Behind every well-run and organized office is an administrative assistant who performs a multitude of tasks and acts as a hub of information — whether it’s from a remote location or shared office space. Routines and processes of the past have given way to evolving, multidisciplinary competencies that define the role today.

One day an administrative assistant may help set up health and safety protocols and the next day troubleshoot IT issues, field calls and organize meetings.

If you’re interested in being hired for this role, you not only need strong core skills, but you should also have a positive, can-do attitude and excellent interpersonal skills to communicate with a variety of people, from customers and colleagues to vendors and top executives.

The Salary Guide From Robert Half lists the administrative assistant job as one of the hottest in the administrative and customer support sector. It also shows there’s room to grow and increase your pay.

Starting salaries vary widely from city to city, and the Salary Guide can drill down to show administrative assistant salaries offered in your location.

What does an administrative assistant do?

You name it. Administrative assistants with good business sense and initiative could find themselves involved in project management, purchasing decisions and new employee orientation.

It really depends on the company, but an administrative assistant's job description typically includes:

  • Administrative and office support for multiple supervisors/employees, including the creation of documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Office system administration, including data entry, records maintenance and look-up, and report development and retrieval
  • Technology training
  • Event planning
  • Fielding and screening telephone calls and emails
  • Data research

Must-have administrative skills

Some essential qualifications that organizations look for in an administrative assistant are:

  • Excellent verbal and written communications, listening and customer service skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Multitasking skills and the ability to be flexible when priorities shift
  • Extensive computer and software skills

Read 6 Reasons to Start Your Career as an Administrative Assistant.