How to Write an Administrative Assistant Job Description


Administrative assistant job descriptions really should be tailor made to the needs of the person and organization they will be assisting. As a result the administrative assistant job description should take some careful thought and planning, especially since it can be considered a legal contract.

One key different to keep in mind is that a job description is more than just a paper to be filed. It in many ways can serve as secretary training as well, giving a detailed to-do list and benchmark system for the administrative assistant to work by.

  • ~ Outline the basic categories for the administrative assistant job description ~

    These categories should include the title (i.e. Administrative Assistant to the VP), department, direct supervisor, general areas of oversight, tasks, employment terms, and qualifications.

  • ~ Make clear exactly whom this Administrative Assistant assists ~

    To avoid future office conflict make sure there is absolute clarity on who is being assisted. If this assistant serves a pool of positions make that clear. Put it in writing if this assistant is employed fully at the discretion of one executive. Also indicate chain of command and proper reporting structure.

  • ~ Clearly define the primary tasks of the administrative assistant ~

    Be careful of lazy catch all phrases for the job description such as 'all necessary tasks.' These can be added in at the end of the list to cover your bases. Push for clarity as much as possible. Will the administrative assistant be scheduling travel, booking lodging, taking dictation, taking minutes for meetings, managing a calendar schedule, organizing file systems, or overseeing other assistant staff? Include these in a bullet list with each bullet beginning with an action verb (Maintain, sort, oversee, create, define, remind, etc.)

  • ~ Derive qualifications for the administrative assistant position from tasks ~

    Once the specific tasks are listed, define the necessary characteristics for excellent performance of those tasks. These should be as specific as possible as well. Ask for expertise in Word, Excel, and Photoshop rather than computer literacy. Require an ability to handle difficult clients with firm grace, rather than good people skills.

  • ~ Decide on the appropriate level of education and experience ~

    For most administrative assistant positions nothing more than a high school diploma is absolutely required. Think through what is required of this position in this business for this particular person however. It may be that a college degree in business administration or some other official secretary training is desired. For high level administrative assistants prior experience is a must.

    • See more tips below on writing a job description for an administrative assistant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful to screen the job description for any statements which could be viewed as prejudicial or illegal for any other reason.
  • Reread the administrative job description with this question in mind: If we get what we ask for, and nothing more, will we be happy?
  • See related articles on this page for more help and information.

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  • Photo Credit © Dmitriy Shironosov |
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