Inside Administrative Assistant Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Work Is Boring And Tiresome...
The amount of inane work that must be done for businesses to operate. It is fine to assist people, but much of the work and even the people I have to interact with are boring and uninteresting." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied International Affairs at Bard in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"Wide Scope Of Work...
I am surprised at how much I work with different departments in my company. Although I was hired to assist two departments I perform work for all of the departments in my company." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Houston in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 1987

"Surprised At The Opportunities...
It is surprising how much an education in business can help you out to get many jobs. I working in the field I do realize how many jobs in reality use the same concepts of what I learned." (Business Administrator; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Business at Yakima Valley College in Washington; completed Associate degree in 2009

"Hard To Find Out Administration's Need For Its Job...
I was surprised about the title of the job, Administration work is not exactly as it is described." (Electric Engineering; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, male
School: Studied Engineering at Atlantic Cape Community Collage in New Jersey; completed Associate degree in 2004

"I Was Alarmed At The Amount Of Diversity Offered In This Career...
What has surprised me is how diverse this job can be." (Self-Employed; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Administrative Assistant at New Hampshire Technical College in New Hampshire; completed Certificate degree in 2002

"Highly Respected...
The most surprising thing has been how much respect and influence I have within the campus. That may be specific to my situation, but even being the least educated and lowest paid person on the administrative staff, I am included in meetings and my opinions are sought and given weight." (Office Manager; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied English at University Of Kansas in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"Ever Evolving Duties And Expectations...
I was surprised about the amount of work necessary for what is seen as a simple, low maintenance profession. While my duties extend far beyond that of a "secretary" (what people typically see "administrative assistants" as) I encounter a new situation almost every day while working with students and their housing placements." (Housing Administrator; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied English Writing at University Of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Doing Others Jobs...
You would be surprised how often an administrative assistant has to pick up the slack of other departments." (Admin Assistant; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Biology at Clark Community College in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"The Prevalence Of Email...
I was surprised how much communication (and miscommunication) is done through email. People only call other people when they need something immediately." (Business Administrator; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"Assistant Has Power...
An executive assistant has a lot of power! You are the executive's right hand and his gate keeper. You know as much about the company as the executive and have as much respect as the executive. This position carries a lot of clout." (Executive Assistant; 2014)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, female
School: Studied General Business at University Of Mississippi in Mississippi; completed Bachelor degree in 1984

"An Administrative Assistant Is A Glorified Office Gopher...
I was surprised how little work there is in my field. Basically, what I do is do little tasks around my office that my boss is too lazy to do himself." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied English Literature at Alabama State University in Alabama; completed Bachelor degree in 1999

"Administrative Assistant Jobs Are Quite Boring And Not Challenging...
I found out that this profession isn't all that it's cracked up to be. People don't respect you and this job doesn't give you a sense of accomplishment." (Office Assistant; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Political Science at Western Iowa Tech in Iowa; completed Associate degree in 1988

"I Am Happy With How Enjoyable Working With Other People Is. L...
I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed by duties and have not become bored with any repetition. My job is always growing and challenging and I learn something new everyday. I enjoy and am surprised at how much I like helping other people." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 27 years of experience, currently based in Rhode Island, female
School: Studied Secretarial Sciences at Community College Of Rhode Island in Rhode Island; completed Associate degree in 1987

"Not Just A Secretary...
I am surprised at the stigma attached to being an "administrative assistant." Most people assume I am merely a secretary, but I actually contribute to real business projects, and this position is a stepping stone to more "prestigious" positions within a company" (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Business Administration at Bridgewater College in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Administrative Jobs Can Be Somewhat Boring...
Many people are surprised that their academic experiences and knowledge aren't as relevant to their career as they thought. Working as an office administrator has little in common with the skills you picked up while earning a humanities degree - instead of writing papers and learning new things you'll be answering phones and picking up your boss's dry cleaning. But there are still many opportunities to advance if you're ambitious. An administrative position teaches you a little bit about every aspect of running a business." (Office Admin; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied English at Northeastern University in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Organization Is Key...
What surprised me the most was how many balls you have to have in the air at all times, there is a lot to be said for being organized. My days are mostly predictable, however I always have to be ready to deal with unexpected issues, delays, and changes." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Psychology at Rhode Island College in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 2000

"College Not Always Needed...
I was surprised that my line of work you really don't need college. Mostly it is just a plus! I was also surprised to learn the true personalities of people." (Admin Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, female
School: Studied Administration at Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska; completed Associate degree in 2008

"All The Different Jobs Available...
I think people are surprised when they realize what all goes into being a Administrative Assistant. A Assistant is needed in so many businesses today, along with many non profit organizations too." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Business at Stratford Career Institute in Missouri; completed Certificate degree in 2010

"Research Is Key In The Job...
It was interesting to discover the amount of research that goes into putting different event together. Another interesting fact is how much networking with individuals works for you in the long run." (Admin Assistant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Business And Communication at Truman State University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Degrees Rack In The Dollars...
I am surprised at how much I get paid compared to the work I do. I worked part time at a minimum-wage job in the past, and did a lot more work for a lot less pay. It's crazy what a college degree can do for you." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Communications at University Of California, San Diego in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Random Skills...
I was most surprised at how much other skills are utilized like graphic work. Also, the amount that your boss expects you to know about his life is crazy." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Hawaii, female
School: Studied Business at University Of Phoenix in Arizona; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Finding A Job That Feels Like A Hobby...
I was surprised with how much I love this type of work. It doesn't feel like a job at all." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, female
School: Studied Secretarial at Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana; completed Associate degree in 1995

"Becoming A Professor Takes More Time And Effort Than I Thought...
I think it is really laborious to get to actually become a professor. Right now I am just at an entry level thing until I can actually get into a PhD program and then become a professor. I can't believe how this works." (Academic/Professor; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Virginia in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I Am Very Satisfied With The Direction My Career Path Has Taken...
I am very pleased with my line of work I am just surprised I finally got away from waitressing." (Entrepreneur; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Advanced Studies at OCHS in Virginia; completed Diploma degree in 2005

"Administrative Assistant Positions Are Not Easily Promoted...
I have been surprised how difficult it is to move up in a company. It seems once you are an administrative assistant, management doesn't see that as a stepping stone up the ladder." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

Career: 28 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Office Education at Brazosport College in Texas; completed Associate degree in 1977

"I was surprised that being something as simple as an Executive Assistant for a CFO not only requires a minimum of a college degree but also excellent computer and interpersonal skills." (Executive Assistant To CFO; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Finance / Economics at California State University, Northridge in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"I was surprised that my career required me to be personable and able to be up for anything that I was asked of. I learn new things everyday and take on tasks everyday to expand my knowledge." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Business Administration-Management at Peace College in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Managing Multiple Agendas...
I was surprised at the tolerance needed to perform in this career. You have to deal with so many people who have their own agendas and who are moody and you have to know how to manage people well." (Administrative; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied English at University Of Notre Dame in Indiana in 2010

"I was surprised with how much interaction I would have with students. I was surprised that it wasn't just a receptionist job and that it takes a lot of analysis and critical thinking." (Academic Records Assistant; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Music Business at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"I'm surprised that the job I do now is so repetitive & boring." (Sr. Executive Assistant; 2012)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Business at Endicott College in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Administrative Assistant: "The best part of my job is basically being my own boss in many ways - I'm given work to do and given space and freedom to get it done. I have a lot of responsibilities, but I don't have someone constantly looking over my shoulder to monitor my work. I have a wide variety of things to accomplish, so each day is different from the one before it. The worst part is knowing that I am not utilizing all of my talents in this position." (2011)

Admin Assistant: "I like to be given a problem or project that needs research and trouble shooting so that way I can learn while I am figuring out how to fix something. Being in a position to talk with people from different parts of the company is rewarding because then I can learn more about what they do and how they help the people we serve. Being helpful to other people when they need something makes me feel like I am contributing." (2011)

Executive Administrative Assistant: "Once people realize how much you actually do, you gain their respect and thanks. This is a double-edged sword as the more people realize what you can do, the more they ask of you. You have to be careful as people will take advantage. The CEO's admin started forwarding all the complaint calls she received to me. My last boss was the best. He said "Thank you" to me at least once daily (which is not usual) and he made sure that others didn't try to dump all their work on me." (2011)

Administrative Support Associate: "The worst part of my job is trying to communicate with the employees who work on night shift. It is very challenging to coordinate purcahsing and timesheets with them as well as any leave requests or doctor's notes/FMLA. The difference in schedules can be problematic with that. I prefer to not call employees when they are off work and vise versa. Getting necessary paperwork from our field operations staff can also be challenging. If they are in the field all day, it can be difficult to get the papers turned in and processed correctly." (2011)

Clerk Specialist III: "The best part of my career as a secretary is my shift hours. I work from 2:30pm-10:30pm. It's not as hectic as the day shift, and everyone is a lot more laid back. We always have work to complete, but a lot of it is done on our time, meaning when we get the time. The worst part is that there is little room for advancement. This is true with any government agency. Also, because the work consists mostly of repeat tasks, it can get a little boring. I like challenges, and unfortunately I do not feel challenged here." (2011)

Operations Coordinator: "The best part of the career is getting to see the impact I make. If payroll does not get done, it definitely has an impact on the employees, just like if permits are not obtained, work can not be done. I enjoy that the job I have really has an impact that I can see and can be measured. I don't think there are really any negative aspects to the job." (2011)

Secretary: "The job itself is not incredibly difficult, and it provides a great opportunity to learn more about how a doctor's office functions. It is a great experience, but not ideal for long term work. The career itself becomes rather tedious, and the amount of communication required isn't ideal for me. My biggest issue would have to be that filing the X-Rays and other paperwork can be surprisingly taxing physically, and I went into the career expecting a job that did not require physical effort." (2011)

Clerical Aide: "The best and worst parts of the job revolve around the weather. Recess can be very uncomfortable when temperatures are below 15 degrees. On the flip side, Fall and Spring are quite nice times to be outside. Another worst and best side to my job is seeing students interact during lunch and recess. It's great to see them making friends and having fun. Sometimes children have a rough time at recess because they are shy or not used to interacting in a free play situation. Other times children are not making good decisions about how they are treating their peers and that's a bad part." (2011)

Financial Aid Processor: "One of the best and worst features of my position is that I work in an office setting. This is great because I have limited interaction with the public and have a quiet space to complete my work. The downsides to working in an office setting are that there is a great deal of monotony, industrial lighting is depressing, and it contributes to a sedentary lifestyle. One of the truly great things about my position is that there is always room to learn more. In the time that I have been with my company, I have earned over 5 certifications and received several raises." (2011)

Tax Office Assistant: "The best parts of my career include the numerous opportunities to interact with and meet new people from all over the city. Most are very kind and easy to do business with. This, of course, lessens stress or difficulty of the job. The worst part of my career would have to be dealing with the few clients that seem impossible to satisfy. Sometimes I have to deal with a client who is angry and unreasonable. This of course makes me uncomfortable, but I learn to work through it and get over it." (2011)

Admin. Assistant: "The best part of my job is working with the children. I should have been a teacher but this is the next best thing. Maybe even better since I don't discipline them so they all like me. I used to consider myself their "second mom" but now I am their "second grandmom". You never know what they are going to say and I have some hilarious quotes to remember. The worst part of the job would be dealing with an unreasonable parent." (2011)

Administrative Assistant: "Best The owner of our company has the goal of providing the very best products and service at an affordable price. We do not use sub-standard materials. We sell a product that I can believe in. Worst The economy is making it very difficult for contractors to do business, and it is making the industry extremely competitive. Because of our refusal to use substandard materials, we are having difficulties with being undersold by our competitors-- even though we know that the roofs they are installing will not stand the test of time." (2011)

Marketing Administrative Assistant: "Best part of my position is that I am able to plan some very interesting events. These include things such as a seminar and tickets to a Bruins game or Red Sox box. We have hosted a golf tournament and a indoor racing event along with presentation of our company offerings. My position is part time and allows me the flexibility to work mother's hours, but still feel like I am contributing to the company as a whole." (2011)

Administrative Assistant: "The best part of my job is dealing with the faculty and staff and the students on a daily basis and being able to observe the students learning and having fun in a safe and nurturing environment. The worst part of the job is dealing with uncooperative parents who do not always understand that the rules apply to everyone including them and their children. I also do not like to see students being caught in the middle of problems between the adults responsible for their well being." (2011)

Secretary: "I like a challenge, therefore when something is given to me to do that is different, and out of the norm, I enjoy it much more. And of course it makes the day go by more quickly. I like writing/composing, but that doesn't seem to come my way too often, so when it does, I try to be as diligent as I can to do a good job. I tend to dislike the mundane aspects of the job, like answering the phone, especially when I'm in the middle of a task, and the phone interrupts me." (2011)

Real Estate Transaction Coordinator: "The best part of my career is the freedom of working with people to buy their dream homes. Additionally, I like the vast amount of flexibility in my job. I can work sometimes from my home and I have more freedom than I would in a standard 9-5 job. The negatives are that some people get very anxious and difficult when trying to buy or sell property. For most people it's one of the largest (financially) and most important transactions of their lives, so some people can become very difficult and needy." (2011)

Administrative Assistant To The Chair Of Performing Arts: "I find the most difficult part of my job to be working with people who are not prepared for whatever it is that they are supposed to be doing. A great deal of my job requires exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail, so I find it extremely difficult to work with others who are not organized or detail oriented. The best part of my job - without a doubt - is meeting the new students each year and working with the amazing faculty!" (2011)

Executive Assistant: "The best part of my job is the variety of work I do. No two days are ever the same. The company I work for has 35 employees, all in one building. It is a great group of people. The worst part of the job would be the hours. Although our doors are locked at 5:00 p.m. every night, there are many nights where I do not leave the building until 7:00 p.m. or later." (2011)

File Clerk: "Because I work for 5 different attorneys all in one office, sometimes the day can get a little hectic. They tend to rely on me to do simple tasks such as copying, faxing, getting the mail - things they could do themselves but instead pass on to me. Usually, these tasks are something which I do happily, but sometimes when all 5 of them want something done at once, it can be very stressful. I definitely have learned to multi-task better from this experience, however, and am a much more efficient person because of it." (2011)

Career Background

Administrative Assistant

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Getting Along With Employers...
If you want to be a successful administrative assistant it is important to learn to get along and compromise with other people. It can be rewarding to help others and use the job as a learning experience. I look at each task or duty as a way to learn something new everyday." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Believe In Yourself, And Put Yourself Out There...
Apply to as many places as possible, put your resume out there, you never know who will bite. Additionally, talk yourself up during your interview, you have to make them believe that you believe in yourself (which you should!)" (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Find Your Passion...
Make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure you know what you want to do because your mind will most likely change. Mine changed at least 2 times." (Admin Assistant; 2014)

"Time Management Is More Important...
I would suggest someone to work as freelancer in administration work, the task in freelancing are much more simpler." (Electric Engineering; 2014)

"There Is Value In Socialization And Organization Skills...
I would suggest learning organization and social skills thoroughly" (Self-Employed; 2014)

"Get Internships...
Get experience before you graduate college! Look for internship opportunities as closely related to your desired field as possible. Even if these internships are unpaid, this experience will be crucial to getting a job in your field immediately out of college." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Being GREAT As Opposed To Good...
If you want to be a GREAT administrative assistant then remember to be flexible! Your workload is going to change from day to day." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Administrative Assistant Positions Not Geared For Advancement...
It is a very good back-up role, but if you are seriously considering a career, I would advise you to get at least a Bachelor's Degree." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Be Patient...
You have to be really committed to doing this and you have to start early. You have to have a lot of patience." (Academic/Professor; 2014)

"Flexibility Is Important...
If you want to be a successful administrative assistant, it is important to be flexible. You need to make sure that you are ready to take on many roles throughout your day." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Anything Is Possible! Go For The Gold...
Shoot for the stars! Anything is possible!" (Entrepreneur; 2014)

"Be Flexible And Adventurous...
Be open to opportunities to do a variety of tasks in the secretarial field. You never know what task you have done that might prove useful in a future job." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Instead Of Being An Office Gopher Be Your Own Boss...
I would suggest starting your own business and hiring receptionists, or employees that actually have the important job of answering your clients' calls." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"Knowledge Of All Areas Of Business Is Key To Being Successful...
As an executive assistant, you touch all areas of the company, from financials to business forecasts to human resource issues. Gain as much knowledge and experience in all business areas." (Executive Assistant; 2014)

"Work Hard And Move Up...
Work at a company that has a good deal of upward mobility as doing administrative tasks is not very rewarding or thought provoking. You should pay attention to detail and be prepared to step up when asked so that you can get promoted out of purely administrative tasks." (Administrative Assistant; 2014)

"The Human Aspect...
Don't overlook people skills. However efficient and organized you are, some problems are just going to need you to approach someone and offer the best of bad options. Being able to empathize gives you credibility so that they are more likely to believe you really have done your best for them." (Office Manager; 2013)

"Start Networking Now And Reap Benefits Later...
I would place importance on networking, as I find that to be the key to moving up to different positions and roles within the office or department. I would suggest talking with professors, TAs, internship coordinators, etc. to expand your network pool in case they can help you in the future. The more people with a positive impression with you, the better." (Housing Administrator; 2013)

You should always smile, be agreeable and do whatever job is in front of you without complaint. Being an admin assistant requires a lot of not fun work, but having a positive outlook will make you look better to superiors." (Admin Assistant; 2013)

"Choosing The Job That's Right For You...
If you want to become a successful Administrative Assistant, you just have to know how to work in a fast paced environment doing a lot of different things. There are so many options out there when choosing a job, so choose one that is right for you." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

"For Future Success, Volunteer For Additional Work Responsibilities...
A good admin "wears many hats" and picks up skills whenever possible. Volunteer for additional tasks and your supervisor will see you as someone who wants to learn, and who has a future doing bigger and better things for the company." (Office Admin; 2013)

"Wide Range Of Skills Important...
If you want to be an administrative assistant show potential employers that you are versatile. They will be more impressed with a wide range of skills." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

"Learn To Write Well...
Learn how to write well. This is a skill a lot of people don't have and will make you stand out." (Business Administrator; 2013)

"Career Advice...
Being proactive is this best way to go further within your career. Learn from each mistake and learn how to fix any situation that you are in." (Admin Assistant; 2013)

Find something that you have interest in and pursue something in that area." (Office Assistant; 2013)

"Use This For Success...
To be successful in this line of work it is necessary to be firm and hard working." (Business Administrator; 2013)

"A Few Pointers For Administrative Assistants...
It would be a good idea to become as familiar as possible with Microsoft computer programs. Additionally, knowledge of, or even a degree in, technical writing would be very helpful. I would also take courses in effective time management techniques, business management, and typing. Pay close attention to details, learn organizational skills, learn basic office etiquette, and become familiar with travel rules and regulations and the ins and outs of booking travel arrangements." (Administrative Assistant; 2011)

"Ask Questions...
Written and verbal communication skills and the ability to truly hear what people are saying is incredibly important. Never be afraid to ask questions but also try to resolve things on your own at first. When you are at entry level position try to learn about more than just what is asked from you - at times you should question (in a positive way) why things need to be done so that you can understand how and why the company and the people there do the things they do. Technical computing skills are important of course, but curiosity, open mindedness, thinking ahead, attention to detail and the ability to understand how separate components and actions affect one another are equally so." (Admin Assistant; 2011)

"Advice For Admins In High Stress Environments...
Learn patience. This is a high stress position working for a highly stressed individual. The more organized you are the easier your job will be. Find something that works for and as much as possible adapt the current system to it. Keep your cool. The best way to deal with people is to be extremely nice to them even if they are angry to begin with. Once they realize how nice you're being they tend to calm down and actually apologize for the way they treated you at first." (Executive Administrative Assistant; 2011)

"Be Organized...
It is very helpful going into a career such as admin support to be an organzied and detail oriented person. When dealing with large quantities of employees and trying to keep up with scheduled, timesheets, medical documentation, workers comp, as well as financial responsibilities, organization is key. Take notes often (which goes along with being organzied). It is very important to have a paper trail and be able to keep up with who said what in regards to tasks at hand." (Administrative Support Associate; 2011)

"Conquer Office Software...
You have to be proficient in Office software, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Each office you work at has their own database system, so getting accustomed to working with different databases helps. You should take a typing course, which is offered in high school and college. Take courses on office and phone etiquette and working with office equipment. Work on organizational skills. Once you have these down, everything else is fairly easy. A CPR course is also a good thing to complete." (Clerk Specialist III; 2011)

"Customer Service Skills Helpful...
It is important to be able to multi-task as well as prioritize. It is also important to have a full understanding of how payroll works and have good math skills so that you will be able to process the requests correctly. Customer service skills are also important because even though you don't deal with a lot of external customers, you do have to deal with internal ones." (Operations Coordinator; 2011)

"Doesn't Pay Well But A Good Stepping Stone...
I would not pursue a secretary job as a final career, but it is a good job to pursue in a course of learning. The job itself does not pay enough to be a sole source of income, but is a decent and relatively low stress job to take if other actions (in my own case, college) are being taken in your spare time. More valuable than the money or the career itself is the knowledge that, if you focus on that part, can be gained about different careers." (Secretary; 2011)

"Don't Judge The Kids Or Families...
1. Make sure you enjoy spending time with children. 2. My job is kind of a customer service type of role. Patience and understanding will go along way. 3. Try not to judge students and families. Everyone has their own situations to deal with whether you are aware of them or not. 4. Even though the students are of school age elementary school students are still little kids. 5. Treat your students as you would want your own children treated. 6. Be consistent with discipline. 7. Praise goes a long way." (Clerical Aide; 2011)

"Job Environments Vary Greatly...
If you're interested in entering the financial aid field, it is important to be familiar with computer systems. A potential employee will also need to be willing to undergo job-specific training. This training will be ongoing as operating procedures in this field are tied to changing federal regulations. Entrants into this field will need to know that job environments vary widely. Financial aid positions can be located within small universities and consist of ten or fewer individuals, while large universities will employ one hundred or more." (Financial Aid Processor; 2011)

"Keep Smiling...
I would suggest taking courses that include administrative training, a general idea of tax laws, and business. Learning these subjects would definitely help the worker excel in this field. Another helpful tip is to be more than nice to people. Don't worry about smiling, even when others don't want to smile. The fact that you present yourself in a pleasant way, will leave a lasting impression that will bring them back to your business in the future." (Tax Office Assistant; 2011)

"Keep Your Cool...
Try to have a cheerful, welcoming attitude at all times - not always easy when you have personal problems. But parents/staff and students appreciate a happy face when they have a problem or concern. Try to "keep your cool" when everyone wants everything - NOW! Write it down - it's easy to forget a message when things are happening at lightning speed! Parents call to change dismissal plans, send kids to the daycare program, put them on the bus instead of daycare, etc." (Admin. Assistant; 2011)

"Know And Leverage Office Software...
Thoroughly learn all of the standard business software - Microsoft Office Professional, Quickbooks, Photoshop, etc. Learn how to make your software assist you in making your life easier. For example, MS-Word and Excel can be programmed to do macros-- saving you a lot of time in repetitive tasks. Use these features! Listen to your supervisor/boss/business owner. Understand their goals and work toward them. If you cannot support their goals, go elsewhere. If you are going to work hard for someone, make sure you go home at night and feel good about what you did all day long." (Administrative Assistant; 2011)

"Need To Be Detail Oriented...
Administration is definitely a behind the scene job. If you do everything right and are organized then your event will go off without a hitch. If you are not detail oriented and don't ask a lot of question you will be scrambling on the day of your event. Finding a boss (an a personality) that you can work with is key. The more you can do for them the more they will rely on you - and the more interesting your job will become." (Marketing Administrative Assistant; 2011)

"School Admins Must Like Kids...
1. When working in a school, the obvious requirement is that you like children. You need to be friendly and approachable. 2. Being an administrative assistant in a school requires organization skills, the ability to multi-task and the ability to work with a diverse population." (Administrative Assistant; 2011)

"Skills That Come In Handy...
I would advise anyone to take as many computer classes as possible, specifically in word processing. Good grammar skills are important as well. And take classes on customer service as well. Organization skills are paramount, too--it makes a big difference when you or your boss is looking for something if you know just where it is. The less headaches, the better !" (Secretary; 2011)

"Some Course Suggestions...
There are many courses that one can take that will assist you in obtaining a job as a transaction coordinator. Firstly, obtain your real estate license. Secondly, there are several courses and seminars (which vary by state) that can help a person learn important skills, such as 'Short Sale Seminars' and 'REO Seminars.' Take as many of these as possible. Hire on as a real estate agent with a large brokerage. You are paid on commission, so you may not make much money at first, but you will meet a lot of agents, who will then possibly help show you the ropes. Once you learn the ropes, you have a network of agents that you could hire on as a transaction coordinator with." (Real Estate Transaction Coordinator; 2011)

"Stay Organized...
Learning time management and organizational skills are essential for any administrative job, and the nice thing is that those skills are applicable to any job and any aspect of your life. Having an awareness of who you are and how you work is also an advantage. When you work in an administrative position you will be working with a variety of people. Those people have a variety of personalities and work habits that you will need to work with. Knowing how you work best goes a long way to learning how to work with others." (Administrative Assistant To The Chair Of Performing Arts; 2011)

"Take Advantage Of Inexpensive Training...
Education is so important. If at all possible, continue your post high school education. Community colleges offer many great programs and tuition costs are much more affordable than private institutions. Take advantage of online training or training offered through the Department of Education and Training. Communication skills are so important. You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she speaks and/or writes. Go to work with a smile on your face. Leave your personal problems at home." (Executive Assistant; 2011)

"Work In A Law Office First...
Definitely intern or work in an entry level position in a law firm so you really understand what you are getting into. Being a lawyer is a LOT harder than most people think! Network, network, network. If everyone in your field knows each other and you don't, you will be missing out on great career opportunities. When in doubt, ASK! Your boss would much rather be slightly annoyed from you asking him to clarify than be very angry later when you have start a project over from scratch." (File Clerk; 2011)