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What Is an Office Assistant and How to Become One

Office Assistant

What Does an Office Assistant Do?

As an office assistant, you are responsible for conducting daily administrative tasks in an office environment. You may be asked to answer telephone calls and emails, take messages, schedule appointments, greet customers or clients, make copies, maintain records, and manage office inventory and supplies. Your responsibilities may vary depending on the kind of office you work in, and some jobs may require special skills or education, like medical billing knowledge or experience as a paralegal.

How to Become an Office Assistant

To become an office assistant, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Many office assistant jobs require an associate or bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and some work experience in an office environment. The industry in which you work as an office assistant may require additional training, education, or certifications, especially if you are working for a government office, hospital, or legal firm.

How to Be a Good Office Assistant

Good office assistants have a broad set of skills they utilize on a daily basis. You must be well organized with good multitasking skills, personable, and have strong computer skills in most any office assistant job. Having a strong working knowledge of the industry in which you work is also important if you are working in a particular field, for example, a medical or legal office.

What Is the Job Outlook for an Office AssIstant?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, office assistant jobs will experience varying degrees of growth in the near future. For example, the BLS projects a 5% decrease in demand for secretaries and administrative assistants between 2016 and 2026 but a 15% increase for legal assistants in the same period. Generally speaking, having a specialized skill set may help you be more marketable in the office assistant field.

Office Assistant Job Description Sample

With this Office Assistant job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Office Assistant role.

Job Summary

We are seeking a highly organized and responsible office assistant to join our growing organization. In this position, you will perform clerical tasks, answer phones, and sort mail. Other duties will include assisting office managers and executives with preparing documents, organizing files, managing existing documents, and generally keeping the office organized, tidy, and running smoothly.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Answer phone inquiries, direct calls and provide basic company information
  • Perform clerical duties, take memos, maintain files, and organize documents; photocopy, fax, etc. as needed
  • Assist in planning company events, meetings, luncheons, and employee team building activities or special projects
  • Help prepare reports, presentations, and data
  • Manage and maintain files, records, and correspondence for meetings
  • Type documents, drafts, and reports
  • Arrange schedules for meeting space and conference rooms
  • Assist with travel and expense reports
  • Update staff calendars and organize schedules
  • Prepare information and research for executive needs
  • Oversee mail deliveries, packages, and couriers
  • Purchase, track, and invoice office supplies for each department
  • Set up, break down, organize, and maintain conference rooms, training rooms, and meeting rooms
  • Arrange itineraries and executive correspondence

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent; associate's or bachelor's degree preferred
  • Prior experience handling office responsibilities, experience in customer service, or related field
  • Proficient computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel); scheduling appointments/updating calendars
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly organized multitasker who works well in a fast-paced environment
  • Willingness to learn and to grow with the company