How To Become A More Effective Secretary

Even though the title “secretary” is quickly declining in use, with more people preferring to use “administrative assistant,” the positions handle many similar functions. For any secretary to scale the ladder in any organization, they have to ensure that they’re well-informed in her ability to assist her employer and should be more proactive and less reactive when executing her duties. The more administrative assistant responsibilities a secretary can integrate into her traditional secretarial duties, the easier it will be for her to fulfill their potential. You are an effective secretary when you can anticipate your employer’s needs.


Secretaries traditionally handle filing and correspondence, coordinating the boss’ schedule, and answering phones. Some secretaries aren’t assigned to just one executive, but function in secretarial pools and serve a group of executives.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants have more duties than secretaries, and that even includes handling projects their bosses might give them, and which require some initiative. For instance, in small companies, owners might ask their assistants to get health insurance plans bids for the company before presenting them for final review and decision. Assistants may also have other ongoing duties like collecting and compiling media reports that are relevant to the organizations’ business or preparing monthly financial reports.


Some typical duties secretaries perform include typing correspondence, taking meeting minutes or notes and dictation, setting appointments, sending faxes, placing and answering phone calls, managing the boss’ calendar, making copies of important information, and making airline, hotel, and lunch reservations. Depending on their job description, secretaries may also perform an assortment of personal tasks like making and serving coffee, ordering flowers, taking and picking up dry cleaning, buying a gift for the boss’ spouse, or even making dinner reservations. However, these last tasks have lost flavor in the modern workplace and aren’t as common as they once were.


To fill up a secretarial position, there are a couple of requirements that one must meet. They include: simple spreadsheet use, accurate typing skills, ability to work and relate well with members of the public, good time management skills, good knowledge of specific or proprietary software the job uses or requires, maintaining confidentiality, and being punctual and organized. Secretaries use phone systems, personal computers, copiers, fax machines, and in some instances, dictations machines. A secretary that will take courses to keep her up to date can benefit greatly suggests Souters Training, a provider of PA Courses in London.

How To Be An Effective Secretary

A secretary who’s assigned to a single executive represents him or her to the public. If this is you, do your best to know your employer’s key contacts and always address their names when they come into the office or call. Also, consider improving your computer skills, and especially in basic MS Office programs like PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. This makes you more valuable. Take supplementary courses at a local community college to improve your English, math, computer software, and journalism skills, amongst others. Some companies could even pay tuition for you if the course you are taking is relevant to your duties. Your typing speed will determine the amount of work you get done, so work on improving your typing speed.

Do your best always to get to work earlier than your boss and wait until he leaves if he works reasonable hours. Also, consider anticipating your boss’s needs by asking questions like “Do you need the quarterly reports for the coming board meeting?” or “Are all your travel arrangements for next week’s meeting finalized?”. Create a calendar and keep a work diary for your boss, and record all recurring tasks and activities. Check his calendar frequently to always stay a step ahead of your boss. Doing these things will simply make you indispensabl