May 31st, 2012
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Have You Got What it Takes to Become a Secretary?
Some people are under the misapprehension that good typing skills and a good phone voice are all that is required to become a secretary. Of course the reality is very different, and you need to have a certain number of skills in order to become a really good secretary with excellent employment opportunities.
If you think you have the following skills and abilities, you could indeed make an excellent secretary.
An excellent personal appearance
You must take great care in your personal appearance and always be carefully groomed and appear smart with freshly ironed clothes. While it is never a good idea to bring your personal life into work with you, this is particularly worth noting in this job role.
The ability to speak Afrikaans as well as English
This is often required of secretaries in South Africa. During the average day you are likely to speak with lots of different clients. While not every job will ask for bilingual candidates, many potential employers will, and if you can offer this ability you will be streets ahead of many other candidates.
The ability to be the professional smiling face of the company
If you are the secretary for a manager or even the boss of a company, it is fair to say most people will go through you to get in touch with them. Therefore you must always be courteous and pleasant, and greet everyone you meet with a smile.
You should be able to manage and deal with small issues on your own
A good secretary will be able to distinguish between problems they can deal with and problems that should be taken to the boss. Having the ability to make decisions and make the right ones on a daily basis is a good skill to have.
You should be good at typing, taking notes and spelling
These are particularly important since you will be required to rely on all of these skills. Most secretaries will be required to type a certain number of words per minute (WPM). The specific number you will be asked to do will depend on the company you apply to, so this can differ. Of course accuracy at 60WPM is far better than doing 80WPM and making all kinds of mistakes!
You should have a good understanding of computers too, especially where Microsoft Office and Word are concerned. The exact computer programs you will be using will depend on the individual employer; for example some will require you to have a good understanding of spreadsheets as well, but this doesn’t always hold true.
However you can see there is a range of diverse skills you will need to have if you want to become a good secretary. While some of these skills can (and undoubtedly will) be honed on the job, you should have some of them in place before you look for work. The more skills you have in the above areas, the easier it should be to find the ideal position.
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