Secretary Jobs and Career Advice | Career Focus - Pitman Training


Find out more about the role of a Secretary

So what exactly does a Secretary do?

As a secretary you’re there to help ease others workload, offer support and basically keep those around you organised with military precision!

Working either individually or as part of a secretarial team, you’ll provide clerical and administrative support either to a single boss or a team. Specifics of the role depend on the type and size of organisation you work in, but it is a role that is needed in pretty much every business as there is always paperwork and organisational tasks that need to be carried out so the types of opportunities are many and varied. 

As a Secretary, you’ll be there to ensure the smooth-running of the office and the administration associated with the business. You could be asked to implement and oversee office procedures, processes or projects. If you’re working as a team, depending on the structure of this, you may be asked to supervise other members of the team ensuring the work is carried out promptly and efficiently. 

Typically, standard tasks you may be asked to carry out are:

  • Typing of all correspondence, reports etc.
  • Managing diaries either of managers or other staff members
  • Greeting clients and answering phones
  • Sorting and distributing post
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Filing

You may also be asked to make travel arrangements for other members of staff or take minutes in meetings. 

This role often overlaps or builds into a PA type position as the duties carried out can be very similar. It can also extend into some accounting type tasks as well, such as doing the daily banking or raising invoices etc.

The role is usually a typical Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm role but there are a large number of positions on offer which are part-time or offer a job-share option so could be an ideal role if you are looking for a position which offers flexibility.

What key personal attributes should a good Secretary have?

  • First and foremost, you will need to be (and enjoy being) ORGANISED!
  • Good attention to detail
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Flexible
  • Good at working within a team and also under your own initiative
  • Ability to be discreet when required
  • Personable and approachable 

What skills/training do you need to become a Secretary?

Employers will prefer someone with a good basic education as a minimum requirement and will typically sway more towards someone who has proven secretarial skills such as the ability to touch type or those with experience of the commonly used Microsoft Office software. 

If you’re completely changing careers to become a Secretary, it would be a good investment to look for a specific secretarial training course before applying for any positions. This will boost your appeal to prospective employers and prove to them that you have the dedicated, specific skills they are looking for. A lot of the courses available can be done either full-time or part-time so you can fit them around your existing commitments which may help you make the transition in your career. 

If you would prefer to gain experience through work, seeking temporary positions may be an alternative. Temping in different companies will show you the core duties of a Secretary that run across all businesses but you will also pick up and learn new skills from the more niche tasks you may be asked to do in each workplace which will help build your practical work experience quickly. 

If you are looking to work as an Executive Secretary or Senior Secretary, it would be beneficial to have undertaken some form or recognised Secretarial training to enhance your prospects. Alternatively, this is a level you can aim for as you build on as you gain experience through your career. 

There are some specific specialist sectors that you could work in as a Secretary such as working in a hospital as a Medical Secretary or working as a Legal Secretary in a Solicitors firm. These type of roles typically require specific certifications or proven previous experience. 

What can you earn working as a Secretary?

Salaries obviously depend on where you live and on the type of organisation or business you work for. The typical entry-level salary for a Secretary is in the region of €20,000. The scope for salary progression is good and will rise in line with your experience, this could rise to anywhere around €28,000 in a large city organisation.

More information

If you’re thinking about changing careers and are interested in becoming a Secretary, check out our range of Secretarial courses here.

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