How to Move Beyond Your Administrative Assistant Role


There's a reason why the adage "you have to start somewhere" has stuck around. Perhaps it's only mildly comforting to hear when you're in a job-hating state of mind, but the truth is most people have had to work their way into their successful careers. A common job title for recent graduates is administrative assistant, a position with a job description that usually doesn't do it justice. This jack-of-all-trades job has more of a career growth track than it did five years ago, according to a survey of executives, and several experts shared information with The New York Times on how to make the most of an administrative position. See their comments when you read more.

  • What career paths are open if you join a company as an administrative assistant? The most common opportunities for advancement are in marketing, human resources, operations and facilities management.
  • One key to advancement is showing that you can handle more challenging responsibilities. How can you do that? Begin by thinking about what areas of the company you're interested in and figure out how you'll add more responsibilities to your current duties. Volunteer to help with projects that are related to your areas of interest but add these activities in slowly so you don't spread yourself thin.
  • You don’t want to appear uninterested in your job as soon as you are hired, so how long should you wait to start looking for additional responsibilities? Excel in your administrative assistant position for six months to a year so your boss sees that you are invested in your job.
  • How can you convince your boss to support you in your efforts to move up in the organization? And if you can’t get that support, how can you make sure that others know what you’ve accomplished? Make it clear to your boss that you are serious about making a career in the industry and be prepared with examples of how you can make yourself more valuable to the company. Keep a record of everything you've accomplished in case your boss isn't willing to help you move up the ladder.

Photo copyright 2008 ABC, Inc.

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