What Does an Office Assistant Do?

Julie Shenkman
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Every industry has office assistants. The type of work these assistants perform can vary, but there are certain skills, traits and requirements that all office assistants are required to have to be successful in their job search.

Office assistants are the front line for a business. When people visit a business or call an establishment, they most likely encounter an office assistant before a manager or owner, and that person can sometimes determine whether the caller sees the right person.

One of the most important skills any office assistant needs to possess is an eye for detail. Office assistants are often required to proofread documents, type letters and create various types of correspondence. An attention to detail also helps when keeping the boss happy. In some offices, assistants also work as personal shoppers for their employers; knowing their likes and dislikes can make this task easier to accomplish.

General office skills are also needed for those job seekers who are considering becoming assistants. The type of office skills can vary depending on the industry and the need of the office. For example, an assistant in a graphic design office might need experience working with design software as well as other computer programs. An assistant at an accounting firm with at least a bookkeeping background would be a valuable asset. Matching well-honed skills with the needs of an office can help a person be successful in a job search.

The importance of how an office assistant attained skills can vary from one office to another. Some industries prefer that assistants have an education in the industry. Marketing office assistants are often required to have a marketing education such as a marketing degree or several marketing classes under their belts. A more general assistant might simply need to prove the ability to type, file, use a computer and send emails. The ability to speak politely and professionally over the phone is typically another requirement.

The personal appearance of an office assistant is also important. Assistants in a corporate setting are required to dress professionally, often in suits or other business attire. Smaller firms or more creative industries might have a more relaxed dress code, but no matter the allowable wardrobe, the assistant should have a clean and neat appearance.

Becoming an office assistant can be the beginning of a new career. Assistants are often considered first when upper level positions become available. Anyone who is considering becoming an assistant should match interests with an industry and use this as a guideline for locating the ideal job. If a person discovers there are skill gaps, attaining those skills can help a person land the job that could start a new and exciting career path.



Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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