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Career Story: Administrative Assistant In A High School Guidance Department

Administrative Assistant In A High School Guidance Department

Job Title: Administrative Assistant - Guidance Department

Type of Company: I work for an independent school with an enrollment of 2500 students in a small city in Connecticut.

Education: n/a

Previous Experience: I have had a long career as an administrative assistant. I have worked for psychiatrists, an orthopedic surgeon, and pathologists in both private and public practice, businessmen in large and very small businesses (from the Director of Exploration and Production in a mega-corporation in NYC to the president of a small film production company).

Job Tasks: I write letters for the director, who then edits them; take minutes at meetings and write them; schedule meetings for guidance counselors; assist students and parents when they have questions; coordinate class night and the college fair (over 900 people attending class night and over 100 colleges attending the college fair); schedule meetings and plan luncheons if appropriate; submit students' names to the state for the Capitol and Byrd Scholarships.

I arrive on the job at 7:00 a.m., power up my computer and open up the several programs that I use throughout the day and listen to any voice messages left on my phone. If students need to be called in to see the director, I make sure that passes have gone out to the homerooms. I return phone calls and assist students and parents as needed. I order all the office supplies for the department. If there are special events going on, I work on the details of those events. (For example, with Class Night, I make sure that any student receiving an award gets a letter of invitation. Also, I schedule the room for the event and coordinate with our custodial department to make sure that the room is set up correctly. Little details like water and tissues at the podium make a big difference). I interact with members of different departments, administrators and principals and give them any specific information they may need. I send out transcripts and register new students as well. The day ends at 3:00 p.m.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love interacting with students and watching them as they mature from little 9th graders to swaggering seniors. I am a people person and love to help anyone who needs it. In this job, that's a big plus. Students who have graduated come back to visit, and that's so much fun.

There isn't anything I don't really like about my job. Some things like writing minutes when you don't feel like it are a pain, but you just hunker down and do the job and before you know it, it's done.

Job Tips:
1. Get your typing skills up. I type about 95 wpm.

2. You need to be a people person to be effective in this job because you're dealing with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations, and you need to be sensitive to their feelings.

3. Be good with your clerical skills. As insignificant as it sounds, filing is critical. If your boss needs a letter or form that you filed last year, you need to get it to him or her when he or she wants it....no excuses!

4. When something is told to you in confidence, keep it that way...CRITICAL!!!

Additional Thoughts: People always tell me that I really run the department. The administrative assistant is the key person in a business or department...don't ever underestimate your worth!

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