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Specialties and skill sets for modern administrative roles

By Fi Darby | 15 March 2018

Those entering the bustling world of the modern office administrator or office manager can expect a far different experience from the stereotypical ‘behind the desk’ image that is still often portrayed in the media.

The world of business is high powered and firmly set within the realms of technological advancement and fast-paced executive decision-making. However, for those with strong organisational skills, a clear enough head for project management and a willingness to train for progression, new administrator roles are as exciting and progressive as those of modern management. Today’s ambitious administrator will be aiming for inspirational job titles such as executive assistant and even junior administrators will, from the start, be expected not only to hone their software ability and gain InDesign, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and bookkeeping skills, but will also need a firm grasp on personal skills such as negotiation, persuasion, decision making, confidentiality and customer service.

The good news is that online administrative training courses have progressed at the same pace as industry requirements and there is an impressive range of administration and business courses available at all levels that have been developed by business specialists working alongside industry leaders. If you are already working in administration and looking for opportunities to take your career to the next level, or are seriously considering administration as a career, you need to read on as we have some great advice.

someone searching through filing cabinet

Administrators can work across all industries, but there are advantages to specialising

Administration is one of those roles that can be looked at from a variety of angles. On the one hand administration requires a set of both personal and practical skills that are transferable across all industries, but on the other, gaining additional knowledge in a specific industry area can be invaluable to your ability to fulfil a role and provide the additional understanding and support for which business employers are so often looking. Below are some examples of administration skills that will take you across a range of industries (we have highlighted those which can be gained through specific online training courses).

Transferable office manager and administrator skills:

As we have said, there is a definite benefit, both for you and your employer, to you gaining knowledge and skills that are pertinent to the industry in which you are working. There are even some industries where it is essential that the office manager and administrator have a working understanding of industry specific terminology and systems. These include: 

  • Medical administrators
  • Legal administrators
  • Filing and registry clerks
  • Research administrators
  • Dental administrators

Some of this understanding can be gained through experience and working alongside those with industry experience but, once again, the online training course route can help fast track progression for those willing to make the effort to further their career. If you are already working in or wish to move across to an administrator or office manager role in a specific industry take a look at the many online training options available. For example, Upskilled have certificate level online courses in human resources and marketing, which might just give you the edge over other candidates for administrator jobs in those areas. 

Administration and office support industry jobs

  1. Office manager.
  2. Personal assistant.
  3. Receptionist (front desk officer).
  4. Project management assistant.

Office manager and administrator roles are vital right across companies and cover a wide range of activities and, despite some attempts at standardisation, still carry a number of slightly confusing job titles. Whichever job title you find yourself working under, you will be expected to provide administrator support to either an individual or a team. We have selected four administrator job roles for you to consider but there are many other options available. 

1. Office manager.

This is a role suitable for those with some administrative experience and is a great next career step for which to aim. Office managers are responsible for overseeing and running all of the administrator undertakings required by an individual organisation. As well as the usual administrator skills such as organisational skills and communication skills an office manager may be expected to demonstrate leadership, dispute resolution and display other HR related skills. Upskilled’s Introduction to Human Resources short course provides a basic introduction to a range of recruitment related skills. 

2. Personal assistant.

A good personal assistant (PA), or also referred to as an executive assistant (EA), can often be invaluable to a busy manager and will take on the work of scheduling meetings, preparing reports, maintaining confidential files, processing correspondence and recording meetings. Personal assistants need to be able to demonstrate personal skills such as problem solving, a high level of organisational skills, communication skills and the ability to juggle multiple tasks. Ideally applicants should be comfortable with the use of Word, PowerPoint and Excel or similar alternative software. 

3. Receptionist (front desk officer).

A front desk officer is usually the first person that anybody entering a company building or making a communication by phone speaks to. This means that a welcoming and helpful attitude is of utmost importance for this role. As well as being able to answer general enquiries, a receptionist will need to handle detailed information regarding company personnel and procedures. Front desk duties also include other clerical tasks, and applicants in this role need to be able to demonstrate the ability to utilise organisational skills, multi-task and solve immediate problems. Ideally applicants should be able to demonstrate software skills such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel as well as some bookkeeping skills. 

4. Project management assistant.

An assistant to a project management team will need some specialist knowledge about the project or projects in hand. They will manage a variety of customised paperwork including contracts and other project management documents and will be required to prepare reports and analyse some data. Applicants to this role need to be able to demonstrate a level of authority, communicate clearly and understand any necessary technical terminology. Upskilled’s Introduction to Project Management short course may be a useful enhancement to existing skills. 

woman going through paperwork

Excellent salaries for senior roles

Whilst starting administrator salaries are not always high, the prospects for those willing to train and work their way up the administrator career ladder to more senior roles, such as personal assistant (PA), are more impressive than you might think. For example, according to Job Outlook, a personal assistant with a Cert III or IV can expect to earn $1,256 a week before tax, with more than 78.7% of PA's taking a full time share of their role. Office manager roles are another example of how persevering with training and workplace experience can pay off, with the average office manager bringing home around $1,150 a week before tax, with over 65% of office managers taking a full time share of their role.

 flatlay of business and finance workspace

Growing opportunities for trained staff

For those already working in administrator or office manager roles, the job outlook is good. The 2017 Government Industry Employment Projections show a predicted five years to 2022 8.4% growth in the ‘Administrative and Support Services’ sector, with senior roles such as ‘Office Manager’ showing the most growth. You will also probably have gained some event management experience, which can be upskilled with further training, leading to events roles within the marketing division, or even into an events business.

If you are looking to take a step into online training and investigate professional development potential, Upskilled’s Self-Management and Professional Development short course offers an excellent opportunity. Or, if you feel established in your current role and are interested in moving up to a senior role, our Diploma of Business Administration will give you the qualifications boost you need. Whichever way you look at it, senior administrators are in demand, and any training efforts you make are very likely to pay off.

Interested in moving up to a senior role? Get the qualifications you need to stand out.

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