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How to become a Secretary

secretary careers

What does a Secretary do?

Secretaries provide administrative support to one or more people in an organisation. Their duties and responsibilities could vary greatly according to the employer, but may include:

  • using word processors, spreadsheets and databases to type documents and update records
  • answering the telephone and dealing with enquiries
  • making appointments and keeping diaries
  • preparing and distributing papers and documents for meetings and taking minutes, possibly using shorthand
  • dealing with incoming and outgoing post
  • drafting letters and other documents
  • word processing or typing letters and other documents, possibly using audio transcription
  • maintaining a filing system.
Well-qualified secretaries, including graduates, may also do work like compiling accounts, controlling budgets and presenting reports and statistics.

What's the working environment like working as a Secretary?

Secretaries usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. They could be asked to work extra or flexible hours at busy times.

Part-time work, job sharing and temporary work are available.

What does it take to become a Secretary?

To be a secretary you should:

  • be efficient, well- organised and good at time management
  • have good communication skills, both spoken and written
  • have an excellent command of grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • be able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • have an understanding of business
  • have good keyboard skills and confidence with a range of word processing and computer packages
  • be able to deal with confidential information
  • be able to work unsupervised on your own initiative
  • work well under pressure.

Secretary Career Opportunities

Secretaries are found in all types and sizes of organisations, both in the private and public sectors.

Opportunities may exist to become personal assistant to a senior manager or an office manager. Further specialist training is available to become a farm, medical or legal secretary (see the Farm/Medical/Legal Secretary profiles).

With further qualifications, experienced and well-qualified secretaries could become college lecturers, teaching secretarial skills to students. For more information, see the profile for Lecturer: Further Education.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Secretary that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Council for Administration (CfA)
6 Graphite Square
Vauxhall Walk
London
SE11 5EE
Tel: 020 7091 9620
www.cfa.uk.com

Institute of Qualified Professional Secretaries (IQPS)
Suite 464
24-28 St Leonards Road
Windsor
Berks
SL4 3BB
Tel: 0844 8000 182
www.iqps.org

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board (LCCIEB)
Education Development International plc
International House
Siskin Parkway East
Middlemarch Business Park
Coventry
CV3 4PE
Tel: 0870 720 2909
www.lccieb.com

Pitman Qualifications
1 Giltspur Street
London
EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 3500
www.pitmanqualifications.com

OCR
Information Bureau
Tel: 01223 553 998
www.ocr.org.uk

Courses to help you become a Secretary