Often called an administrative assistant, a secretary may provide support to everyone in the office, a small group of executives or one senior executive. A junior secretary usually reports to or takes direction from a senior secretary. The overall goal of a secretary is to ensure that office procedures run smoothly.
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Generally, junior secretaries support senior secretaries in their duties, carrying out tasks delegated to them. Responsibilities include providing administrative and clerical assistance to professionals, creating memos, greeting visitors, answering telephones, keeping schedules, making travel arrangements and organising company events. The responsibilities of a secretary vary from company to company and usually depend on the nature of the business. In some cases, secretaries are employed part-time.
Junior secretary candidates must have strong written and oral communication skills, as well as a strong background in typing. Knowledge of Microsoft Office programs including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint is important, as is familiarity with various telephone systems. Candidates must also work well under pressure, multitask with efficiency and feel comfortable making phone calls. Depending on the nature of the business, a junior secretary candidate may need knowledge of a specific area or computer program. In specific cases, a degree is required. In most instances, requirements include GCSE or A levels and a vocational qualification.
Despite having the right qualifications, secretaries will need training to learn company policies and procedures. Often this training is carried out by a senior secretary who delegates tasks. Newly hired junior secretaries may receive training material such as handbooks or guides. Training varies with each company and industry.
Room for growth
In the absence of, or departure of, a senior secretary, a junior secretary will be promoted. A new candidate will fill the open position of junior secretary. Working as a secretary allows an individual to demonstrate abilities and become familiar with various facets of a company, form relationships with professionals in various departments. In many cases, a secretary may be promoted to another position within the company that allows for greater opportunity and higher pay.
According to the UK's National Careers Service, as of July 2014, a secretary/administrative assistant earns between £12,000 and £20,000 a year, depending on the company, location and nature of the duties.
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