By Stephanie Naznitsky, Executive Director, Robert Half

In my many years leading recruitment in the world of administrative services, I’ve never seen a moment as full of opportunity for these professions as now. Emerging technology, evolving digital platforms and the proliferation of support roles convince me there’s never been a better time for administrative professionals to spread their wings.
Indeed, you may already have found yourself acquiring new skills and responsibilities over the last couple of years as technology has evolved. And because many routine tasks are now automated, you have time to take on more strategic tasks.

That said, career advancement isn’t something that happens to you — it’s something you make happen. Follow these five tips to stay competitive in an evolving profession.

1. Upskill and reskill for the modern working environment

Social, mobile, analytics and cloud — often shortened to SMAC — are key areas where administrative workers can add new technical skills and stand out from the crowd. Look for upskilling opportunities in areas like search engine optimization (SEO), social media best practices and cloud-based collaboration tools.

Ask your employer about in-house training opportunities. If none are available, inquire about tuition reimbursement for an external course, conference or seminar. You may feel nervous about making such a request, but chances are your manager will applaud your initiative and look for ways to support you.

2. Volunteer for new challenges

Nearly 4 in 10 workers in a Robert Half survey said their careers stalled during the pandemic. If that sounds like you, brainstorm with your manager about the potential for more challenging assignments. You can also offer help when colleagues need assistance with special initiatives or seem overloaded with projects. Professionals who are team players add value to the organization and stand out as promotion candidates.

3. Join industry associations

Nurture your professional development by becoming active in organizations like Office Dynamics and Executive Support, attending educational events, earning industry-recognized certifications and networking with fellow administrative professionals at conferences.

4. Find a mentor

Check to see if your company has a formal mentoring program. If not, industry associations are good places to find a mentor, even if it’s only on an informal basis. Look for more tenured administrative professionals with strengths in areas where you’d like to advance and ask them for advice and introductions to helpful people in their circle.

5. Pay it forward

If you can’t find the professional growth vehicles you want within your company, consider possibilities outside the office, such as charitable or nonprofit organizations. These groups may be receptive to your interest in supporting them, and you might find mentors who can help you expand your abilities and knowledge. By volunteering on committees or for leadership roles, you can develop administrative skills that not only benefit the organization but are also applicable to your job.

These are exciting times for administrative professionals with a flexible mindset and a willingness to expand their skills. You can keep abreast of trends in your field by checking out the Administrative and Customer Support section of the latest Robert Half Salary Guide.

Finally, if your current role isn't offering you enough opportunities to grow, let us help you find you a new one!

Follow Stephanie Naznitsky on LinkedIn.