Perfecting any role takes time and focus, and becoming a great secretary is no different. By being prepared and developing the skills you have, will help give you the confidence to thrive in your secretarial role. If you have ever asked yourself, ‘What qualities make a good secretary?’ then, this article is for you. We’ll look at the best secretary tips and tricks to focus on to make you stand out as a first-class secretary.
What Does A Secretary Do?
A secretary is a support role, generally doing administrative tasks to assist an individual or small group of people within a business. General duties can include:
- Inbox and diary management
- Booking travel
- Answering the phone
- Preparing correspondence
- Scheduling meetings
- Handling expenses
- Taking minutes in meetings
- Administration tasks
Tips To Excel In Your Secretarial Role
There are many attributes required to become a good secretary which should help ensure you provide excellent administrative support. Below we look at some of the qualities that a good secretary should possess, including tips to keep your boss’s life running smoothly.
1. Get to know your bosses preferences
The better you know the person or people you work for, the easier you will find it to assist them. For example, perhaps your boss likes to have all of his or her meetings in the mornings rather than the afternoons and needs to have a hard stop at 6 pm due to family commitments. The more you understand any external pressures or personal habits, the better the support you will be able to provide.
2. Always have a to-do list
In an ever-changing and fast-paced working world, where you often only have short amounts of time with the people you support, it is vital to always have a list on the go where you can note down their requirements. You could have an urgent and not so urgent list, and you can focus on the latter requirements when you are not pushed for time. A to-do list will also allow you to highlight anything you are waiting to hear back on and stay on top of your workload.
3. Set reminders
Particularly if you are a secretary supporting several people, having reminders will keep you on top of priorities and prompt you to do certain things. This will ensure you don’t accidentally forget something important and by utilising the relevant apps, this should be easy and quick to manage.
4. Allocate time to catch up with your boss
You cannot put a value on having face time with the person or people you support. Perhaps you can diarise a daily or weekly slot where you can get answers to questions and catch up with one another. If this is not possible then perhaps a phone call would suffice. Ultimately the more information you have, the easier it is to provide the administrative support required.
5. Plan ahead
This is especially important when booking projects, events or travel in the future where you may need to action certain things in advance. Having your own calendar clearly marked with upcoming commitments will help to ensure there are no clashes and the work is spread out equally. For more information on this, read our perfect travel planning guide here.
6. Learn how to prioritize
Not all requirements will be urgent, but there may be times when you have to drop what you are working on to focus on something else. By learning how to prioritize will allow you to concentrate on the most important things first and only when they are done, to complete the other, less critical tasks. Time is valuable and you want to use it wisely.
7. Be flexible
As well as focusing on the skills you need to be a great secretary, there are also personal qualities of a good secretary which can make a difference. These include being polite, friendly and professional - it is amazing the impact a smile, a ‘please’ and a ‘thank you’ can have. In addition to this, flexibility is key, particularly in a fast-paced global world where priorities may change last minute.
8. Develop your skills
Personal development is something we should all continue to focus on, no matter how senior we are in our career. Specifically for secretaries, there are a number of training courses both in-person and online which can help to enhance your skills. Read our ultimate list of PA and VA courses here.
Looking For A Change? Land Your Ideal Secretarial Role With Oriel Partners
If you are looking for a new secretarial role or would like to start your secretarial career, please get in touch with us at Oriel Partners and we would love to help. Job hunting can be a very daunting experience and we are ready to support and guide you through the process. Do take a look at our website for a list of our current active secretarial vacancies.