What is an Administrative Assistant?

An administrative assistant has many of the same duties as a secretary, such as writing, filing, answering phones, and taking notes at meetings.

In addition to this, you can also oversee the logistics of an office, collaborate with supervisors on important projects, and supervise secretaries. Although little formal education is required to work in this position, executive assistants or those working in specialized fields may need additional training.

An administrative assistant runs errands, manages an office, files, writes, and handles a variety of other tasks for her boss.

Role of an Administrative Assistant

The duties of an administrative assistant often go beyond secretarial duties and include handling logistical matters for the office, such as ordering supplies, handling mail and paperwork going in and out of business, and coordinating people’s schedules. .

In many cases, he or she is a source of information to the public and, as such, sometimes acts as the “face” of the company. Some senior assistants also supervise junior assistants or secretaries, in which case they may need to make regular presentations or performance reports.

Many people in this role also help train new staff, especially if they will be performing administrative duties. An administrative assistant also needs some practical knowledge, such as how to work with a variety of office equipment.

An administrative assistant can maintain her supervisor’s schedule.

Skills of an Administrative Assistant

The people working in this position must be extremely good with details and able to handle many tasks simultaneously, as they are often responsible for multiple people’s schedules and can monitor the progress of multiple projects at once.

They also need to be good with people, as the job requires a lot of interaction with people in the office and with clients.

Being able to make decisions and work independently is also an important part of the job, as the administrative assistant is the person who probably knows which documents are important and which can be discarded, which emails can be handled in the office. level and which ones should be sent to top management, and how to work up the chain of command to get things done.

In addition to all of this, administrative assistants must be articulate, good at writing. Administrative assistants can order from vendors for new office supplies.


Administrative assistants may specialize in a specific department of an organization, such as human resources or IT, although this is more common in larger organizations.

Executive administrative assistants only work with top management in a company. They can be responsible for a group of people or can only work with one.

In any case, the assistant is responsible for controlling access to executives, organizing trips and conferences, and interacting with suppliers, executives of other companies and members of the board, in addition to the usual administrative tasks.

Generally speaking, the taller the executive, the more skills and experience the assistant needs.

Legal assistants work closely with attorneys and paralegals.

Additionally, administrative assistants may specialize in certain fields, such as medicine or law. In addition to the normal duties associated with this position, he or she also performs tasks specifically related to that field.

For example, a paralegal can also research legal precedents and help prepare briefings, while a medical assistant generally needs to know about insurance billing or laboratory procedures.

Some people also do this work from home over the phone and the Internet, in which case they are called virtual administrative assistants.

Familiarity with common office machines, such as a copier, is a necessary skill for an administrative assistant.


In many cases, a person can start working in this job with a high school degree and some business and computer training. For specialized positions, such as in a medical or legal office, you must know the specific vocabulary for that position.

A certificate from a training program, an associate’s degree, or a certification through a recognized organization can help when it comes to getting hired or promoted.

An administrative assistant must be able to multitask.

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