Tips for Professional Development for Administrative Assistants at Work
- Sarah Gurr
- 2 Min Read
If you’re an administrative assistant, it wasn’t all that long ago that your days were filled with managing calendars, typing letters, and answering calls. Everything was paper-based, so you never had to worry about emails, software, or other new technologies. Even though today the responsibilities of an admin still include scheduling and covering the phones, the position has evolved. With the advent of new technologies, including email, you have more access to information and a broader job description. But that also means the chance to try different professional development tactics.
With everything you’ve got going on, squeezing in time for professional development can be tough. But, you have to make yourself as valuable professionally as possible. To do that, you need to collect a wide range of knowledge and skills. More often than you may think, training for those skills is available in your office. Either through formal training your company provides or through cross training.
Investigate Formal Training Options
The first place to look for professional development opportunities is in your own backyard. Your company may already offer classes and training sessions. Check with your manager or HR department to see what’s available. Make sure to consider your skills gap and approach training with an open mind. If you’re looking to develop your leadership skills, pursue training that’s offered for new managers, even if you’re not a manager yet. It may be helpful knowledge to keep in your pocket for later.
If your company doesn’t have a formal training program, find out if you can pursue training elsewhere. Your supervisor may have access to a budget to help you, if you can find the time. Just by asking, you’re not only learning about the possibilities, but also letting people know that you’re actively looking for ways to advance your skills and career. Remember, if you don’t speak up, no one will know what you’re seeking.
Look to Colleagues to Learn New Skills
Everyone you work with has different skills. One person might be a great designer, while someone else is a whiz at spreadsheets. And there are many opportunities to share skills across the team. As an administrative assistant, you’re a helpful presence in the office in many different areas, so people should be willing to repay the kindness by sharing their knowledge with you.
If someone else has a skill that you want to learn, see if you can find an arrangement. Maybe you can take some administrative burden off his to-do list. In exchange, he’ll teach you the skill. Or, if there’s a task that you’d love to learn about, but is generally completed by someone else, why not ask her to teach you? And then moving forward, she won’t have to worry about it, as you’ll be the one to take on that responsibility. There are many ways to negotiate a skills exchange with your colleagues. Just find the right way for you.
For example, if you wanted to learn to make more attractive presentations, befriend a graphic designer and ask her for some tips and tricks. In exchange, think of how you can make her life easier. You could set up a more efficient filing system, or get her a meeting with someone who always has a booked calendar. Of course, any of these ideas require a little extra work, but everyone has different skills and everyone is pressed for time. You can use both of these realities to your advantage to learn things that will help you get ahead.
What professional development tactics have you tried?