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Clerical Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Though clerical assistants will be assigned tasks in accordance with the needs of the individual workplace, some common responsibilities emerge when evaluating job postings. Aspiring clerical assistants should be prepared to do the following:
Phone Duty Answering phones, directing calls, taking messages, and calling people on behalf of the company are all critical to keeping operations flowing.
Mail Management Besides sorting and distributing the daily mail, clerical assistants may compile mass mailings, help to send out bills, and arrange package pick-ups.
Online Management Clerical assistants may be responsible for handling general incoming emails and routing questions received from the organization's website or social media platforms to the appropriate person.
Use Office Equipment When a copy needs to be made or a fax sent out, others in the office rely on clerical assistants to get the job done. Clerical assistants use computers daily to do things such as send email, update databases, and type correspondence drafted by office leaders.
File Putting electronic and/or physical paperwork in the correct place is essential for proper recordkeeping and easy retrieval.
Inventory Clerical assistants often are the ones who keep tabs on office supplies and order more as needed.
Follow Instructions Offices frequently have special assignments, many times carried out under the guidance of an administrative assistant. Completing these projects requires clerical assistants to listen carefully to directions, do what is asked, and pose questions if clarification is needed.
Oversee Others Clerical assistants may be charged with helping out new hires. If the office employs work-study students or temps, they may report directly to the clerical assistant.
Clerical Assistant Skills and QualificationsClerical assistants must be able to prioritize in order to get the most pertinent jobs done first. As master multitaskers, they manage incoming demands efficiently and gracefully. The position also necessitates possessing the following:
- Interpersonal skills - getting along with others in the office as well as being welcoming to those encountered on the phone or in person helps a clerical assistant shine
- Professionalism - as a representative of the company who interacts with the public, clerical assistants should look and act in ways that reflect well on the employer
- Independence - busy offices depend on clerical assistants to do their job well with limited supervision
- Language skills - in addition to speaking clearly and correctly on the phone, clerical assistants should have a solid grasp of grammar and be able to spot spelling mistakes
- Typing skills - both speed and accuracy are important for turning out documents
- Computer competency - thorough familiarity with Microsoft Office products is helpful, as is a willingness to master industry-specific software
- Discretion - in the course of filing or entering data, clerical assistants may encounter personal or confidential information and need to respect the privacy of others
Clerical Assistant Education and TrainingMost clerical assistants possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Some employers prefer candidates with some post-secondary education or an associate's degree. Résumés should highlight computer competency and familiarity with basic office equipment. New hires should expect a period of on-the-job-training to become familiar with the company's procedures.
Clerical Assistant Salary and OutlookPayscale.com lists the national median annual salary for clerical assistants as $30,228, with a median hourly wage of $12.70. The lowest paid clerical assistants earn close to $20,000 a year (or $9.73 an hour), while the highest paid make in excess of $44,300 a year ($17.05 hourly). Depending on the workplace, benefits such as healthcare and paid time off may be available to employees who work a certain number of hours. While many offices will continue to hire clerical assistants in the years ahead, the overall need for them may decrease due to technology, such as using an automated phone system to handle calls. With the aging of the US population, the healthcare sector may be an industry with good prospects for clerical assistants.
Clerical Assistant Helpful Resources
Want to learn more about being a clerical assistant? The following can help:
American Society of Administrative Professionals - This organization with more than 60,000 members focuses much of its efforts on continuing education, so clerical assistants looking to improve their skills and advance their career might want to check out the ASAP's webinars, articles, and career center.
Perfect Phrases for Office Professionals: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Getting Respect, Recognition, and Results in Today's Workplace - Excellent communication skills are a must for any clerical assistant, and this quick-reference guide helps readers build relationships, handle complaints, get their point across, and achieve results.
International Association of Administrative Professionals - The IAAP "strives to ensure individuals working in office and administrative professions have the opportunity to connect, learn, lead, and excel," so the group provides a variety of training opportunities, networking possibilities, and industry events.
The Receptionist Handbook - Receptionists and clerical assistants perform similar duties, and this humorous but practical book by Lisa Harmon provides guidance on issues of interest in both professions, such as how to dress, what to say, and ways to get organized.
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