How to become a Secretary

Secretary

Secretaries assist professionals, managers and executives by performing clerical and secretarial duties.

Personal requirements for a Secretary

  • Good command of the English language, both written and spoken
  • Sound organisational and interpersonal skills
  • Able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Able to work independently
  • Aptitude for working with computers
  • Neat personal appearance
  • Able to act with tact and discretion.

Education & Training for a Secretary

To become a secretary, you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education. You can also become a secretary through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


Duties & Tasks of a Secretary

Secretaries:

  • Screen telephone callers
  • Make and record appointments
  • Operate office equipment such as photocopiers, fax machines, switchboards and computers
  • File correspondence and other records
  • Receive and process incoming and outgoing mail
  • Write letters and reports on behalf of the organisation
  • Store and retrieve data on computers
  • Talk to clients
  • Prepare agendas or programmes for meetings
  • Attend and take minutes of meetings, both in the office and at other locations
  • Organise business itineraries, travel arrangements, conferences, meetings and social functions
  • Hire and supervise staff
  • Maintain budget and account records
  • Purchase office supplies.

Tasks

  • Attending meetings and acting as secretary as required.
  • Screening telephone calls and answering inquiries.
  • May supervise other secretarial and clerical staff.
  • Liaising with other staff on matters relating to the organisation's operations.
  • Researching and preparing reports, briefing notes, memoranda, correspondence and other routine documents.
  • Maintaining confidential files and documents.
  • Taking and transcribing dictation of letters and other documents.
  • Processing incoming and outgoing mail, filing correspondence and maintaining records.
  • Maintaining appointment diaries and making travel arrangements.

Working conditions for a Secretary

The duties secretaries perform vary a great deal according to the size and type of organisation in which they work. Experienced secretaries may advance to positions of higher responsibility.


Employment Opportunities for a Secretary

Secretaries may work in a variety of industries. Most work in medical centres, law and accounting firms, retail and wholesale firms, factories, travel agencies, hotels, motels, hospitals, schools, large hairdressing salons and other professional offices. The extent of work duties depends on the individual’s knowledge of what is required, their willingness to accept responsibility and the structure of the work area. Experience in a variety of clerical duties may be needed for office workers to move from one position to another and into other areas of administration.


Specializations

Legal Secretary

A legal secretary uses knowledge of legal terminology to prepare documents and reports.

Medical Secretary

A medical secretary uses knowledge of medical terminology to prepare documents and reports.

  • Average age
    Average age
    42 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Decline
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    97% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,432
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    72% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    52,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 3.6%
    NSW: 34.1%
    NT: 0.9%
    QLD: 17.6%
    SA: 6.1%
    TAS: 1.6%
    VIC: 26.5%
    WA: 9.6%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.7%
    20-24: 5.7%
    25-34: 24.6%
    35-44: 25.3%
    45-54: 25.5%
    55-59: 9.3%
    60-64: 5.9%
    65 and Over: 3.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 22.7%
    Bachelor degree: 15.5%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 16.2%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 4.2%
    Year 10 and below: 9.5%
    Year 11: 6.2%
    Year 12: 25.9%
    Years 11 & 10: 15.3%
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