Individual differences |
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Clerical secretarial skills are those of a secretary (sometimes called administrative assistant or associate) has a myriad of administrative duties. Traditionally, these duties were mostly related to correspondence, such as:
The advent of word processing has significantly reduced the time that such duties require, with the result that many new tasks have come under the oversee of the secretary. These might include:
- managing budgets
- doing bookkeeping,
- maintaining websites,
- making travel arrangements.
Secretaries might manage all the administrative details of running a high level conference or arrange the catering for a typical lunch meeting. Often executives will ask their assistant to write original documents for review and also to collaborate with others. They may also do personnel paperwork which used to be thought of as a human relations function;
To be successful today the executive assistant must have a broad level of skills and be creative in managing new situations. As such a 4 year degree (Bachelors of Arts) is often preferred and a 2 year degree is usually a requirement.
In the 1880s, with the invention of the typewriter, more women began to enter the field, and since World War I, the role of secretary has been primarily associated with women. By the 1930s, fewer men were entering the field of secretaries.
In a business many job descriptions overlap. However, while administrative assistant is a generic term, not necessarily implying directly working for a superior, a secretary is usually a personal assistant to a manager or executive. Other titles describing jobs similar to or overlapping those of the traditional secretary are office coordinator, executive assistant, office manager and administrative professional.
- At the most basic level a secretary may need only a good command of the prevailing office language and the ability to type, and may spend a large part of his or her time filing and fetching papers (or the equivalent regarding electronic files and database information) or answering telephones.
- A more skilled executive assistant may be required to type at high speeds using technical or foreign languages, organize diaries, itineraries and meetings and carry out administrative duties which may include accountancy. An executive secretary / assistant may also control access to a manager, thus becoming an influential and trusted aide. Executive assistants are available for contact during off hours by new electronic communication methods for consultations.
- The largest difference between a generalized secretary and skilled executive assistants is that the executive assistant is required to be able to interact extensively with the general public, vendors, customers, and any other person or group that the executive is responsible to interact with. As the level that the executive interacts with increases so does the level of skill required in the executive assistant that works with the executive. Those executive assistants that work with corporate officers must be capable of emulating the style, corporate philosophy, and corporate persona of the executive for which they work. In the modern workplace the advancement of the executives assistant is codependant on the success of the executive and the ability of both to make the job performance of the team seamless whereas the job place evaluation is reflective of each others performance.
- Executive assistants are normally required to maintain job skills at the current state of the art. It is a normal requirement of the executive assistant to be required to complete continuing job education on their own time, with reimbursement for tuition and class supplies.
A medical secretary provides secretarial support in clinics. Duties are e.g. to inform patients of costs and further information resources for care offered. Other duties are to answer telephones, relay messages and greet visitors. Duties depend on instructions and pre-established guidelines from medical staff. 
The job requires a high school diploma or its equivalent in addition to 0-2 years of related experience.
Psychologists have looked at the skill of secretaries from a number of perspectives.
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