Administration jobs are often seen as the bottom rung on the career ladder, but this is a misconception. Although it is true that working in administration usually means that you are dismissed as nothing more than a secretary or receptionist, there are often definite chances for promotion and the pay can be favourable too.
Although administration workers are often looked down on as less qualified than other types of employee, you do need specific skills to be offered the job in the first place. Most workplaces will require you to be a “people person” who interacts well with customers and offers a good representation of the business. This is significant for receptionist jobs, as you will often be the first (and sometimes only) point of contact for existing or potential customers, so it is vital that you know how to present both yourself and the company in the best light. A good telephone manner is also important, as receptionists will spend a lot of time answering the phone, and dealing with inquiries. Computer skills are also preferable.
In many administration jobs (especially secretarial work), you will need to do tasks such as typing memos, filling in spreadsheets and handling invoices. If you are already familiar with basic computer skills and programs, the company will not have to spend valuable time teaching these to you. For this reason, they will usually prefer job candidates who have computer skills over those without. It is helpful to have qualifications from computer courses on your CV to demonstrate this, although this is not essential. Basic reading, writing, speaking, listening and numeracy skills are also an asset in administration work.
Some jobs may require you to do both receptionist and secretarial work, which means that you need to have the necessary skills for both. Most administration workers do have the right skills for both jobs, so you might be facing some stiff competition for jobs if this is not the case for you.
It is not uncommon for administration workers to become a Personal Assistant (PA) further down the line if they have proven their ability in administration. Promotion prospects will often be inside the same company, so you may find yourself waiting for a job vacancy to open up elsewhere in the company, which you can then apply for. This can be a good move, as employers will often favour internal job candidates with whom they are already familiar. In some cases, job vacancies will only be advertised internally, if employers are keen for the job to be given to someone who is already working in the company.
Working in administration is often the only way to get a foot in the door. It can be a good way of proving your ability and enthusiasm. As far as many employers are concerned, demonstrating your enthusiasm at the “ground floor” level is a good indication that you are genuinely interested in learning how the company works, rather than simply being driven by personal gain. This makes you a good asset for the company, which can in turn improve your promotion prospects.