Taking the CAP Exam and obtaining an IAAP certification can offer many career benefits and improve overall professional qualifications. The certification is an investment in the Administrative Assistant career that demonstrates to employers, customers and colleagues a deeper level of knowledge and commitment to the field. Being certified by the IAAP will also provide the potential to earn a higher salary, promotions or bonuses. Ultimately, taking the CAP Exam will improve your overall professional qualifications.
As the duties of an Administrative Assistant vary so greatly, they must be able to possess a well-rounded set of transferable skills. Administrative Assistants must have great multi-tasking skills, with attention to detail and superb organization. Because Administrative Assistants often work closely with both their colleagues and clients, they must have strong interpersonal communication skills as well. Being able to keep organized and manage time effectively is also another key skill for an Administrative Assistant.
To be successful, an Administrative Assistant will need to have knowledge and experience in carrying out secretarial tasks, as well as some business and IT skills. A working knowledge of computer systems such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint is imperative, as is good customer service skills.
Although Administrative Assistants are not expected to be IT experts, they are expected to be well-versed with computers. They should have good keyboarding skills and a familiarity with Microsoft Office. They also need to be aware and knowledgeable enough to manage and maintain their organization’s record-keeping and filing systems, as it is a critical part of the company’s operations.
The beauty of the Administrative Assistant career choice is that there is always room for growth and professional development; the career is entirely versatile and allows for exploration in other areas of interest.
Most commonly, Administrative Assistants can advance their career in areas such as marketing, human resources, and office management. This career is a great way for someone to get their “foot in the door” and advance in a variety of other areas. Advancement is typically acquired through increasing responsibility. For example, an Administrative Assistant interested in marketing may assist with writing newsletters or updating the company’s blog, while an Administrative Assistant interested in Human Resources may ask to assist in their company’s recruitment process by screening resumes and sitting in on interviews.
Some common career paths for Administrative Assistants include transitions towards roles with more responsibility. These include Administrative/Office Managers, Executive Assistants, Bookkeeper, Human Resources Manager, and Operations Manager. While Administrative Assistants generally work in traditional office settings, an emerging trend finds many working from home as Virtual Assistants.
Today, more and more business is being conducted online. This is due to the ever increasing influence of the internet, coupled with Administrative Assistants are becoming increasingly more common online. Thus, a new career has emerged: the Virtual Assistant.
While an Administrative Assistant works in an office as an employee for a company, Virtual Assistants can work remotely as an employee for a company or work as an Independent Contractor on a freelance basis. Much like traditional Administrative Assistants, Virtual Assistants are employed within a broad number of industries. The only difference is that instead of working in a formal office setting, the Virtual Assistant works from the comfort of their own home with the ability to work for themselves. Virtual Assistants typically handle the same types of tasks as traditional Administrative Assistants who work in-office .
Tasks provided by Virtual Assistants generally include answering calls and emails, various administrative tasks, data entry, filing, bookkeeping, payroll, and transcription. They may also do various marketing activities such as newsletters, desktop publishing, and event planning and coordination.
Much like an Administrative Assistant, Virtual Assistants needs to be self-starters and able to work independently without direction. However, these skills are more important for Virtual Assistants as working from home requires more self-discipline and time management than working in a formal office setting. A Virtual Assistant also needs to be good at multi-tasking, problem solving, and prioritization.
However, while Virtual Assistants are on the rise, they are not thought to replace in-house Administrative Assistants anytime soon.
Currently, there is an emerging “virtual working revolution”, as many new small business owners are seeking skilled workers with low overheads. This is due to increased opportunities for Virtual Assistants to find work online through job boards like Freelancer and Upwork. A survey by software brand Unify in 2016 found that 52% of ‘knowledge workers’ are part of virtual teams (teams of workers who are not located in the same office building, but communicate using digital and mobile technology). More than two-thirds of knowledge workers (69%) say that the office is less important than it was in the past and 42% say that virtual teams can be more effective than face-to-face groups. One in five knowledge workers trade as freelancers or contractors (www.raconteur.net/business/on-demand-freelanceworkers-are-on-the-rise).