What are the best corporate secretarial institutions

Job description: what does a secretary do?

When it comes to the Profession secretary many people have a fairly precise idea of ​​the typical tasks: typing business letters after dictation, writing shorthand at meetings, keeping the filing in good condition, copying documents and of course making coffee. The only problem is: this picture is wrong. Some of that is cliché, and what remains after the prejudices are subtracted is long out of date.

Hardly any job description has changed as much in the course of globalization as that of the secretary. The secretariat has long since become the information and coordination center of a department or an entire company, while the secretary has become a co-manager who independently controls processes and projects while also keeping her back free for the boss.

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The change is also reflected in the new names, which range from assistant to executive administrative assistant to the new German office manager. The many different job titles also show how wide the range of tasks is that secretaries take on today. A look at the job portals shows: Hardly any job description is the same as another.

And the further development of the job description is only just beginning: Thanks to digital technologies, many of the classic secretarial activities in companies are superfluous. This not only changes the secretary's everyday life, but also the relationship between boss and assistant. But no matter what the future brings, one thing is certain: a secretary is and will remain one of the most exciting and varied jobs of all.

Diverse job profiles - different tasks

From the automotive industry to the healthcare sector, from the public sector to major international banks - secretaries keep operations going every day in companies and institutions. It is difficult to identify a clearly defined, uniform field of activity. In addition to her work as a management and board assistant, Tanja Bögner gives seminars and coaching for the assistant and reports: “At the beginning of my seminars, I always do a round of introductions with the participants and ask them to describe their work. Every time I am amazed at how incredibly diverse our job is! ”It is this variety of possibilities that makes the job description so interesting. Where else do you get the opportunity to get a taste of a wide variety of industries and topics?

What a secretary does in her everyday work depends not only on the industry but also on the size of the company. In a small company with few employees, she is often a lone fighter, handles all administrative tasks from office communication to accounting to personnel management, looks after customers on the side and is the contact person for all problems and problems of colleagues. In large corporations, in which the individual assistant works in a certain department or a manager, the area of ​​responsibility is much more clearly delimited and the job profile is more specialized. Internationality is also a decisive factor. If the company is globally active, a large part of daily office communication takes place in English or another foreign language. Last but not least, the personality and age of the supervisor also determine what requirements and wishes he has of his assistant.

The main task in the secretariat is to relieve the boss

Because at least that can be said despite all the differences: The most important task of most secretaries is to relieve the boss. The assistant keeps everything off her or her line manager's neck that could distract from the management tasks and waste time. She coordinates his appointments and tasks, organizes business trips, prepares meetings and writes minutes. It is also the secretary who supports the decisions of the management by gathering information and preparing it for the supervisor.

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The secretary represents the company externally

The secretary often also fulfills a gatekeeper function for her boss, because calls, messages and information intended for the superior end up in the secretary's office first. This makes her the first point of contact not only for colleagues, but also for customers and business partners. She appears to them as the company's representative and thus has a great influence on its external impact.

Secretary without a boss?

But what about the flat hierarchies that are finding their way into many companies? Young startups and companies in certain industries such as the IT industry like to replace the classic model of managers and subordinates with a team in which everyone works on an equal footing. Do we still need secretaries?

Of course, secretarial tasks do not simply fall away if there is no longer a classic company hierarchy. They are often only weighted slightly differently, so that certain aspects of the assistant work come to the fore and others become less important. This is often reflected in new job titles: the office manager may put a stronger focus on the organization, a facility manager manages the company's infrastructure, and a feel-good manager ensures a good working atmosphere. Many experienced secretaries will say when reading the job descriptions for such jobs: I've done that before!

Working independently is compulsory

But regardless of whether the secretary is there for the boss or for the team, one thing is always indispensable in the secretariat: the willingness and ability to work independently. The image of the secretary as a mere recipient of orders is no longer true. As a management assistant, she is now the right hand of her superior who supports him and acts independently. As an assistant for a department or a company, she lays the foundations every day so that everyone in the team can concentrate on their tasks and get their work done. To do this, she must know in advance what her colleagues or her supervisor need so that she can take the necessary measures or provide documents. For a high degree of personal responsibility, secretaries who become self-employed and work as virtual assistants for several customers choose.

The classic secretarial tasks

And with all this, where are the classic secretarial tasks? Of course, the assistant also takes care of that on the side. Managing incoming mail and e-mails, organizing filing, ordering office supplies, taking phone calls and looking after guests, writing business letters, drawing up documents and contracts, even creating graphics and presentations or maintaining the website - all of these activities are part of the Job description of a secretary or assistant. The fact that they still do not appear in many job profiles only shows how natural they have become for many employers.

From generalist to expert

But one thing is also certain: the change in the job profile in the digitalized world of work will be particularly noticeable in these secretarial standards. Especially those tasks that many people see as typical for jobs in the secretariat can often already be done more efficiently with digital helpers - and may be completely taken over by technology in the future. One way to prepare for this is specialization, says Diana Brandl. The experienced office expert has worked as a senior executive assistant for years and is eagerly watching the effects of digitization on the job description. “The classic secretary was a generalist who combined many different skills,” she says. "If these skills become dispensable due to new technologies, we have to open up new specialized areas of responsibility and become experts in them."

The opportunity to do so can come naturally in everyday work, as Tanja Bögner knows: “Especially in small and medium-sized companies, there is often a lack of know-how for certain tasks. And then who do you ask? The secretary, of course. ”How do you develop an organization manual? Who can plan and coordinate the application process in the company? How can we improve project management in the company? In order to answer such questions, secretaries often acquire skills on the side that others have several years for. "Many of these activities have their own apprenticeships or even courses of study," says Tanja Bögner. A good complement to learning by doing on the job - and a worthwhile investment in a career - can be part-time training, e.g. B. be an information and knowledge manager, personnel assistant or project manager.

Job description secretary: The change continues

However, digitization is not only changing work itself, it is also shaping superiors and colleagues. With the millennials, a new generation of managers is coming into companies who are used to organizing their everyday lives themselves with the help of apps and smart technology. “What they need is not the secretary who does tasks on instructions. You are looking for a business partner on an equal footing who acts strategically and at the same time manages your own issues, ”says Diana Brandl, who recently worked in the start-up world herself and knows from her own experience what expectations millennial bosses have of their assistants.

For the job of a secretary, this means even more responsibility and even more personal decisions. Your role as gatekeeper and advisor to the boss is increasingly coming into focus. It filters the flood of information that is constantly vying for the attention of managers, sorts and prioritizes information that is necessary for decision-making, and makes recommendations and proposed solutions itself. In addition: Because of the high workload, many managers can no longer perform their actual task, leading employees. The assistant, as the mouthpiece of her superior, is all the more asked to mediate between management and employees, to pass on information, but also to listen to the team and identify problems at an early stage. The secretariat is increasingly becoming the company's communications center.

The DNA of the assistant

It may sound surprising: the best preparation for the future of the secretariat is to look back - at what has always defined the job. And this DNA of assistance is not just typing dictations or filing letters. Rather, it is the secretary's claim and ability to be a competent partner and service provider for everyone in the company, both superiors and colleagues.