In a typical office set-up, there is usually a boss and its workers or assistants responsible for the smooth execution of clerical tasks and duties. An office assistant is known by several different names such as office clerks/administrative assistant/support specialist, etc. Since almost every office or organization, needs an office assistant to manage its clerical tasks, they often enjoy huge demand and good salary prospects.
Job Profile and Duties
An office assistant is usually responsible for performing clerical duties. The duties might differ and vary from organization to organization, but the broad and most prominent duties are mentioned below:
- Organizing and managing the files pertaining to various clients of the company
- Taking notes and preparing minutes of the board meeting
- Picking and answering phone calls
- Handle all the communications
- Act as a channel of communication between the senior management and the clients of the company
- Drafting business documents, replies, and word processing
- Maintain the appointment schedules of the managers
- Reschedule the appointments upon request from either manager or clients of the company
- Ensure that the office supplies and stationery are in ample quantity
- Maintain a database of the customers of the company
- Plan, organize, and supervise the business trips of the senior level management
- Complete paperwork and data entry
- Greet customers and clients walking into the office premises
- Perform short errands to deliver or collect something
- Ensure that all the office equipment and IT infrastructure is working fine and are in a good shape
- Ensure that all the electricity and fire equipment are well in place and completely installed
- Maintain the decorum of the office
An office assistant is often termed and considered as an all rounder who is responsible for managing all the varied tasks efficienctly. There are various skills which an office assistant must possess. Some prominent ones are mentioned below:
|Name of the skills||Reason|
|Communication skills||In order to respond to client’s queries and reschedule appointments in an effective way|
|Drafting skills||In order to prepare flawless, grammatically correct, and logically written communications|
|Charming personality||In order to greet and impress the clients of the company|
|Discipline||In order to manage so many things simultaneously, you need to be disciplined and organized|
|Good memory||In order to manage your files effectively and produce the requisite file in the bare minimum time, you need to have a sharp memory.|
The salary prospects of an office assistant are bright due to an increased demand and need. The salary fetched in a similar role is dependent upon various factors as illustrated below:
|Name of the factor||Effect on salary|
|Location||An office assistant, posted in locations having a higher cost of living would often fetch high salaries as compared to assistants posted in semi-urban or rural areas. The increase or hike in salary is basically to compensate for inflation.|
|Experience||Experience plays a major role in the salary earned. The higher the experience of an office assistant the higher would be his or her salary.|
|Skills||A skillful and efficient office assistant is always on the radar of employers, and in order to retain such a talent, organizations often pay salaries higher than the median.|
|Certifications||A highly qualified office assistant who has undertaken relevant educational courses would often fetch high salaries.|
The role of an office assistant is of a generalist and not of a specialist. Hence, the educational requirements are not much great. However, one must have at least one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree in any field (3 years)
- A diploma in office management (2 years)
Latest Courses and Certifications
As discussed above, a highly qualified person with awareness about all the latest software and relevant academic courses will always enjoy higher salaries and a better career advancement. Hence, it is always necessary to add a few major certifications to your basket in order to better your chances of selection and salary prospects. Some major courses are:
|Name of the course||Duration|
|Fundamentals of the administrative professional||3 months|
|Public speaking and effective communication skills||3 months|
|Basic accounting and general management||5-6 months|
|Board Minutes – Complete guidance||3 months|
|Business drafting and communication course||3 months|
3 Must Prepare Interview Questions
The interviews for the post of office assistant are tricky and often require a lot of preparation and perseverance due to strict competition. But, with proper preparation one can easily ace his or her interview. Three must prepare interview questions are:
1) How Do You Manage Files and Documents?
The response to this question enables an interviewer to understand your method of handling files, important papers and business documents.
I always prepare a diary and note list along with organizing files in a logical order. It is my habit, to place small paper chits on each and every file, which distinguishes them from the rest. Further, proper categorization of the files is of utmost necessity to reduce the leading time consumed in the availability of files.
2) How Efficiently Can You Draft Written Communications?
Drafting is an important skill of office assistants expected by almost all employers. If you lack this skill then you must join a certification course, as, without this, your chances of selection are almost negligible.
Drafting is an important skill, and I possess expert knowledge in this field. I am aware of all the business terminologies, ethics to be followed, and most importantly the various formats of multiple business documents. Along with this, I have a proficient grammar base with an ability to frame long meaningful sentences.
3) How Do You Handle High Volumes Of Work?
The burden of work and managing high volumes of files comes naturally to the profession of an office assistant. He or she is the administrative assistant of the company and might require to work overtime in order to effectively manage the files.
I completely understand the requirement of high loads of work. I assure you, that I have the ability to work long stretched hours, due to my high level of concentration and developed focus. This helps me to work effectively and perform my duties and tasks efficiently. For maintaining this I practice 15 minutes of meditation daily.
An office assistant is the need of the hour for all organizations operating worldwide. He or she allows the managers or the senior management to focus on important tasks and strategic decisions, without worrying about their files and client details. They are well compensated and with time their compensation increases leaps and bounds. If you like our articles then don’t forget to share them with your family and friends. Also, do let us know through the comments section below, how much you like our articles.
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