How Administrative Jobs Are a Career Stepping Stone

When I made my entrance into the working world, I had pretty big dreams and grand visions for myself. I had studied Communication and Journalism in school, and needless to say, I thought that meant I’d immediately land a job with a glitzy magazine or high-profile book publisher.

So, imagine my surprise when the first gig I managed to score out of college was as a receptionist. No, it wasn’t exactly the first step I thought I’d take. And, I’ll be the first to admit that I complained about it royally from time to time.

But, when I managed to shut up for long enough to actually analyze my situation, I realized something important: That job was a pretty great stepping stone in my career—I learned way more than I ever thought I would.

Yes, an administrative job can be frustrating—particularly if it’s not the glorious career grand entrance you imagined for yourself. But, as discouraged as you might feel, this job can actually be a great thing for you. Here’s why.

1. You Connect With Absolutely Everybody

Here’s the thing about being in an administrative role: You wear a lot of hats. You become the support person for numerous different people in your office. And, while that can undoubtedly lead to some stressful days, it also means that you’re building relationships with everyone in the office—not just the people in a certain department.

When I worked as a receptionist, I was involved in projects across the entire company and had the opportunity to work with people I likely would’ve never even met had I been in a more specialized role.

Even further? Since I was the friendly face at the front desk, I also had the chance to connect with many other professionals that didn’t work in our office. It was a surefire way to build a huge network—all while collecting a paycheck!

2. Your Organization Skills Are Out of This World

Administrative roles typically involve a lot of juggling. You’re working with numerous different projects, deadlines, and teams—all at the same time.

Quite simply, you don’t get through it all without some killer organization skills. You’ve not only become the master of keeping yourself on track, but you’ve also learned how to keep your colleagues moving in the right direction as well.

Organization (not to mention your ability to multi-task) is a skill that will benefit you well into your career—regardless of what future positions you find yourself in. So, relish this opportunity to continue refining that much-needed skill. I promise, it pays off!

3. You Get to See the Whole Picture

Yes, there’s a lot to be said for working in a super specialized role. However, too long in one of those positions, and suddenly you’re missing the forest for the trees. You become so zoned in on the work you’re doing, you completely lose sight of how it has any impact on your company as a whole.

Things don’t work this way when you’re in an administrative role. Because you have your hands in so many different things all at once, you get some amazing insight into how the business functions. You aren’t just seeing a glimpse here and there—you’re able to get your hands on the whole picture.

That solid understanding of all of the interdependent parts of a business is something that not a lot of employees have. And, it will continue to benefit you (and your employer!) as you make steps forward in your career.

4. You Communicate Like a Boss

Communicating effectively with your teammates isn’t always easy—even when you have a relatively small group of people to work with. But, when you’re in an administrative role? Things become that much tougher.

In these types of positions, you’re often left to liaise between several different departments and teams—making sure that everyone is up to speed and informed about what’s happening next. Of course, that’s not always easy. But, an administrative role will force you to become well-practiced in the art of effective communication.

That’s yet another skill that will continue to be desirable—even after you move on from an administrative position. Just think about it: How many times have you seen “skilled communicator” listed as a desirable quality on job descriptions? More than you can count, I’m willing to bet.

I can understand if you’re feeling frustrated by needing to start off your career in an administrative role—particularly if you had high hopes for something different. Believe me, I’ve been there.

But, administrative jobs are actually amazing stepping stones in your career. You’ll get hands-on experience in numerous different areas and develop necessary skills that are sure to make you desirable to any future employers.

So, it’s time to stop feeling discouraged and feel grateful instead. I promise, this job is taking you places!

Written by

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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