under pressure and to deadlines.
  • Excellent organisation skills
  • Computer literate

 What Does The Job Entail?

Secretaries have varying roles and responsibilities, and some may vary depending on the company and the team you work with. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to perform as part of your job:

  • Use a range of computer software packages including Microsoft Office Suite
  • Produce business documents
  • Write and work from notes and dictation
  • Answering calls/emails/faxes from clients
  • Make appointments and use a diary management system
  • Record costs/manage petty cash funds
  • Managing budgets and invoicing
  • Attend client meetings
  • Collect/deliver important documents
  • Copy/fax/scan/prep large files
  • General admin work inclusive of filing


Qualifications and Career Training

Becoming a secretary/administrator does not require a university degree or equivalent, but it is advisable to gain some form of training and education that can aid you in the administrative tasks during the job.

At Pitman Training Swords we offer a range of different courses for getting into the secretary profession:

Business Documentation Production  - As creating business documents will play a large role in your job as a secretary, and learning to properly create various types of business document such as letters, minutes, etc. will stand you in good stead.

Microsoft Word 2010 Proficient – Understanding how to use the software included in the Microsoft Office 2010 suite is one of the vital requirements of admin positions. If you aren’t confident at all with it, then start off with this Proficient course and progress to the Expert course.

Microsoft Word 2010 Expert – For those who already have a good understanding of Microsoft Word 2010, the Expert course will help you to use the software to its full potential, outlining how to use the advanced tools it offers.

Microsoft Outlook 2010 – As dealing with emails plays a large part in the secretarial role, it is important to have an in depth understanding of the email software used in the office, and all its features.

Microsoft Excel 2010 Proficient – Spreadsheets are one of the fundamental skills required by secretaries and administrators, and so becoming proficient in Excel is a must. This course will take you through the complex features of the software at an easy to follow pace, ensuring everyone can understand and comfortably use the software.

Microsoft Excel 2010 Expert – When you have mastered the basics of the Excel spreadsheets software and have an understanding of its uses, the Expert course will take a more in depth look at how to use its features to perform tasks at an advanced level.

Meetings and Minutes – Effectively organising and recording meetings is a key part of the adminstrator’s role. If you aren’t confident in this area then this is the course for you, as it equips you with the skills needed to perform the role of a secretary.

Typing Course – You will be spending a lot of time typing up documents, dictations, emails and minutes, so knowing your way around a computer keyboard is essential to the role. This course will enable you to gain speed and accuracy in your typing; a fundamental skill of the secretary/administrator profession.   

Working Hours, Salaries and Benefits of Secretaries/Administrators

Now for the juicy bit! The typical full time secretary works 37-40 hours Monday to Friday in office, between the hours of 9am and 6pm depending on the company’s own office hours. During busy periods there may be later nights/weekend overtime available.

The starting salary of an administrator is between €20,000 and €33,000 per year depending on location, qualifications and experience, and that of a secretary can reach €35,000 with experience.

Those who choose to specialise and gain extra skills/knowledge in a niche such as legal or medical can earn up to €45,000 per year depending on experience and area!

Benefits typically include pension schemes, health care plans and depending on size of the company there may be a shares and savings option.

So if you think a secretary or administrator position might be the one for you and you would like more information about getting training and qualifications in this profession, don’t hesitate to call us on 01 8404075 or email swords@pitman-training.net. Alternatively you can drop into our training centre in the Chamber Buildings on North Street, Swords and one of our helpful support team will be able to advise you on what’s best for you.







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