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Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Salary Range
€20k - €50k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Secretaries provide administrative support to managers and other professionals.

Knowledge

  • Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skills

  • Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.

In Summary - Secretary

Career Sectors

Secretarys typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Temping
Clerical & Administration

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Further Information

The Work - Secretary

The secretary's main role is to help managers make more efficient use of their time and energy. Secretaries must use initiative and judgement to relieve their manager of unnecessary pressures or frequent interruptions. This sometimes means using their initiative to make decisions on a manager's behalf.  
 
They usually take charge of all incoming telephone calls, deal with routine enquiries, take messages and decide which calls need the immediate attention of the manager. Secretaries may be responsible for checking incoming mail, faxes and email, and deciding which correspondence the manager needs to look at or deal with personally.  
 
They organise and prioritise office correspondence on their manager's behalf, and keep an efficient diary to record all appointments.  
 
Managers normally dictate letters to their secretaries, who may use shorthand, or audio typing skills. Using their initiative, secretaries also prepare and word process draft replies to correspondence without supervision, showing these to their manager for approval and signature.  
 
Secretaries keep their manager's diary and may arrange meetings on their behalf. They also use writing skills to draw up an agenda prior to a meeting, take accurate minutes (often using shorthand) and write them up concisely afterwards. Before the meeting begins, they distribute the agenda and any other relevant papers to people who will be attending the meeting.  
 
Some secretaries make their manager's travel arrangements, reserving hotel rooms and planning the travel itinerary. Secretaries may also do this for international colleagues or clients who visit the organisation. Sometimes secretaries go with their manager on business trips or to attend conferences.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Use computers for various applications, such as database management or word processing.
  • Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.
  • Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.
  • Set up and manage paper or electronic filing systems, recording information, updating paperwork, or maintaining documents, such as attendance records, correspondence, or other material.
  • Operate office equipment, such as fax machines, copiers, or phone systems and arrange for repairs when equipment malfunctions.
  • Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.
  • Maintain scheduling and event calendars.
  • Complete forms in accordance with company procedures.
  • Schedule and confirm appointments for clients, customers, or supervisors.
  • Make copies of correspondence or other printed material.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Interests - Secretary

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Social

The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.

Qualities

As a secretary, you will need word processing skills, possibly shorthand and audio typing skills, and good English language ability.  
 
Strong organisation skills are essential - you must be able to plan and prioritise your workload, as well as that of your manager. Secretaries must be efficient and accurate, capable of paying close attention to detail and using a very methodical approach to their work.  
 
You should have a good telephone manner and a polite and helpful approach to visitors. Tact and discretion are required, especially when explaining to telephone callers or visitors that the manager cannot see or speak to them straight away. You also need to think quickly and stay calm under pressure.  
 
You must be able to use your initiative, for example, to draft a reply to correspondence, or decide which letters the manager needs to deal with personally.  
 
You should have a respect for confidentiality, because you may deal with personal, confidential or sensitive information.  
 
Secretaries need the ability to understand how their organisation works, for example, the function of different departments or the company's relationship with clients.  
 
A smart appearance, good hearing and clear speech are also desirable qualities in a secretary.

Entry Requirements - Secretary

Pay & Salary - Secretary

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €20k - €50k

Data Source(s):
Sigmar / CPL / Robert Walters / Abrivia

Last Updated: February, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Secretary

Useful Contacts - Secretary

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