When a job title cannot be: “personal assistant/ customer service/ sales representative/ production manager/ dispatcher/ office manager/ accounts receivable/ accounts payable/ collections/ product expert/ telemarketer / fire putter-outer” it is instead called Secretary.
When I entered the administrative workforce, I expected nothing more than pencil skirts and filing. However, in my many years of experience in industries ranging from dental to roofing, I have found that a secretary’s position is much more complex. Surviving each day in the role can be both challenging and rewarding, the following are five tips to help you endure!
Be Flexible. You may have taken a fantastic Monday-Friday position working nine to five, but that doesn’t mean your time spent at the office will be routine. Oftentimes, there is just one secretary providing administrative support to multiple management or sales team members. Ever-changing deadlines, ever-changing priorities, ever-changing job tasks come with the job title. Be prepared to frequently stop and start projects while still managing the day-to-day filing, faxing, and answering phone calls.
Always Smile. No really, don’t stop smiling. Not only will you look more pleasant, but you’ll also sound better too! Your smile can be heard through the phone, even if it’s fake.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. Ask clients questions to understand their needs. Ask your boss questions to understand the company, products, and assignments. After a while, everyone will start assuming you know everything- but its okay if you don’t! It’s better to get clarification than to guess wrong.
Be Organized. Even those who are not naturally organized can learn to be so! Find methods that work for you. Don’t assume that because a technique has worked in the past for others that it will work for you. Do what works not what HAS worked.
Write. Down. Everything. I call it CYA (Cover Your @$$). Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Anything you think you’ll need to remember, write it down. Anything you think might be important, write it. To-do list, write it down. In a meeting? Write it down (even if you are not responsible for taking minutes). Frequently skim through your notebook to jog your memory and to make sure you haven’t missed anything!
Being a secretary is so much more than the job title insinuates. It can be stressful, but with the right attitude and motivation anyone can be successful, even without a pencil skirt.