By Jordan Quigley, North American Vice President, Robert Half
First, let me congratulate this year’s college graduates!
This is a great time to start your career and put your shiny new degree to work. Why? Today’s historically low unemployment rates — and consequent tight hiring market — are driving employers to hire more new graduates, aiming to develop them into high-performing employees.
But what if you aren’t sure about your career direction? Some estimates suggest up to 30% of college graduates may not have a specific career path in mind by the time they collect their degree. That’s OK.
If you’re looking for a place to start exploring your skills, talents and interests, consider starting your career as an administrative professional.
The duties of administrative and executive assistants have evolved significantly in recent years, and these professionals are now playing a pivotal role within companies.
Today’s administrative support positions are dynamic, diverse and rich with opportunity. They’re also in especially high demand.
Industries with the Most Entry-Level Jobs
Healthcare and social assistance
Source: Robert Half analysis of nearly 2 million entry-level positions posted on more than 1,000 independent job boards and company websites in the U.S.
© 2023 Robert Half. An Equal Opportunity Employer. M/F/Disability/Veterans.
Administrative support professionals are uniquely positioned to learn and practice key organizational and leadership skills that ultimately can be leveraged into high-level or managerial positions
Here are just a few reasons to consider starting an administrative career as a new college graduate.
Highly transferable skills
Administrative professionals master a wide range of skills on the job — especially highly valued soft skills like communication, organization, punctuality and attention to detail. You’ll also pick up important abilities like project planning, technology proficiencies and analytical thinking.
These skills are transferable to many other roles and to almost any industry, so an administrative job could provide an entry point into whatever type of business interests you — from healthcare to hospitality, government to energy, retail to real estate, and more.
As the “backbone” of any organization, administrative professionals have the advantage of being exposed to multiple operations within an organization. Interacting with different departments and individuals affords rare insights into the organization’s inner workings, and support staff can gain a broad understanding of business functions and interdepartmental collaborations.
This unique perspective may put you in the position to contribute to strategic decision-making and problem-solving. And working closely with leaders and executives brings mentorship, learning and networking opportunities, leading to potential roles with more management responsibilities.
To give themselves an edge, many administrative professionals are earning certifications appropriate to their role.
One of the great things about administrative jobs is that typically, no two days are the same. New challenges and opportunities come up regularly, requiring adaptability and problem-solving skills — whether assisting with events, researching and analyzing data, or supporting decision-making processes.
You’ll probably interact regularly with different departments, teams and individuals, with chances to collaborate and build relationships across the organization. This constant exposure to various operations keeps the job fresh and stimulating.
Depending on the company and the responsibilities of the position, administrative support roles can adapt to hybrid work and flexible schedules, which can be particularly appealing for graduates who want to have more control over their work-life balance.
But don’t overlook the value of working onsite; being in the physical office space will maximize learning and networking opportunities that are so critical to developing an administrative role into a career opportunity with more scope and responsibility.
Every organization needs administrative professionals to keep things running smoothly. Even during times of economic uncertainty, the need for administrative support tends to remain constant in most (but not all) industries. During such periods, organizations often prioritize efficiency and cost-effectiveness, recognizing the value of skilled administrative professionals in streamlining processes and optimizing resources.
Opportunity to make a difference
Administrative professionals have the clout to create positive change in the lives of their colleagues. You get to shape a workplace environment where people collaborate, communicate and contribute, creating a space for teamwork, efficiency and employee well-being.
Finally, take a partner along on your career exploration. A talent solutions firm like Robert Half can help you narrow your search and introduce you to a compatible hiring company. Plus, our complimentary resources, like the Robert Half Salary Guide, offer insights on salaries and hiring trends for administrative professionals and other careers.
Whether you’re seeking a permanent, contract/temporary or contract-to-permanent role, and whether you prefer it to be remote or onsite, working with a specialized talent solutions firm can open doors and boost your search.