How to become a secretary in Australia: careers in administration

How to become a secretary in Australia: careers in administration
A secretary provides administrative support and assistance to professionals and executives. They usually work in an office environment, undertaking a range of organisational and administrative tasks to aid the successful running of an office. They need to have brilliant written and face-to-face communication skills, as well as being excellent at organisation and planning. Secretaries are required in a variety of fields and industries to help various organisations to function effectively.
Secretaries perform a range of administrative tasks and clerical duties focused on the efficient running of an organisation’s office environment. They deal with incoming mail and phone calls, coordinate staff calendars, make appointments and keep records maintained. If they are providing administrative support to an individual such as an executive, they are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of their day-to-day workflow. This can include coordinating meetings and travel arrangements on their behalf.
Tasks:
  • Update appointment diaries and calendars
  • Schedule events
  • Process incoming and outgoing mail
  • Prepare reports, briefing notes and correspondence
  • Coordinate staff meetings
Secretaries need to be highly organised with the ability to meet strict deadlines and maintain an updated schedule of day-to-day activities. They also need to have outstanding communication skills, both verbally and in writing, and be able to work well with others. Secretaries need to demonstrate versatility and the ability to adapt. Having an intuitive understanding of the needs of those they assist is crucial. Secretaries should have good IT skills and be familiar with a range of software programs and functions.
Skills/attributes
  • Knowledge of data-entry and filing systems
  • Ability to multitask
  • Organisational expertise
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • Able to be versatile

Secretaries have a number of career options available to them if they wish to expand on their skills in administration and secretarial work.

Personal assistants generally work for a single individual, usually a professional or an executive. They organise and plan the daily activities of their employer’s professional life and give them administrative and organisational assistance to allow them to perform their role effectively.
Legal secretaries have a high level of understanding of legal terminology and a familiarity with various types of legal documents. They can be asked to prepare legal documents and reports, proof read for errors or transcribe draft texts.
Working in hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ surgeries, medical secretaries are familiar with a range of medical terminologies, procedures and documents. They help plan and schedule patient appointments, arrange for call-backs and maintain filing systems to provide health professionals with correct patient information.
There are a number of courses available for anyone wanting to pursue a career as a secretary. There are specialist courses targeting industry specific skills and knowledge, depending on what area you would like to specialise in.
Getting Started

Start your career

Targeted training courses will allow you to begin your career as an administration professional.
Strengthen your skills

Strengthen your skills

Gain industry-relevant skills and knowledge to allow you to pursue your career as a secretary.
Build your resume

Build your resume

Build on the administrative knowledge that you will need to succeed in your field.
Industry requirements

Industry requirements

Some employers may require you undertake further study to develop industry specific skills, such as in a legal or medical context.
Finding Work

Finding Work

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your administration career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
Employment Prospects

Employment Prospects

Competition for secretarial roles is very high and there are few job opportunities expected to open up in this field over the next five years.