5 Tips to Overcome Obstacles in Updating Your Admin Job Description

Trying to update your job description, but your manager, executive or HR department isn’t cooperating? Don’t give up! There are ways to get around the red tape and get a job description that reflects what you do!

An accurate and up-to-date job description is essential to an administrative professional’s success. It defines your role and responsibilities at your company. It demonstrates the value you bring to your executive, team and organization. It’s a means for measuring your job performance and promoting equitable pay. And it provides context for training and professional development requests.

But what if someone -- whether it’s your manager, executive or HR department -- won’t get on board with you creating or updating your job description? This is an unfortunate but common occurrence in many offices. And there’s a good possibility that it will happen if you decide to be proactive about your job description. Yet, a lack of support shouldn’t discourage you from moving forward and creating a job description that reflects your responsibilities and contributions.

If you’re getting a lot of friction when it comes to your job description, it’s time to think outside the box. Here are five effective ways to approach your job description discussion: 

1. Ask. It’s a powerful three-letter word. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. If your HR department or manager is hesitant about your job description, initiate a conversation to discuss it. Make sure you prepare for the meeting by documenting what your current responsibilities are, what your existing job description includes, and what you recommend for a new and improved version.

2. Use the International Year of the Secretary and Admin Assistant (IYOTSA 2014) as an opportunity to open the door with your HR department or management. Share the charter. Then, explain the importance of a current job description for administrative professionals.  

3. If you’re hitting roadblocks with HR, have a separate conversation with your executive or manager. Discuss what can be done to make sure you’re being evaluated against something that is more accurate than just the job description. Also, talk about whether your job description can be something informally implemented just by the two of you. 

4. If you have an office procedures binder – or decide it’s a good time to create one – make sure your executive looks at it each year prior to your annual review. This will keep him or her up to speed on your responsibilities and how they change and evolve. This is one way to positively impact your review outcomes, even if you can’t get the official description changed.

5. Finally, understand that your personal value and worth is far greater than the words in a job description. It’s just one part of your larger career toolkit. If it’s one tool that you are not allowed to improve, then do what you can to make progress the other areas. Invest in your own professional development and make sure your resume, professional portfolio, social media profiles, etc. are up to date and positively reflect who you are. That way when opportunity knocks, you can answer.

Don’t let obstacles keep you from taking the initiative and creating your new and improved job description. After all, it’s your job and professional success that’s on the line, not anyone else’s.

Need some help and inspiration to get going on your job description? Read my five simple steps to developing a new and improved job description.

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