Department Assistant Job Description
Department assistants provide support to the company, from administrative support to booking travel arrangements to ensuring databases and records are kept up to date. Department assistants typically work full-time in an office-based environment, although part-time positions are regularly available. This job is well suited to people enjoy working as part of a team.
Department Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
This job involves a range of tasks, including managing shared calendars. The type of organization department assistants work for determines the exact duties and responsibilities they take on. Based on job listings we analyzed, department assistants’ duties typically involve:
Department assistants respond to inquiries from customers and suppliers and greet visitors to the company in a professional manner, ensuring they meet with the correct person.
Department assistants plan meetings and appointments for senior members of staff within the company, managing their diaries and ensuring that no appointments overlap.
Book Travel Arrangements
Department assistants book travel and accommodation for people within the company, scheduling appointments and meetings, and ensuring that all travel is planned accordingly.
A key part of a department assistant’s job is to ensure that all records, reports, and spreadsheets are kept up to date, and all contact details are current for customer records.
Maintain Relationships with Suppliers and Customers
Department assistants work hard to build and maintain trusting relationships with suppliers and customers, providing professional service with every interaction.
Department Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Department assistants should be organized, have experience of working with office equipment, and enjoy working as part of a team. Typically, employers require a postsecondary degree or previous experience in a similar role, as well as the following abilities:
- Computer skills – working with word processing from preparing schedules to sending emails, department assistants have to stay up to date with the latest technology updates for software, such as travel booking programs, to keep office procedures efficient
- Problem-solving abilities – to make decisions on other people’s behalf, finding the best resolution to problems as they arise
- Communication skills – to effectively follow up with inquiries, make travel arrangements, and follow instructions from senior members of staff
- Teamwork – to work closely with other members of the company and people of different backgrounds and skillsets
- Time management – to multitask and organize, effectively ensuring that deadlines are met
Tools of the Trade
Department assistants regularly use the following tools; applicants looking to begin a career as a department assistant should be familiar with using them:
- Word processing programs – MS Word
- Shared calendars – Google Calendar, iCal
Department Assistant Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a department assistant is a postsecondary degree, although some companies may accept a high school diploma with knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet programs as sufficient qualification. Many department assistants learn their skills through on-the-job-training from more experienced colleagues, but there may be industry-specific terminology to learn as well, such as in legal or medical sectors. Department assistants should be familiar with office equipment and not only how to use it properly, but also be able to assist others in its use.
Department Assistant Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for department assistants is nearly $38,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Department assistants in the 10th percentile earn around $24,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $63,000 a year. Over half of employers provide dental and medical coverage as part of their benefits package. The BLS predicts that the growth rate for this sector will decline by 5 percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn how to develop a career as a department assistant:
“Five Powerful Communication Strategies for Administrative Assistants” – This blog post about effective communication can be of use to department assistants who want to offer better service to their colleagues and their company on a day-to-day basis.
Administrative Assistants Office Professionals (All Levels) – This hugely popular LinkedIn group, with more than 187,000 members, is a great place for new-to-the-industry department assistants to network and learn more from experienced professionals.
Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures – This book provides guidance on developing effective systems in the office workplace, including instructions on how best to implement these procedures within the team.
The Innovative Admin – For department assistants looking to think more innovatively and develop better office procedures, this book is a must. It covers a wide range of topics from technology to finding challenges to build experience.
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