How to Shine as an Administrative Assistant

By Julie Dobrinska
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Outstanding Administrative Assistants need three things: (1) a cheerful temperament, (2) great people skills, and (3) a desire to always do their best. See how you stack up . . .

1. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Smile! Stay positive, even when circumstances make it difficult. Although this will sometimes be easier said than done, a good mindset will carry you a long way – especially when you have to work late on Friday afternoon!

Approach your job with enthusiasm. It’s easy to dwell on the negative, but you need to fight that tendency. Maybe your job could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. Try to find something good in every situation.

Keep your cool, even when things get hot. Don’t lose your temper or show disdain for your boss or co-workers. Who cares if you’ve told your boss the name of that vendor three times already? Be patient, but not condescending. And keep sarcastic or demeaning comments out of the office (in fact, you might want to get rid of them for good!)

Maintain your self-esteem and confidence. Feeling sure of yourself and your abilities is a definite plus. Self-confidence will carry you through those tough days when your boss is cranky and everything seems to go wrong. But don’t overdo it – there’s a big difference between confidence and bragging!

2. Build Posive Relationships

Respect your boss and your co-workers. Be open-minded about other ways of thinking and different points of view. What seems silly or irrelevant to you may be very important to someone else. Always remember that your way is not the only way.

Develop a network. Don’t act as though you and your boss are an island. Network with other administrative assistants and get to know people in different departments. Find areas where you can work together for the good of the whole organization.

Don’t gossip. Talking about others almost always comes back to haunt you, so avoid that pitfall. If someone is dishing the latest dirt, just excuse yourself by saying that you have to get back to work. The gossips will eventually decide that you’re no fun and find someone else to waste time with.

3. Do your Best Work

Be accurate in everything you do. Check and double check your work. A few extra minutes to review that report or re-read that email is a worthwhile investment. It may prevent you from sending Mr. Smith’s invoice to Mrs. Jones!

Be accountable & reliable. Do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it. Be known as someone who always follows through. People will be impressed if they can count on you to deliver what you promise. If something goes wrong, fix it! Don’t play the “blame game”.

Keep confidential information to yourself. Most assistants are privy to a wealth of information, some of which is highly confidential. Your boss relies on your ability to keep it that way. A slight slip of the tongue could have far-reaching consequences that you can’t even imagine.

Offer to assist your colleagues. Not only will you become known as a helpful person, but you may also expand your skill set by learning something new.