With salaries rising for administrative assistant jobs, it's a great time to be an administrative professional.
According to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide, administrative hiring in the U.S. continues to move in a positive direction as companies fill vacancies and add new positions to keep up with rising workloads.
And the future is looking bright in terms of salaries, too. On average, a senior administrative assistant in the U.S. can expect to earn between $41,250 and $53,000 per year — a 3.9 percent increase over 2016 — whereas an administrative assistant can expect to pull in between $33,250 and $45,250.
So what does it take to move into a senior administrative assistant role? While senior administrative assistants are required to handle much of the same workload as administrative assistants, they must master those tasks before they can take on more advanced duties. In addition, demonstrating an aptitude in three other key areas can help you climb to the next rung on the administrative assistant jobs ladder:
1. Show your support
Senior administrative assistants typically support senior-level managers and may supervise other support staff. If you're angling to move into a senior administrative assistant position, be sure to highlight any management experience you've gleaned during your career. Even if you've never supervised a direct report, you've probably served in a leadership role for a special project. Be sure to bring that experience to light — or offer to take on such a project if you still need to develop your management skills.
While you may not officially support senior-level managers, chances are you work with them in some capacity, perhaps even filling in when your supervisor is out of the office. If not, offer to pitch in the next time a senior administrative assistant needs help. Not only will you gain valuable experience, but you'll also show initiative and have a chance to shine in front of the executive team.
2. Play up your specialty
Senior administrative assistants with specific industry experience are in demand. In fact, many companies pay a premium for an administrative professional with knowledge and experience in their business sector. If you fit this bill, consider leveraging it when applying for a more senior position within your own company. It might give you an edge, even if you're competing with candidates who have more technical, but general, experience.
3. Emphasize your skills
Advanced technical skills are critical for senior administrative assistants. Word processing skills are a must, while familiarity with Excel, desktop publishing, website administration and social media are highly desired. It's also important to know your company's proprietary systems or industry-specific software inside and out — and be able to train others to use them. If you need additional technical training, ask your supervisor if you can enroll in an online course. Even if you have to pay for it yourself, it can be a solid investment in your long-term career plan.
In addition, senior administrative assistants must exhibit top-notch soft skills, including excellent verbal and written communication skills, resiliency in the face of difficulties, initiative, a professional demeanor and leadership abilities. Being organized and managing multiple priorities efficiently is especially critical if you support multiple supervisors, as senior administrative assistants often do.
While it can be tricky to prove that you can do a job well if you've never had the chance to play the part, you can find opportunities to demonstrate the skills needed to advance to the next level within your current position. Then, when the time is right, you'll be ready to make your move.