How to Become an Administrative Assistant

In almost every business, in every niche you can think of, you will find administrative assistants on the front lines. Without administrators, businesses would quickly grind to a halt. To succeed in the field you will need a calm, can-do attitude, a knack for organisation, and a sociable streak. You will be responsible for a huge variety of tasks which will vary from office to office and between industries. To get an idea of what you would do every day think of the most practical tasks which keep a business ticking over. For example, you might find yourself taking phone calls, making appointments, sorting the post, writing, and sending out business communication.

Administration is essentially a practical role. However, there is a lot of room for individual taste because you can find a need for administrators across every industry. Qualifications are not essential for you to land a job, but they are a good way to convince a potential boss of your skills and get your foot in the door.

If you can see yourself as an island of cool in a whirlwind of activity check out the steps you will need to take to become an administrative assistant in Australia.

Step one: Get a head start with training or a vocational course

Formal qualifications are not necessary to get started in administration. However, if you would like to hit the ground running, doing some training or a vocational course will help. Putting some time towards studying is a great way to hone your existing skills, develop new skills, and to prepare yourself for career progression. Administration can be a sweet springboard into more exciting roles. Investing in training will help to broaden your skill set. Begin with training or a vocational course to give yourself a good foundation of knowledge.

Step two: Find a job as an administrative assistant

Once you have completed your course you can begin to look for work as an administrator. On the job market, you will find a huge range of opportunities, across all industries. Take some time to consider your personality, taste and apply for jobs which fit your areas of interest. Working as an administrative assistant can be an excellent way to get your foot on the career ladder. Administrators will often progress their career and develop within their company. Therefore, it makes sense to apply for jobs in the industry which excites you.

Step three: Gain experience in your field

Once you have found a job you enjoy. The kind of job which propels you out of bed in the morning. You can get stuck into the day to day tasks of your employers business. Learn as much as you can. Everything you do is important to the smooth running of all businesses. As you gain experience and knowledge you can use this to your advantage as you move forward and advance your career.

Step four: Select a specialised role

Now, consider aiming your sights to progress into a specialised role. As you gain experience you can take on greater responsibilities and increase your salary.

Office Administrator: Step up to take responsibility for the overall running of the administration office. You would be in charge of hiring new administrative assistants, and their training. Taking a helicopter view of the daily office processes and systems you ensure everything runs smoothly. Ironing out any problems you come across along the way. Office administrators may take charge of budgets, accommodation, facilities, HR, and records.

Record Keeper: A role for tough cookies record keepers have a keen eye for detail and use persistence on a daily basis. You take responsibility for issuing invoices, processing transactions and issuing staff salaries. Chasing up unpaid invoices, or spotting inconsistencies in the business finances. As a record keeper, you will be essential to the health of any business.

Front-line Administrator: Joining the management team you need to demonstrate very good people skills. You will also need good technical knowledge about how the business you work for operates. You allocate tasks to other administrators and keep an eye on the daily operations of the business. This makes being a front-line administrator a good role to eye up for career progression.

Step five: Apply for Jobs in your chosen specialisation

You may find the best way to progress is within the company you already work for. You might want to do some specific part-time vocational training to boost your chances of promotion. Keep an eye on vacancies which open in your company and let your supervisors know you are ready to take on more responsibility. If doors aren’t opening where you work already then don’t hesitate to look for a new role elsewhere. Apply for jobs ensuring you tailor your resume to target the role you have set your heart on.

Administrative Assistant Duties

The role of an administrative assistant is to carry out the daily tasks involved in running a business. You will usually greet clients arriving at the office, as well as answering incoming calls. A number of writing assignments with varying levels of responsibility will be yours. Administrative assistants usually collect and distribute other staff member’s correspondence as well as having correspondence to write yourself. You may be responsible for writing and distributing office memos. Or you may find yourself taking minutes at meetings. As an administrative assistant, you can look forward to fast paced days, with a wide variety of tasks to do. Developing effective methods for organising yourself is important, as well as being able to stay positive and focused under pressure.


  • Composing business letters, reports, and office memos
  • Archiving important documents for the business
  • Receiving and sorting incoming mail
  • Welcoming clients to the office
  • Assisting other staff members with administration tasks
  • Performing payroll and other banking tasks

Skills for Success

Administrative assistants are not a one-man band singing to their own tune, they must be team players. Positioned on the front line of the business you may come across difficult people which you will need to learn to handle appropriately. You will rely on your excellent organisation skills to manage your daily tasks and to keep everything running smoothly. Paying attention to detail is very important because small errors can have very unfortunate consequences. For example, if you are managing the business diary, a mistake with a meeting time can be very inconvenient for all involved. Being able to focus is very important and it is important to establish systems which help you to work efficiently.

Skills and Attributes

  • Team player
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  • Smart attire
  • Able to focus and work methodically
  • Pay attention to details
  • Uber-organised
  • Remain cool under-pressure

What do Administrative Assistants earn in Australia?

In Australia, administrative assistants earn a median wage of $45,049 per year. This varies according to a number of factors, such as location, and is intended as a reference only from Payscale 05/’18

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