A senior administrative assistant is an administrative professional who assists one or more management members within an organization and may also supervise entry level administrative staff. As organizations grow, they can see an increase in their volume of administrative tasks, and require more than just one administrative professional. A senior role is typically required in such an organization to work closely with management and take on administrative functions that carry a higher level of responsibility than those of entry level staff.
Executives or managers of an organization often require a senior administrative assistant or executive assistant to act as their “gatekeeper” or representative. Whereas an organization’s receptionist or front desk clerk might greet incoming callers and visitors, a senior administrator is often the next point of contact for those who wish to contact management. These individuals often manage schedules, travel itineraries and other appointments for managers in a variety of departments, be they marketing, IT, or human resources.
Because they tend to represent an organization’s management in both written and verbal correspondence, the most important qualification for people in this position is that they have good communication skills. In this capacity, their responsibilities might include drafting letters and emails, fielding phone calls, and taking shorthand. A senior administrative assistant should also have a general working knowledge of all departments within an organization. This will prepare him or her to handle general inquiries he or she might receive, or direct them to the appropriate department personnel.
In order to become a senior administrative assistant, one should have combined experience in both general office administration as well as the organization’s particular industry. In this sense, ideal candidates are often entry-level administrative professionals already employed within the organization who are seeking a promotion. Depending on the values of the organization, some senior roles might place a high emphasis on academic credentials, while others might be more interested in the candidate’s professional administrative background. Candidates who lack professional administrative experience but have academic experience in related areas, such as typing or secretarial courses, might be better suited for entry-level administrative employment prior to applying for a senior position.