Are you a person with good organisational skills and who people approach with all sorts of queries? If Yes, a career as an Administrative Assistant could be ideal for you.
Administrative assistants are considered the backbone of every office. They are an invaluable company asset, possessing remarkable skills to make business happen.
This comprehensive guide will equip you with all the knowledge needed to become an assistant in Australia. It discusses the qualifications, courses, skills, certifications, working conditions, salary, and much more to help you make the right start.
1. Who Is an Administrative Assistant?
An administrative assistant is a skilled professional who performs various tasks in a small setting or enterprise.
Due to their high motivation, organisational prodigy, attention to detail, pressure-handling abilities, and expert execution skills, they play an inevitable role in the entire executive management team.
Admin assistants are:
The primary contact for visitors and inquiries.
Ensuring the smooth execution of communications and various organisational tasks, such as prioritising workflow.
Supervising received mail.
Coordinating client meetings.
Preparing office memos.
2. What Does An Executive Assistant Do?
To become an administrative assistant, you must familiarise yourself with the job description.
An Administrative Assistant is an office manager who wears many hats during his work course. At one time, you would find him taking appointments and making travel arrangements. Sometimes, he could be training, planning projects, or organising meetings.
Their day-to-day research and reporting duties vary as per the industry, the organisation's size, and the personal work preferences of their co-workers.
Following are the duties and tasks promoting improved efficiency and workflow in an organisation.
Schedule appointments, arrange meetings, and manage event calendars.
Create travel arrangements
Sort and issue incoming mail to concerned zones and dispatch outgoing mail
Write business reports, office memos, and letters on a routine basis using word processing programs.
Solving visitor's queries, answering customer's inquiries over the telephone, and providing solutions to the questions of organisational employees
Well-versed in operating office machines, including xerox machines, fax machines, and computers.
Recording, formatting, proofreading, managing, and faxing data and documents.
Record, prepare, sort, categorise and file information.
Perform banking, or payroll functions
Generate updates and staff bulletins regularly
Efficiently manage office assets like stationary equipment.
Performs the task of a receptionist
3. What Education Do You Need To Be An Administrative Assistant?
Administrative assistants play a crucial role in business operations and ensure smooth functioning in an organisation. You do not need formal qualifications to work as an administrative assistant in Australia.
However, it is beneficial to formalise your skills and showcase your professionalism in front of your employers.
By undergoing relevant training and certification courses, you can get informal training that will prepare you for the job.
Get an Associate's degree or VET qualification in business or administration, qualifying you for more high-paying employment opportunities. Though entry-level requirements for an executive assistant vary from job, employers mostly look for at least Year 10.
4. What Skills Does An Admin Assistant Need To Work In Australia?
Admin assistants work for multinational companies. They are the first contact between demanding clients, stakeholders and the company. It requires them to have an exceptional workplace, people, and communication skills.
Here is the complete listing of executive assistant qualifications and skills needed for this role.
An admin assistant has access to sensitive documents of the company. That's why they must be reliable and discrete to ensure all the company information remains private.
Excellent time management skills
Focussed and methodological
Precise and skilful performance
A team player
A likeable personality
Willingness to learn
A creative problem solver
Able to adapt to changes quickly and easily
Tech-savvy and proficient in working on several integrated platforms and apps that include communications apps, calendaring systems, HR systems, billing systems, employee engagement software, travel reservation platforms, and more
Anticipating abilities to sense the need of others and a willingness to provide timely support
Emotional intelligence to effectively deal with one's and other emotions. It is a highly sought ability in assistants that helps them resolve conflicting scenarios effortlessly.
Effective listening and communication (written and oral) skills
A supportive nature and superior customer service skills
Constantly polite manner and a friendly demeanour
Ability to work self-sufficiently
Sense of urgency
Strategic planning skills
Good typing skills
Handling demands on time and prioritising issues to help ensure maximum work efficiency
5. Steps To Become An Administrative Assistant In Australia
Many students want to know how to become an executive assistant without experience. Though having a college degree is optional, getting a short professional training course from a community college can provide an extra edge to please a potential employer.
Here is the clear roadmap to making the right start in an administrative assistant career:
Step 1: Increase Your Typing speed
Typing speed and accuracy are two skills that an employer looks for when interviewing for the post of administrative assistant.
It is beneficial to complete a keyboarding course at an offline/online technical training institute, vocational school, or community college to improve your speed and precision of typing.
The course also teaches how to make, modify and save documents.
Step 2: Train The Industry-Specific Terminologies
Administrative assistants work in different positions and industries, such as legal secretaries or medical receptionists. It is beneficial to learn the terminologies and practices used in that industry.
Step 3: Develop IT Skills
An admin assistant must work with different software and apps during the work course. An IT course can be helpful to get hands-on learning on prominent software programs used for office tasks.
The course also offers in-depth training in MS Office suite, including MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint.
Step 4: Earn a Degree/Certification
You can apply for an Administrative Assistant job without a degree. Still, most employers in Australia expect at least an Associate's degree or a certificate in business. It is helpful as it proves your competency and skills to work on this job.
Step 5: Get An Internship
Some training schools offer internships at the end of the course (as a part of their curriculum). However, suppose you still need relevant training while studying for a degree. In that case, you can even apply for an external apprenticeship at the following places:
Real estate agencies
Businesses and law offices
Step 6: Apply For An Admin Assistant Job
You can apply for an admin assistant job with or without a degree in Australia.
Follow the below steps to get quick responses to your job application:
Registering on online job sites and attending workshops and seminars will help you develop professional connections and stay aware of any job opportunities in your area. Some of the top job portals in Australia are, Indeed, Seek, Recruit, Jora, and Jobim.
Though online is the easiest way to apply for a job, you can even reach out to the company and apply for a post in person. Show your friendly demeanour and an optimistic and energetic presence in the office to improve your chances of getting hired.
If you perform all the above steps, you increase the chances of landing your first job as an Admin Assistant.
6. How Are The Working Conditions For An Administrative Assistant?
An administrative assistant is usually employed to work indoors. He may work independently or in a group that comprises other administrative assistants, technical staff, tradespeople, and professionals.
At the starting stage, small- or large-scale companies appoint administrative assistants to the clerk post. He may need to perform various tasks in a small firm or a few specific tasks in a big organisation.
With training and gaining work experience, an experienced administrative assistant can get promoted to higher job roles such as legal administrator, office administrator, front-line manager, or record keeper and undertake more complicated tasks and responsibilities.
7. Pros of Working as an Office Assistant
Being efficient and highly organised can bring an immense difference in the energy and professionalism of the office.
A great career that gives you umpteen opportunities to assist others and learn daily
Opportunities to meet different types of people and learn how to treat them well
The feeling of assisting people brings a sense of happiness and achievement.
The job never bores you. It involves various work and interaction with team members and customers that constantly challenges your limits and keep you entertained and busy.
8. Challenges To Being an Office Assistant
The job requires juggling several tasks at the same time. Moreover, you need to complete every single task with perfection. Juggling different personalities and work methods can be tiring. Working constantly under pressure can be demanding, with strict deadlines and substantial workloads.
Another challenge is that you often have to deal with strong personalities with internal and external customers. It requires you to exhibit exceptional people skills and professionalism.
Sometimes you need to go the extra mile assisting people and don't get time for yourself. Working in this demanding and multitasking environment can adversely impact your health and well-being.
Minimal appreciation after doing a laborious job reduces your morale.
The field is highly competitive and requires expertise in several areas such as communication, computer, hospitality, pressure handling, and team working skills. So, you must be highly skilled to get the initial break and sustain your position.
You often get repetitive work that doesn't give you any scope for making progress in this career.
9. What Are The Key Certifications To Become A Trained Admin Assistant?
To work as an administrative assistant in Australia, you need to have a sound knowledge of bookkeeping, technology and experience in networking.
A candidate who wants to pursue a career in this field doesn't require formal qualifications. However, gaining a degree in business can increase your chances of job success and help make a swift advancement in your career.
Depending on your area of interest, you can complete an online or offline certificate program/s from a nationally recognised university. These courses are usually of one-year duration.
A certificate program benefits a candidate seeking an entry-level position in the administration field.
The administrative assistant course provides a detailed understanding of several business areas, that includes:
Some certification also involves administrative assistant training/internship where you learn about various roles and techniques in the business community, including creative roles, leadership roles, and more. It gives an additional boost to gaining employment after graduation.
Here are the most relevant administrative assistant certifications for a career:
Certificate IV in Business Administration (specialisation in Finance)
This comprehensive course prepares a candidate for various office administration job roles.
Certificate IV in Business Administration (specialisation in Information Technology)
The course provides specialised knowledge in information technology and its components, such as database design, implementation of information systems, business technology maintenance, and office skills.
Certificate IV in Business Administration
In this course, a candidate gets basic and introductory experience in several top-level functions in an office environment.
Certificate IV in Legal Services
The course trains you to research legal information, generate legal documents and implement legal principles in various office scenarios.
Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal)
This is a customised course designed by industry professionals. It gives an overview of the legal system to perform the role of a legal receptionist, legal secretarial, or assistance work.
Certified Administrative Professional
This nationally recognised course gives a detailed understanding of the various areas of business administration. This includes:
Organisation and planning
To take this course, a student has to have four years of relevant work experience as an Administrative Assistant.
Certificate III in Business (Medical Administration)
An admin assistant can also work as a front-line manager like a receptionist. It is a specialised course that imparts general knowledge to those keen to make a career as a medical receptionist.
You can earn an online "Associates degree in Business" from a reputed institution. Where online mode requires around three years, you can complete an on-campus degree in two years.
The degree equips one with the skills to gain access to organisations, from the largest companies in Australia and the public sector to small-scale and medium-scale enterprises.
Besides specialising in business, an Associate's degree can offer you specialisation in other areas, such as:
Human Resource Management
Business and Technical Writing
Math for Business and Finance
10. Top Universities That Offer Associate Degrees in Business And Other Areas
The University of Queensland
11. Type Of Jobs Available For An Administrative Assistant
Earning the necessary qualification via certification courses and degree opens the door for administrative assistant jobs in the following industry sectors:
Legal and accounting services
Technological advancements offer ample work opportunities for multi-skilled, flexible, and adaptable administrative assistants to work remotely using online technology to communicate with clients.
By getting more skilled, experienced, and workplace savvy, an executive assistant, can take on various roles in the administration industry. Some of the major ones are:
Office Administrator/Office Manager
Supervises, recruit, and train new administrative assistants.
Oversee the processes and systems of office administration in a business.
Manage human resources, records, accommodation, budgets, and property facilities.
Keep a check on the financial transactions of a business, and credit ratings of customers, verify transactions and bring any misdeeds in the organisation to the notice of the management.
Arrange payments and the record received invoices
Distribute salaries and wages
Promote the services and products of the company or client
Create and advertise promotional material and campaigns to respond to new opportunities and risks in marketing and outstanding competition
Front-Line Manager For Example Receptionist
Offer friendly business guidance and manage workflow in the office
Ensure high work quality, provide technical expertise, and give references.
A medical receptionist helps patients and staff with patient data entry, appointment times, form filling, and other similar duties.
Complete several types of clerical and administrative tasks
Perform duties concerning storage of documents, form filling, sorting and drafting emails, data entry, and acting as a communication channel between clients, and staff
Word Processing Operator
Performs numerous tasks to make sure the office documents are correctly formatted, edited, printed, and organised
File hard and soft copies of documents for future reference
Human Resources Officer
Based on the staffing requirements of an organisation, an HR assistant should advertise vacancies and conduct interviews.
Help employees' personal and professional development by providing information, advice, and problem-solving services.
12. How Much Can I Earn As An Admin Assistant in Australia?
With certifications, practical hands-on experience, and other specialisations, the average executive assistant pay rates in Australia are between $45k and $55k.
Talking on the global level, the average salary of an admin assistant is $40,000 a year in the US, $45,000 a year in California, and $34,000 a year in Kansas.
The starting executive assistant salary is around $30,000 per year. Your pay will increase when you receive more education, experience, and credentials.
Professionals who are working in top positions make approx. $50,000 a year. The average administration assistant salary in Sydney with five years of working experience ranges between 44 000 and $57 000 per annum.
A career as an administrative assistant is highly respected and demanding worldwide.
However, Technological advancements can make it more challenging to keep up with the latest technologies.
On the other hand, studying professional business administration courses is a great way to get started if you are great at communicating and have organisational skills.
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