May 31st, 2012
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5 Things That May Surprise You About Secretarial Careers
Every career manages to pack in a few surprises – things people never realised would be the case until they were established in that career. So if you are considering becoming a secretary, you will do well to read through these five things that might come as a surprise.
1: you often need to be bilingual
While being able to speak Afrikaans as well as English is not 100% a requirement to becoming a secretary, it will certainly help. Furthermore many companies do advertise for secretaries who are fluent in both languages, so it certainly won’t harm your chances.
2: you will almost certainly need Matric
Most employers will ask for Matric, which means you have gained qualifications on graduation from your high school. You will therefore be expected to have a National Senior Certificate at the very least in order to get into a junior position as a secretary.
3: you can gain a foothold in this career by starting in other office areas
Some secretaries start out by working on a switchboard or as a receptionist. Another way in is to start work as a general office helper. These jobs all have the ability to let you learn a range of skills in the office environment, some of which will come in useful when you do want to move into a secretarial position. Indeed some employers will look for secretaries who already have experience of working on a switchboard or in the reception area, so it can help in several ways.
4: you’ll do far more than just type and take notes
Many people have a pre-conceived notion of what a secretary does. But if you have pictured yourself sitting down dictating a letter from your boss, think again. You may do this but the job entails plenty of other tasks as well. Good computer skills will be required, and a good telephone manner too. You will act as a barrier between visitors, clients and your boss, so you must be tactful and polite and good with people as well. You must also be pleasant and helpful on a daily basis. There is no room to be frustrated or moody.
5: there are many different secretarial positions to choose from
The work of a medical secretary will be vastly different in many ways to that of a legal secretary. Indeed, two people who each have the title of secretary may get together and find they perform different tasks throughout the day. This is because different companies have different requirements depending on what field of business they are in.
Thus there is the ability to become a more general secretary, or a secretary who specialises in a particular field. If you work in a general secretarial role you will have the ability to move between different businesses. However if you are a legal secretary you will only work in the legal setting. The same applies with medical secretaries. Hopefully this information will enlighten you a little as to what to expect if you do decide to go down this career path.
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