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What are some steps would you recommend I take to prepare to enter this field? (office admin)

#business #career #audit #hr #office #officeadmin #admin

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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,

Some of your answers are in your hashtags, for sure. Business programs will prepare you for many business roles including administration. What you may need to focus on is honing your skills in some areas. The top two that I think of are communication skills (written and verbal) and time management. These two come to mind because Administration is often about organizing the work of an individual or company across a wide variety of tasks. When I think of an administrator at my company, I think of two roles - site administrators or executive administrators (called Chiefs-of-Staff at my company).

Site Administrators are responsible for all the activities that occur in a particular location. I work at a large training facility. And my site administrator has roles from making sure that the cafeteria runs smoothly, site housing for the students is satisfactory, the classrooms has working equipment, and the security and safety procedures are in place and being followed. That's a lot of work that requires great communication and time management to keep everything moving.

Chiefs of Staff are often a conduit to a person or a set of people. By managing who has access and when, they often reflect the desires of their leader and are often the first person you have to discuss your ideas with before you can speak to the leader. Think of the Chief of Staff of the president which is a highly visible role in US. It is a an administration role. Chief of Staffs often have staff of their own. So while there is some guidance on the personal access to the president, they often take on tasks that the president doesn't have time to address. In some administrative roles, you need to have knowledge in the same work area as the person you are working for. So with administration, you may want to consider what industry you would be interested in supporting. The Chiefs of Staff that I know are people in Human Resources fields such as Learning and Development, Recruitment, Benefits.

In addition to having some working knowledge of your industry, I would recommend also being comfortable with ambiguity and delegation skills. Being comfortable with ambiguity means that you can and will act on only a little bit of information. In business today, speed to act is often much more desired than perfection. Delegation is a tricky skill that I see a lot of people struggle with. You have to give the work to someone else and manage them through the process of doing the work. You do not do the work for them but you have to make sure that they do it. The refrain I often hear is - I could have done faster myself. And yet the reality is, the best administrators get the most done when they have the right people in place to delegate work to.

So how do you start to hone your skills now? I would recommend becoming a volunteer at an organization that you choose. Offer to do administrative tasks. Volunteer to lead volunteer sessions - to invite, schedule, and then lead volunteers through an activity. At school, volunteer to work with a club and be the secretary of some area like event planning. Event planning requires a lot of different tasks to be accomplished at the same time, very like the daily work on an office administrator.

Gloria
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Janet’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,
I agree with all previous responses although I am wondering if you are limiting your view of career options. I am a Program & Project Manager and can only speak to this role. Most skills for an office admin role align with the PM profession. When I look back, I can trace the skills that led me there as follows:

1. People came to me to get things done. Skill: Understand reasonable needs/goals and organize the steps to achieve them.
2. I had an ear for listening and could spot people’s natural skills through conversation. Skill: clear stakeholder identification regardless of official roles.
3. When issues happened, I was able to match people’s skills with project needs. Skill: agile thinking..
4. I was not afraid to communicate. Skill: fearless communicator even when I push boundaries.

If you find that you enjoy using the above skill set in college or at home, then all you need to figure out is what industry is personally interesting to you but also values/pays PMs well. Also, working towards the PMP Designation is attainable for anyone (college or no college). If you consider the PM profession, you may qualify for most office admin jobs out there plus an even larger choice of job postings. If you take the time to earn your PMP, then you will have an unquestionable foundation for career success for most any job, including office administrator. My best to you!
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Abby’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,

Great responses above! Office Administrators need a varied skillset to perform their daily duties and responsibilities. You should consider taking the following classes to gauge your interest and build your skillset: business administration , technology (Office 365), accounting/finance, HR, marketing and communication. In addition to taking classes, Office Administrators are often required to use practical knowledge including time management, problem-solving, organization, research and good ol' self-motivation.

If you naturally have these skills, and can get some coursework completed, you will be a great office administrator!

Abby
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Orain’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,

I hope all is well with you.

I will touch on steps to prepare for an audit profession since I am currently in this field.

1. Understand the scope of audit you would like to perform in this profession. For example: If you wanted to perform IT audit this would require you to major in CIS, MIS and IT related majors in college.

2. Attend firms networking events, career fairs etc - it is very important to build a network for this profession

3. Intern with audit firms to gain experience while in college

4. Once completed college and while working prepare to take the certification that is required for the audit work you are performing (For example if you are performing IT audit then CISA, CISM etc or for Financial audit CPA, IIA)

5. Once working try to gain as much experience as possible in different areas of the audit from Planning to Reporting phases as well as learning how to lead teams etc. Additionally, try to keep up to date with new and revised audit guidances from PCAOB/SEC as well as industry best practices that are appropriate to the work you are performing.

I hope these help.

O.M

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Anthony’s Answer

Please, note the following regarding some steps towards
office administration field :-
1. Consider the vision/goal.
2. Consider the extent of the
general INTEREST and
KNOWLEDGE towards office
administration.
3. Knowledge in :-
a. Management
b. Book-keeping.
c. Economics.
d. Basic Accounting.
e. Computer Literacy.
4. Good communication skills.
5. Good writing skills.

Best wishes to you.
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Peyton’s Answer

Hi there!

I was an administrative assistant/receptionist for almost 3 years and the only type of degree I had was a high school diploma. While this is not always the same across every company, many will hire receptionist's who are still in college as a means to help them through school. In my personal experience, many who were hired as receptionist's or administrative assistants were able to continue their career as administrative professionals without a college degree. If there is a specific company you are interested in, check out their LinkedIn or careers page to see what their requirements are for hire. And if you are able to become a receptionist, work extra hard in caring for the employees and company as you are the face of the company and the employees safe space! It is easy to continue promotions as long as you can show you are dedicated and hardworking within your field.

I know with many companies, a business administration degree may be required as well. I would start with seeing what the requirements are for a list of companies and going from there. I hope this helps!
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Ann’s Answer

My favorite career! Being an administrative professional is so great because you can work in ANY field. I first attended a one year secretarial program after high school and it really helped me get a leg up on getting a job. From there, I've been an insurance adjuster, in advertising, sales, software, public relations, corporate grocery and more.

First, advance your core skills like keyboarding speed, apps like MS Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams. There are lots of free courses online, and YouTube is a great place for tutorials.

You likely won't make much money at first, but having top skills may help you move up quickly. My admin career morphed into all kinds of cool opportunities. Wouldn't trade that for anything and I will always be an admin at heart!

Enjoy your search and enhancing your skills!
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Candace’s Answer

Hi Elizabeth,
I was an admin assistant for my company's VP, an office manager at a past company, and an office administrator at another past company. With all of my roles, experience with Office 365 was important. I utilized Outlook, Excel, and OneNote the most, while my other colleagues also used PowerPoint. So if you have not already, I would suggest online tutorials to get familiar with those programs. My job role would also consistently include maintaining a schedule with Outlook calendars, keeping a running list of all of my to-do items, and being readily available to assist my VP with their ad-hoc needs. I would suggest taking time to determine the best tool for you to keep you organized. Organization, time management, and attention to detail are critical skills for this job role. OneNote was excellent for me. I also used Outlook as my to do list. I keep my inbox cleared out except for the emails I am working on specifically. Color categorizing emails and meetings is helpful, as well as grouping my emails into conversations in Outlook to make the view more efficient and consolidated. One other step I would recommend is to watch tutorials on how to best correspond through email. Responding to emails can be a skill in itself. There are videos online that can provide you tips on how to best structure your emails, and how to communicate effectively.

There are a lot of different tasks and skills that can be learned along the way once you step into a new admin role. The job will vary greatly between companies, so I would not stress about having to know everything about everything before applying for a position. Once you have the basics for popular programs like O365, you can gain quite a bit of on-the-job training over time for any other software or program that company uses in particular.

Good luck and feel free to reach out if I can help provide any assistance. Thanks!
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