How to Get a Job as an Admin Assistant


How to Get a Job as an Administrative Assistant

Below we’ve outlined how to get a job as an administrative assistant, including the qualities you’ll need to get hired, tips on where to look for jobs, and tips on how to tailor the perfect resume. 


What is an administrative assistant?

Administrative assistants provide administrative support to the staff in any office. They typically have more than one supervisor. Most of the time they with for a team or a department instead of just one person like a secretary would.


They may for example, receive and make phone calls on behalf of the office, receive visitors, do word processing jobs like writing letters and memos, and oversee the office’s petty cash. Administrative assistants are orderly people who have a good memory and are naturally organized. They also know how to get along with other people, since they are required to interact with pretty much everyone in the office. 


What qualities do employers look for in administrative assistants?

To do the job of an administrative assistant well, you need to be very organized and good at time management. You have to have good communication skills. Learn how to speak in a professional way, how to write letters, memos, and other forms of business communication.


Employers also want someone who is good at getting along with people. Demonstrate an easygoing personality. Be good at remembering details and keeping tabs on a lot of things at the same time. Your typing skills should be excellent and you should know how to work with different computer applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and QuickBooks.


Some employers look for event planning skills in an administrative assistant. Learn how to use office machinery like photocopiers, telephones, fax machines, computers and printers.


What qualifications do administrative assistants need?

Each company is different with regards to what they look for when hiring an administrative assistant. Many companies are just fine with candidates that have a high school diploma, but others will want to see some sort of post-secondary qualification. A lot of administrative assistants have college diplomas and university degrees.


Employers will want to see that you are good in English and good with numbers. Most administrative assistants do some basic bookkeeping.


Employers also value experience so you may want to do a short internship if you are a young person who wants to get into this career. The good news is that administrative assistants are needed in almost every company, so these jobs are relatively more plentiful in comparison to others. A good typing speed is invaluable if you want to get a job as an administrative assistant.




How to find administrative assistant jobs

When looking for administrative assistant jobs, you may want to start by sending your resume to all the employment agencies that you know of. Most administrative assistant jobs are not advertised in the newspapers. Write a list of all the organizations that you desire to work for and register on their website. Many companies have an online platform where potential employees can register. Consider doing temp jobs in the mean time as they can be a gateway to full time employment.


When you are applying in person you want to make yourself appear as immaculate and charming as possible. When applying online avoid writing generic applications to every company. Instead tailor each application to the employer you are writing to. Use websites like LinkedIn to find jobs. You may want to consider setting up a premium account, and get a consultant to advise you on how to ensure that your LinkedIn profile is attractive to employers.


Don’t go for an interview without studying your prospective employer. Read everything you can get your hands on about the company and rehearse answers to possible interview questions. Be prepared to narrate specific incidents in which you have demonstrated the specific skills required for the job.


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Tailoring your resume to suit each job

Instead of sending a generic resume to every employer, learn to read through an employer’s job advert and write a resume that will appeal to that specific employer. Focus on the specific qualifications and qualities that have been mentioned. Write down practical ways in which you have demonstrated that you have the skills mentioned. For instance if they mention ‘integrity’ be prepared to narrate an incident in which you demonstrated integrity in the past.


Be sure to put in the correct company address, and where possible, address it to the individual concerned. Taking this little extra trouble will make a big difference. Find out the correct job title used and show how your background prepares you to work in that particular organization.


Preparing for an administrative assistant job interview

Some employers don’t rely on academic qualifications when filling administrative assistant job vacancies. They prefer to have you do a test to demonstrate that you do indeed have the practical skills that are required. You may want to practice your typing, basic bookkeeping, telephone etiquette and filing skills before attending an interview.


Since Administrative Assistants are likely the first people that visitors encounter in an organization, your personal appearance will make a big impact. Ensure that you appear well groomed and speak in a pleasant, professional manner.


Following up on your administrative assistant job interview

Follow up is very important, as it keeps you on the employer’s radar. Don’t forget to send an email or a note within one day to say thank you to the employer for selecting you for the interview. Remember that not everyone gets called to the interview.


Don’t say too much because it may be considered canvassing. Let it be a short and simple note expressing your gratitude for being selected for the interview.


Call up the references you’ve listed on your resume to remind them that you have listed them as references on your resume. You don’t want your reference to fail to remember you when asked to say something about you.


Administrative Assistant Career Guide

To find out more about how to become an administrative assistant, including more details on the educational and experience requirements, please visit our How to Become an Administrative Assistant: Career Path Guide page.


References: How to Get a Job as an Administrative Assistant

Please consult the following online references for more administrative assistant job search tips:


Forbes website:

Okanagan College website:

University of Leeds Career Centre website:


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