Plenty of secretarial jobs at Rainbow
As a secretary, you will never be short of work. High demand means that you can find a job in almost any company. As a consequence of the role given by the media to the secretary, the word acquired an undeserved negative connotation. Time to set things straight.
Controversy surrounding the title
The title of secretary has undergone many changes. The name came to be considered old-fashioned and derogatory. The word secretary seemed to imply that this position was generally held by a woman. Because of these sexist connotations, the title first changed to secretarial employee. Although secretaries are still most often women, it is worth noting that the Secretarial-Languages section at secondary schools and the Bachelor programmes in Office Management have already become one tenth more popular amongst men.
While the name was evolving, the job's responsibilities were also changing. In the Middle Ages, the tasks were limited to writing, signing and translating documents. It wasn't until the 19th century that an increasing number of women became secretaries. A secretary does not only have administrative responsibilities, like an administrative assistant. Since the 70s, managing the agenda and creating working schedules have also became part of the job. Since then, the range of tasks has only increased and diversified. The position not only became more popular, but was also given a more suitable and representative name: Management Assistant.
Does a secretary make coffee?
The days when a secretary only made coffee, did some filing and answered phone calls are long gone. He/she still handles a wide range of administrative tasks but, for example, most modern Managers already manage their own agenda.
The secretary’s duties
A secretary is typically responsible for secretarial work. This includes preparing documents, managing the agenda, handling correspondence and mailings, taking notes, typing reports, answering phone calls, maintaining archives, organising meetings, contacting clients or patients and managing office supplies.
But much more is expected of the secretary. He/she generally has to speak three languages, be familiar with the standard IT programmes and be well-versed in time management. Today, the secretary helps to define the company and has a growing influence within the company. He/she participates in the recruitment and training of new employees, provides assistance to clients, manages projects, organises events, leads meetings, writes annual reports and even controls budgets. He/she is the first in line to process the incoming mail, establish the agenda and determine which phone calls are transferred and who takes priority.
The secretary’s skills
As a secretary, you are often confronted with confidential information, which you must handle with discretion. This is an important responsibility. The skills that a good assistant should have include: an ability to work independently and discreetly, good organisational skills, a sense of responsibility and an ability to communicate efficiently with managers and colleagues.
Don’t use the word lightly – every secretary is different
A secretary or Management Assistant can be in charge of supporting one person or one or more departments. He/she can also specialise as, for instance, a legal secretary, medical secretary or Executive Assistant. In addition, there are several different levels of responsibility, ranging from the junior secretary, the secretary and the departmental secretary to the Management Assistant, the Executive Assistant, the Office Manager and the Assistant to a Member or to the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
If your company's administrative tasks are limited, but still need to be delegated, you can call upon external organisations to handle these tasks for you. For instance, your telephone calls will be automatically transferred to them, answered and followed up on.
Celebrating the Management Assistant on Management Assistant's Day
By performing all sorts of important support tasks, secretaries ensure the smooth running of the company. As their contribution was rarely acknowledged, however, the third Thursday of April was set aside as Management Assistant's Day – Secretaressedag/Journée de la Secrétaire2. On that day, all the assistants in Belgium are put in the spotlight. Thanks to this initiative, the word secretary no longer needs to have a negative connotation.
Contact Rainbow Admin Careers to quickly find an administrative job. You can find jobs as Management Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Receptionist, Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant and Commercial Assistant.