Despite the misconception of an office assistant's job being elementary, office assistant perform a variety of work that keeps an office running. Office assistants position have a bad rap of being easy, requiring no education, paying poorly
and no real responsibility. That's simply inaccurate. Office Assistants have various responsibilities at different places of employment and to generalize them all under one umbrella is understating the importance of the office assistant role.
Office assistant positions often require a high school diploma while others may require an associate's degree in some form of business. It depends significantly on the place of employment and how much the business values the office assistant role. The level of education varies by whom the person is going to be office assistant. If the person the executive assistant to the CEO of the company, his or her role with be greater and a bachelors may even be required by the company.
The duties of an office assistant vary by company. The main role of an office assistant is to be the gatekeeper to the person in the position, to which they are assistant. Individuals in this position handle all incoming calls, emails, mail, faxes and other communication methods. They will sort through correspondence to determine the importance of it. The most important messages would be passed on immediately while others would wait until later. Office professionals are also in charge of the office equipment. He or she will maintain the equipment to the best of their ability. Person employed in this position will also be responsible for contacting the right person to complete maintenance and fix the technology as needed. They also keep the office fully stocked by ordering supplies and taking inventory of existing supplies. This may be similarly sending in a purchase order or physically ordering the supplies. The size of the business will dictate the office procedures. Depending on the place of employment, an office assistant could also have secretarial duties in addition to others. In positions with close access to the receptionist, they are often the receptionists back up and may also fill in for the receptionist as needed.
Education isn't the only qualification a potential office assistant needs to get the job. Office professionals must demonstrate prior office experience and knowledge of general office procedures. This includes scheduling, telephone skills, typing, documentation skills, verbal communication skills, written communication skills, dependability, attention to detail, and administrative writing skill. Executive assistants and those in similar office professional positions should also have experience in meeting planning.
Because office professional positions range from office clerk to executive assistant to specialized assistants, like legal secretaries, the pay range for this position is all over the pay scale. It also depends heavily on the experience of the individual and the length of time a person has been employed by the company. Generally, office clerks and similar office professionals earn between $9 to $25 dollar an hour. An office clerk usually gets paid an average of $13 dollars an hour, but may earn as little as $8.53 an hour. Executive assistants average $23 dollars an hour nationally. The pay per hour varies by the required skill level as well as an individual's experience.
Office assistants are the foundation of an office's ability to meet the needs of the company and their customers or clients. They perform organizational tasks that make the whole office, department, Executive and the company run smoother. While nearly anyone can be an office assistant it takes a person with exceptional abilities in organiziation, communication and interpersonal skills to be a great one.