January 10th, 2013
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Become a Secretary
Secretaries are needed by all kinds of businesses and companies, so this can be a promising job field to go into. Secretaries generally need to have a wide range of skills in computing, organisation and being able to work alone as well as with others. They also need to exhibit good interpersonal skills because they will often deal with clients, customers and visitors. They are often the first people a visitor will see, so they must be professional at all times.
What does a secretary do?
A secretary can do a wide variety of tasks in any one day. They will take phone calls, do a variety of tasks on a computer, handle queries, deal with visitors, cope with a variety of jobs at the same time, and much more besides.
The specific nature of their tasks will depend on the work environment they are in and the job role they have undertaken. For example some secretaries work as legal secretaries, and this would involve different tasks to those completed by a secretary working for a bank or an insurance company.
What kind of training is required in order to become a secretary?
The short answer is it depends on several factors. Some areas of secretarial work may require more in the way of qualifications than others. For example if you want to work as a legal secretary it would be wise to get a diploma in this field. However if you want to work as a secretary for a more general type of business, you may be able to gain a foothold in the industry with far less in the way of qualifications.
It is almost a certainty that you will need Matric however. Beyond this it depends on the requirements of the individual employer you wish to approach. Many employers will however require you to have good computer skills so it is probably worth your while to study a basic computer course. A good example would be to get a Tertiary Office Administration Qualification or something similar, as this is recognised (and sometimes asked for) by employers in South Africa. This is especially true when they are looking to employ junior secretaries.
What types of secretarial jobs are available and what do they entail?
A junior secretarial role is generally the first rung on the ladder in this career. Even then you may be required to have prior office experience. You will undertake a variety of tasks and gain experience in the role before moving on to a more senior position, either with the same company or elsewhere.
One of the most senior positions you can hold is that of a chartered secretary. There are not enough chartered secretaries in South Africa today, so if you are prepared to undergo the training required it bodes well for a promising future. The role delves into the area of business and compliance, not to mention law and finance. Thus it is one of the more complex roles available.
Elsewhere there are medical secretaries who work in the medical field, and legal secretaries in the legal field. So there are many opportunities to develop your skills and move up the ladder as a secretary in the future.