A secretary, also known as a personal assistant, is primarily employed to support a director or owner of a business. A secretary is skilled in administration and will be privy to important or confidential information. In the case of individuals such as artistic or political figures, secretaries handle their personal and professional affairs.
Who can I work for?
Companies large and small, business professionals and high profile individuals all require a secretary or personal assistant.
Where and when can I work?
The place of work depends on the employer but hours are generally 9am to 5.£0pm and office based. A proportion of secretaries are represented by an agency assigned to temporary contracts, allowing for some flexibility in hours and variety of tasks.
What can I earn?
Full time wages are approximately £18k per annum, however experienced and highly skilled secretaries earn up to £40k. Temporary staff typically earn £7-£8 per hour but the rate can be as high as £15.
What are the benefits?
A secretary invariably occupies a senior position within an organisation or supporting a high profile figure, which presents wide ranging and interesting challenges. Social events and travel are potential perks of the job.
Are there chances of promotion?
In larger corporations secretarial teams report to a senior secretary and experienced staff may qualify to transfer into other departments such as accounts or human resources. Specialist positions are attainable with further study such as a medical or legal secretary.
What will I be responsible for?
Secretarial positions are demanding and diverse with particular focus on the following responsibilities: organise diaries, book appointments, organise meetings and travel arrangements, take meeting minutes, produce letters and reports and recruit and train other staff members.
What qualifications do I need?
Advanced computer skills and proficiency in maths and English are essential for the job. Although not always a requirement, NVQs and diplomas are available in business administration and secretarial schools offer training in shorthand and typing.
Do I need any experience?
The majority of secretarial vacancies require some sort of relevant experience; the amount of experience varies according to the level of seniority the position holds.
What attributes are needed?
A good secretary will be efficient, organised, reliable, trustworthy and discreet. Strong written and spoken communication skills are required in addition to flexibility, confidence and the ability to act independently. Some positions request a minimum word typing speed, shorthand, audio-typing skills and even foreign languages.