Skill Level Intermediate
- Will you be able to operate in excellence when called upon to take on higher-level roles? Do you have the necessary aptitude to compete with others? Administrative professionals today are required to serve multiple roles that demand a greater level of skill than traditional clerical tasks. We are often asked to be a project manager, chief of staff, budgeter, and possess high degrees of people skills in order to be successful.
These expectations make the pursuit of a higher level of education justified and in some cases necessary. When I began as a administrative support professional 30 years ago, I started working for a Fortune 500 company with my associate's degree in office management. This served me well for many years as it provided all of the necessary skills I needed for entry and mid-level secretarial positions. However, as I began to seek out higher-level positions, and advanced degree such as a bachelor's degree in business was preferred in job postings, and I knew it would give me a competitive edge over other candidates.
I pursued my bachelor's degree in management to position myself for leadership roles. It also assured executives that I had the necessary skills to be more of a right hand assistant to them. Management skills are helpful for delegating work, understanding financial information, organizing and planning, communication, interpersonal and relationship skills, and problem-solving. These are many of the skills that are covered when obtaining a bachelor's degree, and these are also the types of skills higher-level executives are looking to their support staff to be versed in.
Many employers will offer a tuition reimbursement to their employees in pursuit of higher education. Personally, a large portion of my bachelor's degree was paid for through the tuition assistance of one of the companies I worked for. It was a tremendous benefit that not many people in the company took advantage of. Even if you don't want to necessarily pursue a degree or don't know what direction you would like to go into, it still makes sense to take college classes that can be helpful in your current job or one that you would like to do in the future.
There are also a number of certificates that can be extremely helpful to administrative support professionals. These include project management certification, event planner certification, certified administrative professional certification, Microsoft Office certification, and several others. These designations can be extremely helpful for an administrative support professional in performing their daily work tasks. They will also be instrumental on your resume when you are looking to advance your career through promotion and greater leadership responsibility.
It's never too late to go back to school and pursue further education, certifications, licenses, and designations. And it's extremely important for administrative support professionals to stay prepared for changing executive expectations and to stay in step with ever-changing technological advances.