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There are a variety of ways you might go about developing administrative assistant skills. You might complete a community college certification program, become an intern, work in a related entry-level position or obtain a college degree in business and administrative skills. There also are special certification programs for people who hope to become medical or legal administrative assistants. A college degree usually is not required to become an administrative assistant, but many employers like to see that an individual has one.
Completing a community college certification program is one way to develop administrative assistant skills. These programs usually are short and specifically teach information related to becoming an administrative assistant. During the program, you likely will gain experience in many areas that are important to becoming an administrative assistant, such as typing, business etiquette, basic accounting skills and customer service skills.
If you have a difficult time finding employment as an administrative assistant because of a lack of experience, you might try an internship in the field first. As an intern, you probably will not earn an income, but you will be working in the field in which you would like to work and developing administrative assistant skills that might be used to obtain a job in the future. Ensure that you find an internship opportunity that will allow you to develop your skills in the field and not one that is simply using you as free labor.
It is not unusual for a company to hire an individual for an entry-level position such as a worker in a mail room or a receptionist and then promote him or her to an administrative assistant position. Not only would you learn the inner workings of the company, you might also receive training in various administrative assistant skills. Many companies like to train individuals for the specific positions that the company has so that they can train them to do the jobs exactly the way they want the jobs done.
You might choose to attend college and obtain a college degree to develop your administrative assistant skills. One of the advantages to obtaining a college degree is that you likely will get an education in a variety of related areas, making you a more attractive job prospect. Many colleges allow students in various degree programs to work at the college in their chosen field. This means that an administrative assistant student might be allowed to work in various offices throughout the campus, gaining experience in his or her field of study.
A college degree (or degree of some kind) is helpful, depending on the company you work for. And there's no doubt that hands on experience is the best teacher.
Every company has different schedules and a different workflow, so an administrative assistant has to learn to tailor his or her schedule of duties around the workflow. Multitasking is usually essential. You have to be able to do several things simultaneously, and well.
One crucial skill is good keyboarding and also, learning to manage your time efficiently. Also, you always need to be on the lookout for how you can "massage" your methods to create the most efficient way to do things.
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