Secretaries work in just about any industry and can have specialized experience in a particular field. The most common secretary specializations are legal, medical and executive. The typical duties of a secretary include scheduling meetings, taking notes or recording minutes, organizing files, drafting documents, answering and transferring telephone calls, taking messages, sending and receiving mail and performing other typical office tasks. Basic bookkeeping might be required of some secretaries if there is not a dedicated accountant present. They must have excellent customer service skills, written and verbal communications skills, organization skills and interpersonal skills. They must also abide by client confidentiality laws and practices in many cases, especially if legal or medical secretaries.
To work as a secretary, typically only a high school diploma or GED is required for entry-level positions. However, some employers prefer bachelor’s degrees, especially when hiring an executive secretary. Legal, medical and other industries might require more specific knowledge and experience. This can be obtained by taking classes at vocational schools or additional on-the-job training. Secretaries must have some familiarity with basic office practices and be knowledgeable of standard computer software, such as word processing, spreadsheets, and database software. Knowledge of and experience with common accounting software might also be required. While it may be required by some companies, secretaries of all kinds might find it beneficial to attend seminars and other continuing education programs to enhance their skills and knowledge. Certification is not required, though a number of organizations offer it and certification can better demonstrate a candidate’s competence.
Secretaries are expected to be in less demand than in the past. The occupation is still growing, but at a slower rate than others. The BLS reports that most job openings will result from employees leaving or retiring from the profession. Advancement usually occurs into management or higher level secretarial positions. Legal secretaries can work for the government, in private law firms or for corporations and go on to become paralegals. Medical secretaries can work for private practices, hospitals or insurance companies and advance into other positions in the medical field. Non-specialized secretaries can work for private companies, schools, government bodies or for themselves. They can work for a specific manager or executive or with a team.
The average annual earnings for a secretary or administrative assistant is around $30,370. The lowest percentile makes around $22,000 and the highest percentile can make over $60,000. Pay varies by location, experience, and type of secretary. Typically, executive assistants make more money than other types of secretaries, with a median $53,370 salary. Legal secretaries often make more money than non-specific or medical secretaries, with a median salary of $43,200 annually. Most secretaries work full-time, although some work part-time or on a contractual basis, especially if employed by a staffing firm. The advent of new technologies has made it easier for secretaries to work virtually some or all of the time, and even work on their own as freelancers.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Secretaries
- PayScale on Secretaries
- The American Society of Administrative Professionals
- The Effective Admin
Secretary Resume Example
Hawthorn Suites, Modesto, California March 2009 to September 2016
- Managed calendars including scheduling numerous annual employee meetings
- Interacted with facility and outside vendors in the coordination of events including arranging meeting site, housing, catering, transportation, invitations, and equipment while assisting during those meetings
- Arranged travel for domestic and international included flight schedules, hotel accommodations and rental car reservations
- Applied for passports for executive team members
- Handled Human Resource duties; selection of candidates, creating agendas, setting meetings for interviews, and tours
- Coordinated on-boarding of new hires including space planning, hardware ordering, set up, telecommunications and supplies
- Internal and external electronic communications with a large global group
- Maintained department website including creating, updating, and linking images in Web Expressions
- Tracked and processed expense reports for six executives
- Conducted research, compiled data, created and modified documents using Microsoft Office and other network systems
- Prepared purchase orders and vouchers for payment.
Technical Gas Products, Bakersfield, California June 2003 to March 2009
- Created, proofread, and edited complex documents and presentations
- Maintained employees calendars, scheduled meetings, conferences, teleconferences, and webinars
- Handled e-mail responses as desired by the team (read, evaluate, respond, forward, and/or delete as appropriate
- Maintained electronic filing system while providing administrative support to executive team and department
- Arranged travel entailing flight schedules, hotel accommodations, ground transportation, and meeting site preparation
- Event planning included registering meetings, hotel accommodations, transportation, catering, team building exercises, audio/video equipment and dinning reservations
American Equipment LLC, Bakersfield, California January 1997 to June 2003
- Composed correspondence, forms, reports, presentation materials and other written communication
- Coordinated meetings, conferences, special events, appointments and travel arrangements
- Assisted with the development and monitoring of department personnel
- Created and edited spreadsheets for tracking data on a weekly/monthly basis for management
- Ensured associates were prepared for training classes including copying and distribution of material in the training manuals
- Tracked time and attendance, entered payroll, and ordered office supplies
- Maintained office equipment and requested computer systems access within the network
- Created expense reports for directors and staff
- Updated and created PowerPoint presentations.
Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, California
- Business Administration