In many organizations, the term “secretary” has long since become passé. Today’s employers utilize administrative assistants to provide much needed clerical and administrative support. Administrative assistants perform a wide variety of tasks. In fact, if one were to describe the function of an administrative assistant - they could be deemed as the information and communication managers for their office. Administrative assistants disseminate information, plan, organize, make travel arrangements, conduct research and a host of other tasks.
A good administrative assistant is one who is reliable, can be trusted to get the job done and maintain confidentiality when needed. A great administrative assistant has the intuitiveness to be able to determine what is important versus what is a waste of office time. A great administrative assistant consistently offers plus one service.
What is plus one service?
Plus one service is taking that extra step in completing a project or task. Plus one service closes all of the loopholes through which errors occur, for example:
Sending a package - Anyone can put a package in the mail. Imagine the boss receiving a call asking where that package was. Plus one service follows up on the package a few days after sending to make sure the package has arrived at it’s destination to avoid those embarrassing non-receipt phone calls.
Including a note - If your supervisor requested a note to be included with a package, while you may think you know the message that should be conveyed, it’s more important to draft the note and then give it to your supervisor for approval.
Check on a price - If a manager asks for a price on a particular item, don't just send them an e-mail with a dollar amount and no explanation. A great administrative assistant would do comparison pricing - then provide a short report to the requester on the pricing. It’s the little details that count.
Check on a problem - Anyone can check on a problem and fix it. A great administrative assistant would not only correct the problem, but also find the root cause that would prevent the problem from occurring in the future.
Who are administrative assistants?
The myth that administrative assistants are low on the totem pole without an education is as far from the truth as you can get. Some have college degrees and some do not. Some are administrative assistants because they enjoy the wide variety of tasks and the opportunity to be privy to the most intimate details of an organization. Others use the position as a stepping stone to career advancement. Whatever the reason, great administrative assistants delivering plus one service is the foundation of any great organization.