Advice Personal Development

Skills Needed in Secretary Jobs

If you leave school with the basic office skills you should get an entry level secretary job. Employers will expect MS Office skills for even the most basic positions.

Typing and general communication skills are important for secretarial careers. Because secretaries are often client facing, some experience working with customers may also stand you in good stead. The ability to work independently is important.

Secretary Jobs
secretarial students (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Retraining is an integral part of secretarial jobs because of increasing levels of office automation. There is a demand for secretaries who are adaptable and versatile.

Secretarial skills can be learned in various ways. There are various educational routes to follow, from specific college courses to a careful selection of GCSE subjects. Many temp placement agencies also provide training in office skills. If an employer sees potential in you they may allow you to learn on the job.

If you want to go for a promotion you should prepare yourself for more responsibility and manage your time very well.

The jobs secretaries are sometimes promoted into, include:

  • senior or executive secretary
  • administrative assistant
  • clerical supervisor
  • office manager

If you develop you word processing skills and data entry abilities you may be promoted to training others, or even managing them. Opportunities like this are usually available in medium to large companies. Experience as a secretary can also lead to positions like instructor or sales representative when working for manufacturers or software companies.

Another route to follow is to go into the legal industry. A good way of getting in to law, many paralegals start out as secretaries for law firms. Choosing this option can set you up for a financially rewarding career in secretarial jobs. To do well in law you need to work very hard and be determined.

Notes on the video


This is Part V of a recording of an information webcast about the European Personnel Selection Office’s (EPSO) 2010 EPSO Assistant (AST) competitions. Learn more about EU careers.

Learn everything you need to know about:

  • how to apply for the exams
  • whether you are eligible
  • fulfill language and other requirements
  • what is the exam like (stages, tests)
  • how to prepare for them
  • how to get the job

The video covers verbal reasoning, abstract reasoning, numerical reasoning tests, organizing and prioritizing, accuracy and precision as well as secretarial skills tests.

Information in the video refers to the following EPSO exams:


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