What would be a better choice, an administrative assistant or a human resources rep?
I took a career assessment to help me get more specific jobs that have to do with what I'm interested in and these two jobs caught my eye. I did some research on both and I am very interested in both and would like some advice on which I should pursue or lead in.
Smruti Ranjan’s Answer
Great question! So, I would say that one thing to think of, is which one of those career paths has more specialization opportunities? By that, I just mean, you can almost always get a job that requires less experience or fewer certifications than you have. HR is a pretty specialized field in a lot of ways, with a lot of different skills and certifications you can pick up. Once you have those, you could ALWAYS work as an admin assistant if you wanted, but you couldn't go the other way -- it might be really hard to go from being an admin assistant to HR, because you wouldn't have the needed experience. If I were you, I'd shoot for HR, knowing that you'll pick up a bunch of great skills. Also, like Meghan pointed out, there are more opportunities to advance your career in HR, and generally, better pay -- and neither of those are bad things!
This is a great question- I would look at the HR world as much of that work is also administrative by nature, so you can get the best of both worlds. Working HR is going to give you more options for training, certs, salary increases and growth opportunities down the line.
Best of luck!
Try to determine which things you highlighted in the career assessment determined these two career choices. From there, you can dive into what about these roles makes you come alive...
1. Do you like to work autonomously, contribute behind the scenes, organize events and execute tasks? If so, you might enjoy being an Admin but you would need to work harder to move away from Admin work in the future and into other areas because others will assume you are not qualified with other skills. You will need a lot of drive or determination to learn something new. Executive assistants work really long hours and you should decide if the number of hours worked is important.
2. Do you like engaging with others regularly and crave a people connection? If so, Human Resources might be right for you. They provide training, career guidance to others and they also help determine the company's culture.
Tirzah recommends the following next steps:
I think both of these fields HR and admin are very good fields to get into.
HR is more policies and procedures. You have to make sure everything is running smoothly for the place you work at. There may be conflict resolution that you would also work at. It all depends on what level you are. HR is a very respectful career. You could work in a variety of places. You could also become a HR Director at the pinnacle of your career. You can search online as to what job descriptions HR Directors have.
Administration is something I have also worked in. As an admin employee you are responsible for the daily to-do list of that particular department. The job description varies for each dept that you would work in. There could be 5 to 25 people that you report too, depending on the scope of the company. Admin also varies from day-to-day business.
Both jobs are great to get into. Maybe you can do both jobs at different times in your life as both are pretty similar.
Great that you have done a career assessment to help tailor some options for you!
The benefit of an Administrative Assistant is you will generally have exposure to different departments, managers in teams in the organisation. It helps build your organisational skills and is usually a good way to understand business end to end. I have personally worked in an Administrative Assistant role, and it allowed me to progress to a Sales Coordinator, then ultimately a Sales Manager in that same organisation. Administrative Assistant is quite a junior, generalised role though. While it is a good step and can lead to many paths, know it could open doors, or be limiting depending on the size of the business and opportunities available. I personally find people with Administrative Assistant experience are good at negotiating, prioritising and communicating with different types of business stakeholders.
With the HR path, this is more a specialised role and is generally a more senior position. However, it is quite specific and can be a challenging as well as rewarding role. Working in HR means you help people and companies with their HR processes, salaries and benefits, culture, as well as how to deal with any underperforming employees and any issues that may arise. It can be a challenging role as many times you will be exposed to difficult situations and questions. You also have to be across all policies at all times. It is a rewarding role, and if everything I mentioned excites you, this could be a viable option!
While your new in your career, you may always learn and get excited about other types of roles. Hopefully my advice has provided some things you can consider with these specific types of roles. Good luck!
You don't know what direction your career or your life is going to go, so just take a leap and start somewhere. Just because you start on one path doesn't mean that is the path you need to stay on forever. One thing I'd tell you about the HR path is that you will meet a lot of people in different jobs along with there being many different jobs within HR for you to pivot should you enjoy that line of work. Both are jobs that you work with people on so if you are an extrovert, you are definitely looking in all of the right places.
I was one of the people that didn't know exactly what I wanted to do when I was younger and tried many different things so happy to talk further about careers and give advice if interested.