In Summary - Secretary
Secretarys typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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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 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.
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.
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
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.