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Career Story: Administrative Assistant At A Private University

Administrative Assistant At A Private University

Job Title: Staff Assistant

Type of Company: I work for a medium-sized private university near Boston.

Education: BA, Sociology, Tufts University

Previous Experience: I worked in a production office at a theatre company and worked for a conference planning firm for two summers.

Job Tasks: I answer the phone, process the incoming and outgoing mail and greet anyone who comes into the office. I also help my boss process paperwork for the faculty and do the booking for a large conference hall on our floor. I make copies and help plan conferences. I also provide support for any of the other members of my office who need assistance; for example, I sometimes schedule meetings or place phone calls on behalf of my boss. Recently, I have been covering for another employee who left the organization in March, and am helping a few people with some of their graduate recruiting projects. We had a big recruiting day last week and it was very successful.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I never take work home with me and my job is relatively low-stress. My bosses have been very flexible with my class schedule and other needs. However, my work can be boring, and I don't really like working for someone important.

Job Tips: Try to take breaks in the day so you're not staring at the computer all day.

Keep a to-do list if you're juggling a lot of tasks.

Keep a pad by the phone so you can jot down phone messages as you are on the phone so you don't miss something important. It also helps keep down on clutter caused by overuse of Post-Its.

Additional Thoughts: Customer service skills are very important in many jobs. I hate talking on the phone but this job forces me to do this, which I feel is valuable.

I'm currently studying for entry into a physical therapy program, and am working here as a means of income and benefits while I do so. I wish I had taken more science courses in college so I wouldn't have to fill so many pre-requisites. Try to find a career you want, and look at any temporary positions as just a job in order to get what you really want.

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