Anyone who has been an admin for more than 5 years will probably agree the role has evolved. This blog post by OfficeTeam explores some of the causes and reminds us it is important to consistently improve our skills if we want to remain relevant.
Bob Dylan told us, “The times they are a-changin.” Just as vinyl albums made way for cassettes, then CDs and now MP3s, the role of the administrative professional is constantly evolving, too. Today’s admins are increasingly joining the ranks of middle management.
The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) has released a report that finds significant changes in the roles of admins. Meet the New Middle Manager: Today's Administrative Professional focuses on the factors responsible for these changes and the trainingadmins need — but don't always receive — to stay on top of their game. Let’s take a look at the revolution occurring in the administrative realm.
Admins are being given more responsibility.
More and more admins are taking their leadership skills to new heights. Today’s administrative professional may be required to work as part of a team and also hold a supervisory position. In addition to the responsibility of leadership, these professionals are often given authoritative powers. This includes financial responsibility, such as the approval and authorization of office purchases. Many admins report they’ve found themselves donning a project management cap in the workplace, as they are called upon to spearhead projects.
Three factors are driving the change.
The ASAP report notes that three factors are responsible for this dynamism in the admin's role:
1. The recent recession: In the aftermath of the recession, organizations have found themselves relying on their administrative teams to fill in holes left by staff shortages from layoffs or hiring freezes, especially in the managerial ranks.
2. Evolving technology: Administrative staff are often the first line of tech defense in the office, as 85 percent in the report spend the vast majority of their workday using Microsoft Office applications. Additionally, in the age of social media, a quick response is a must. Many organizations rely on administrative staff, with or without relevant training, to monitor social media forums and report potential customer issues.
3. Economic rebound: Though the economy is recovering, many employers are finding themselves short of managerial staff. This has led to a reliance on adaptable and multi-skilled admins who can step out of their traditional job descriptions in order to help organizations grow along with the economy.
It’s time to hone your skills.
While many admins have valuable industry knowledge, they report feeling a bit shaky on the technological front. In fact, only 13 percent said they were masters of Microsoft Office, which is a concern when they’re relied on for tech support. Unfortunately, many employers leave the responsibility of skills development up to admins.
The good news is that professional organizations exist to help admins hone all abilities through professional development programs, whether technical, technological or leadership-based. To further enhance their skills across the board, admins might want to join groups like the ASAP or attend the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC).
The shifting role of admins opens up unprecedented opportunities for ambitious employees to put their leadership skills, training and knowledge to the test. Good luck!
Originally posted by OfficeTeam
One of the things I enjoy most about my chosen profession of Executive Assistant is that no two days are alike. It can also be one of the most frustrating aspects. Admins MUST be flexible and be able to switch to new tasks and change priorities at the drop of the dime.
Everything you need to know about a career in this field.
One minute you’re making sure the CEO is prepared for his meeting with investors and offering your opinion on what he should say, the next you’re sorting through mail and fielding phone calls. You’re definitely not limited to one type of task and there’s no doubt that without you the office would come to a screeching halt.
So, who are you?
The administrative assistant.
Being an administrative assistant: this job is not what you think
Okay, wait. What?
If I asked a bunch of people what their “dream job” was, how many do you think would say it was an administrative assistant?
Probably not many. This job does not exactly have the reputation for being exciting or particularly rewarding. And yet, when you really look into the position, it has the promise to be both of those things.
Today’s administrative assistant is pretty different from yesterday’s secretary. Lisa Leslie explains in her blog post which contrasts the two that as an administrative assistant, you’re very much involved with what is happening in the company and must be able to anticipate the needs of the business.
You’re really the person who is making sure that everything is running smoothly. Because administrative assistants are support systems to executives, managers, and other professionals, their days will vary depending on the schedules of those other members of the company.
Is there such a thing as a typical task list for administrative assistants?
The kinds of things that an administrative assistant does will also change depending on what industry they’re in and what type of company they’re working for.
At a lot of smaller companies, the role of the administrative assistant is more like that of an office manager or an executive assistant. Not only are you going to be in charge of all of the minor clerical duties, but you’ll be working with higher-up executives and taking care of the human resource needs of the company. This means you’re doing everything necessary to keep employers and employees sane.
We’re a pretty small company here at AfterCollege and we don’t have an administrative assistant. But we certainly do have an office manager and he keeps this place going, doing everything from ordering new chairs to organizing and participating in meetings with the CEO.
Apart from basic clerical knowledge, administrative assistants working in legal offices have to have an understanding of criminal procedures, technical writing, legal transcription, and court proceedings since they’ll be making sure that documents are all set to go to court. Those who work in healthcare facilities will need to be familiar with healthcare terminology, medical transcription, and the software used in this industry.
Bayt.com shares a day in the life of an administrative assistant at a hospital in this post and CareerStep does a good job of showing the difference between an ideal versus real-life day in the life of an administrative assistant at a high school.
Although the job will vary depending on the industry and size of the company, there are some tasks that almost all administrative assistants will want to know how to do.
Some of those typical duties include:
Transferring or setting up calls
Mailing out packages
Maintaining filing systems both electronically and on paper
So those are the typical duties of an administrative assistant. Now let’s start exploring why this job might appeal to someone—and why others may choose to go in another direction for their career.
Microsoft Office – You’ll be doing a lot of data entry, note taking, presentation preparation, and document/spreadsheet organization.
Reading and writing – Because you’re constantly sending and responding to emails, sending memos, and updating and editing documents, you need to have proficient writing and proofreading skills. You’re the person that all outside communication will be going through. As a representative of the company, you’ll want to have impeccable grammar and composition.
Accounting – There may be an accountant already working for a company, but a lot of the time, bookkeeping will fall on the administrative assistant. Having a working knowledge of the principles of accounting will help you to take over this role if necessary.
Necessary soft skills:
Communication skills – You’re responsible for greeting and interacting with executives, managers, employees, and clients both in person as well as over the phone or via email. This means that you not only have to be personable but also capable of getting the point across.
Organization – Administrative assistants are jacks of all trades. You’re keeping everything sorted and organized including schedules, files, and the office in general. You have to be incredibly organized to keep track of everything and make sure that your company runs smoothly.
Problem solving – This is not a position for the easily flustered. Because of the largely human element, there are constantly problems that will arise and you have to be able to think on your feet. Such-and-such client has a sudden change in their schedule and needs to come in for a meeting a week early. What can be moved around to make it work? Who should be called if the new document accidentally got deleted?
Want to know what it’s like to be the office manager at a recording studio? You can read all about it in this post and find out why it’s a lot like playing Tetris.
Then check out all of the similarities and differences between that administrative job and this front-desk manager’s position at the funkiest hotel in downtown San Francisco.
Homework time! Think you might like a job as an administrative assistant? Start thinking about what industry you might want to work in. Then, start checking out courses that will equip you with the knowledge for working in that field.
Today's post is from the After College blog by Kellen McKillop.
Weebly shared this blog on branding without bragging. I honestly don't know many people who are comfortable with personal branding at first. We've been taught that it is not polite to brag, and let's face it, that is what personal branding often feels like, But in today's competitive workplace, you need to find a way you are comfortable with to sell yourself. Weebly offers some tips. I really like this bit, "When sharing your accomplishments, don’t be shy about sharing the credit with those who deserve it as well. A willingness to promote others indicates confidence in your own abilities."
LINK TO WEEBLY BLOG
Creating a personal brand is a great way to share your talents and expertise with both colleagues and customers. But some people are uncomfortable with self-promotion and the idea that it may seem obnoxious to others. So what’s the best way to sell yourself without alienating everyone else?
We all have stereotyped images of success, such as the consummate professional or the charismatic entrepreneur. But your personal brand should represent your own unique qualities – not what you think other people want to see.
It’s easier to sell yourself when you’re being yourself, so be authentic about who you are. Focus on your strengths and stick to your own style of communication, whether it’s writing a weekly blog post for customers or sitting down with a manager to share your successes. Reminding people who need your services about how you can make their jobs easier is a positive message they’ll be happy to hear.
Stick to the Facts
Focus on facts and not interpretation, writes marketing strategist and author Dorie Clark in Harvard Business Review. It’s hard to argue with the facts if you say that you have a decade of experience in your field, a passion for what you do, or a certain number of social media followers, says Clark.
But calling yourself a guru, an expert, or a ninja is another story, she adds. Don’t invite criticism by trying to characterize your skillset. Do stick to the facts by describing what you have done -- and what you can do -- to help others. Providing relevant examples is a great way to drive those points home.
Share the Credit
When sharing your accomplishments, don’t be shy about sharing the credit with those who deserve it as well. A willingness to promote others indicates confidence in your own abilities.
“In my experience, glad-handing self-aggrandizement is rarely an effective technique,” says entrepreneur and author Seth Godin in an interview with the New York Times. “What works instead is a combination of relentlessly giving away credit and generously taking responsibility,” he advises.
Rather than focusing on entitlement, this approach focuses on your engagement with your work, he explains. Or in in other words: “Successfully tooting your own horn is more about the horn than the tooting,” Godin says.
A great way to make sure your message is well received is to give more than you ask, writes Julie Parker, founder of an online training school for life coaches. Empowering others through your work is a great way to develop a reputation for being both smart and strategic, she says.
Then when it’s time to ask for that dream promotion or close a big sale, you can do so knowing that the value you’ve provided to others gives you the right to ask for more, Parker advises. It’s also important to remember that being humble doesn’t mean hiding your skills – only being sensitive about how you share your accomplishments.
In short, learning how to brand without bragging is a great way to advertise what you can do and to help others succeed by using you as a resource. It's a win-win for all involved -- and a message worth sharing.
Originally posted on LinkedIn February 11, 2015
I've had numerous requests in the past few weeks to write something on the topic of admin espionage. It makes me sad to know there is a need for this article, but here it is. Honestly, it was a group effort, as I've taken conversations with those who made the requests to craft the following article.
Have you ever been a victim of Admin Espionage? Has someone befriended you because of your position just to learn information? Or worse, has someone poached your boss? Has a fellow admin back-stabbed you by telling lies to gain favor with people in positions of authority? I wish I could say this type of behavior ends in high school, but the truth is it happens all too frequently in the admin world. I do believe in karma and I think these people get what is coming to them eventually, but that doesn't help the victim now.
Admins need each other. This is one job where you really do need to learn ON-THE-JOB. There is no class, seminar or book you can learn as much from as you can from the other admins in your office. Each admin plays an important role in the dynamics of the company and it is best not to undermine them.
Poaching another admin's boss is very bad form. Offering to do extra work for someone you are not assigned to will alienate their admin. Instead, ask that executive’s admin if you can assist with a task that you are interested in learning more about or because you have time on your hands and know she is swamped with other items. People remember, and appreciate, when you have helped them and when you are generous with your time and talents.
Verbally backstabbing other admins, telling lies, directly or through omission of details, or exaggerating a negative truth to gain favor is one of the worst offenses. People remember not just what you say, but how you say it. Being associated with negative thoughts and actions can damage your reputation and career. Instead, try praising a co-worker to their boss, peers, and the admin.
If you antagonize and set yourself at odds with your fellow admins, you’ll only end up stabbing yourself in the back because you will have lost your most valuable commodity, the admins who would otherwise teach/cover/help you. Avoid office gossips, ask how you can get involved rather than manipulating your way into opportunities and use praise over cattiness to gain the trust of both your fellow admins and their executives.
If you're eager to learn and advance, do so by helping in the background, not to seek glory, but to seek skills and knowledge. Once you've built trust and other admins see that you're willing to listen, learn and grow, they will give you the opportunities to do so. Those opportunities are your chance to shine and be noticed.
Originally posted on LinkedIn December 18, 2014
This was written by an absolutely BRILLIANT Executive Assistant and dear friend of mine in response to an insult to our profession. I literally wanted to stand up at my desk and applaud. I may have a framed poster made of it. I definitely needed to share it.
I'm an assistant, specifically an executive assistant -EA for short- and damned good at my job. Anyone who has a problem with being called an assistant -in any aspect- should try putting themselves in ANY of the shoes of the thousands of amazing professional women (and men!) in this career.
We make the work happen, the impossible possible, and are masters of every game and nuance in our fields. We can juggle ten emergencies at the same time while we're teaching foreign business protocol, and keeping in the back of our mind that one international airline's business class seats don't fully recline, so not to book people on it for the 12+ hour flight, (but it's ok for the 6-8 hour flight) and still have time to gently explain to a new hire how to use the conference room booking system, for the thirteenth time, without seeming angry or mean.
We are the keepers of keys, of confidences, of sanity, and of gossip. We know protocol, promotions, and major company shifts, and keep it all locked tight while presenting a professional demeanor and courteous nature, even when crawling onto a desk chair in heels to reconnect the overhead AV equipment one minute before an international video conference.
I've comforted employees as they cried about a problem, put a tiny word in a boss' ear that someone was having issues at home, and to possibly shift that 5:30 pm meeting so they could be home when they were needed. I've warned -and been warned- by the amazing EA network about budget cuts, to keep my boss (or theirs) from proposing an extravagant plan, and to go forward with the more modest one that wouldn't be rejected out-of-hand. I've even made an extra lunch or two, and held back leftover conference food for the junior employee who had no cash until Friday. And until now, never mentioned it to anyone.
The assistants of the world make ALL the cogs of the company run. They are the pieces, but WE are the movement, the momentum, and the safety controls. I have no problem with being an assistant, because there are few in the world who can do it successfully, and those who can are worth the weight of their shoe collections in gold.
So, the next time you -or someone you know- says someone is "only an assistant" know that the true phrase is "ONLY an assistant would be able to do that."
The Audacious Admin is Debbi L. Shaffer, an outgoing, resourceful and highly motivated executive assistant with 20 years of experience specializing in C-Suite Executive Support.