The administrative profession is always changing, and if you want to stay relevant, you need to change with it. But for most of us, that’s easier said than done. There’s always another phone call to make, email to send, or office fire to put out. Who has the time for professional development when it’s hard enough just getting your regular duties done?
Many admins think professional development involves spending hours in a classroom, traveling to conferences and retreats, or staying up all night studying for a certification. While all those things can certainly boost your career, and keep you on the cutting edge of new developments, there is another option that’s both affordable and convenient: online training.
Online training is a great way to further your career without eating up huge chunks of precious time. It can be as simple as reading an article on your lunch break or catching a webinar or podcast on the commute home from work. And while it may not come with fancy certificates or immediate recognition for your efforts, it’s just as valuable to your career as more traditional training options.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favorite online training opportunities!
Reading is a quick, easy way to keep your thumb on the pulse of the industry, and learn about topics you’d like to explore further. Some of our go-to sites include:
- Executive Secretary Magazine – If you’ve been in the admin profession for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of Executive Secretary Magazine and their world-renowned Executive Secretary LIVE conferences. The magazine publishes six times a year and provides world-class training in every issue. A subscription also gets you unlimited access to hundreds of archived articles on the website, with topics like leadership, communication, career and personal development, technology, and more!
- OfficePro Magazine – Published seven times a year, OfficePro Magazine is free with your IAAP membership and is filled with content relevant to administrative professionals and the issues they face in the office. Not an IAAP member? You can still subscribe to the magazine, or purchase past issues as part of a bundle deal.
- Administrative Professional Today – This monthly newsletter subscription contains news, skills, and strategies you need to increase your productivity and advance your career. Article categories include office skills, office technology, people skills, meeting management, and more, along with monthly polls and Q&A columns.
Looking for more? Take a peek at the magazines, newsletters, and other publications that come across your desk for your executive. This will give you a better idea of industry-specific reading material.
Webinars and Online Courses
Whether you’re looking to improve your skills in a certain area or learn everything you can about your profession, these online webinars and courses have you covered! Some of our favorites include:
- All Things Admin – We have a wealth of training offerings for administrative professionals – both free and paid. Our Training on Demand library has more than 60 webinars on topics ranging from Microsoft Office skills to social media and career development. The monthly AdminPro Training Series offers a new admin-centric session each month. We also offer free five-day challenges and webinars throughout the year.
- Office Dynamics – Another major player in the admin training game, Office Dynamics offers both free and paid webinars, free training videos, and an online learning library full of sessions admins will find extremely useful in their careers.
- Eat Your Career – With training courses, career support, and other great tools to enhance your career, Eat Your Career has a career resource library exclusive to subscribers.
- American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) – ASAP provides both live and on-demand webinars for administrative professionals. The site is currently offering a year-end webinar pass which will give you access to unlimited webinars through December 31.
- International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) – Along with the free subscription (for members) to OfficePro Magazine mentioned earlier, IAAP members have access to an online learning portal providing fantastic tips, training, and resources.
- Executive Secretary Brain Waves – A joint project recently launched between Executive Secretary Magazine and All Things Admin, Brain Waves presents a monthly webinar by a published author, along with a workbook and a follow up “Ask the Author” #adminchat session on Twitter. Since the fee is per session rather than per participant, this is a great way to get your entire team in on the training.
- Business Management Daily Webinars – All Things Admin regularly promotes Business Management Daily webinars because they offer some of the best, most specific training in the industry. Their webinars cover a nearly every relevant topic imaginable – from software and technology training to interpersonal communication in the office – and they are presented by knowledgeable professionals.
Looking for more? Search the websites of professional associations you or your executive belong to for additional industry-related training.
If you find listening to training easier than watching it, then podcasts are a terrific option for continuing education. There are podcasts for assistants, productivity, dealing with difficult people, business best practices, and more! Some of our top selections include:
- Be the Ultimate Assistant Podcast: Hosted by international speakers and trainers, Bonnie Low-Kramen and Vickie Sokol Evans, this podcast tackles the burning issues for executive assistants, personal assistants, and their executives and teams in today’s complicated and demanding workplace.
- The Productivity Pro Podcast: Global productivity expert Laura Stack covers everything from individual and team productivity to overcoming procrastination, leading others, and more.
- On The Right Track Podcast: Rhonda Scharf brings insight, humor, and real life practical applications on how to thrive in the work environment to her podcast. She covers topics like effective leadership, accountability, invisible influence, and much more.
Looking for more? Search online for podcasts on the specific topic you’re looking for and take advantage of this awesome format for training on the go!
Yes, even social media has professional development options, and most of them are completely free – if you know how to leverage your platforms.
Tweet chats like Executive Secretary’s #adminchat are a fantastic way to connect with industry professionals as well as build up your own professional network.
Consider following your favorite sites, as well as the organizations and publications, listed above so you can access the resources they share. Join professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and participate in discussions on a wide variety of topics. On social media, the options for professional development are nearly endless!
Almost all the organizations mentioned have blogs with free articles each week. Bookmark their websites, and sign up for their emails and newsletters, which are generally packed full of even more training resources.
Just because you don’t have the time, energy, or resources to attend conferences or go back to school doesn’t mean you can’t prioritize your career development. Each small step you take now can add up to being a more well-rounded, skilled admin in the future!