A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the minimum qualification for a job as a secretary. Some companies require secretaries to have completed some form of higher education, such as an associates degree. Many vocational schools and community colleges offer coursework related to secretarial work and office administration. Courses typically include instruction in English, mathematics, business accounting, corporate communications, human resources, and training in computer software applications, spreadsheets, and word processing. A bachelors degree in a related field may be required for some executive assistant positions.
As a secretary you will be expected to have strong communications, writing, typing, and general computer skills. Secretaries are often required to work on a number of tasks at the same time, in addition to answering phones and welcoming visitors, so strong organizational skills and attention to detail are essential qualifications. Because you'll be acting as a representative of your company, strong interpersonal skills are important, as are a professional demeanor and appearance. You will also need to be skilled in basic clerical tasks such as filling, faxing, copying, scheduling appointments, and responding to emails.
It is always beneficial to have some experience in the industry you will be applying to. Make sure to have at least some familiarity with the company and its industry before any job interview. Many high-level executive assistants begin their careers as entry-level secretaries or administrative assistants within a large company and work their way up as they gain the proper experience and develop their qualifications.
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