There were just under four million jobs for administrative assistants in the United States in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While this may sound like a lot, it's important to consider another equally important factor: the many people seeking out these sought after positions. What can you do to gain the inside edge on the competition? Let's take a closer look at five ways to land the administrative assistant job of your dreams.
1. Study Up
While some employers require no further education than a high school degree, most prefer additional education and/or certifications that indicate additional motivation and competency. Check into coursework in basic office, computer, and grammar skills at your local community college or technical school.
If you aspire toward an administrative assistant job in an industry-specific field, such as law or medicine, specialized coursework in this area may be required.
2. Intern or Volunteer
Many key administrative assistant skills are learned during on-the-job training. By gaining these skills during an internship or as a volunteer, you offer employers a fast-track to productivity. You will still require some office-specific training, but more general work -- such as computer programs and preparing office documents -- will be covered.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to finding an internship or volunteer opportunity? Check in with your school's career center.
3. Refine Your Resume
The best resumes are targeted to specific jobs. If you are applying for an administrative assistant position, be sure your resume covers all of the skills required to do the job. These include everything from technical skills to "soft" skills, such as the ability to interact well with others, organization, and integrity.
4. Work Your Connections
Administrative assistants are at work in nearly every single industry. In short, where there's an office, there's an administrative assistant.
One of the best ways to find vacancies -- and gain a jump on the competition -- is by leveraging pre-existing relationships. Let friends, family members, and other people in your network -- both online and in person -- know that you're looking for an administrative assistant job. This way if they hear of a new opening, they can pass the information along to you. Your connections are also valuable referrals and references.
5. Present Professionally
As an administrative assistant, you will be a representative of your company, so a neat, polished appearance is essential. And don't forget about the importance of eye contact when meeting with hiring managers. The more competent and personable impression you make, the more likely you are to land the job.
While the competition for administrative jobs is steep, it's far from insurmountable. These five tips can position you for success in your search for a fulfilling career as an administrative assistant.
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