Top Advice for Aspiring Admins

Apr 25, 2019 | Career Development

advice for aspiring adminsEvery year, we ask our audience to complete a brief survey on the admin profession asking them to share why they are #AdminProud, and what advice they have for those considering the admin profession. 

At the beginning of the month, we highlighted some of the fantastic responses we got about being #AdminProud. And we were thrilled to hear all the ways people became admins – from those who always knew they were headed down this career path to those who fell into it by accident.

Now, we’re excited to share some of the amazing advice we collected on joining the admin profession. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’ve been in the profession for decades, these suggestions will likely resonate with you!

Carla Stallard, a senior administrative assistant from Ohio, advises against complacency.

“Be proactive – learn all you can about the company, your team(s), and how the team(s) affect the overall mission and values of the company. By doing this you will be in a better position to help those you support meet their performance goals, as well as see ways to affect continuous improvement. Along with this, also learn new applications and then teach others. Never become complacent in your role and support of others.”

Deb Gibb, an executive assistant from Meridian, Idaho, believes that aspiring admins need to be team players.

“Make yourself available for anything that your team needs and always be cheerful. You are the one that sets the tone for the entire team. Your impact on those you serve can leave a lasting impression, and you never know when you will need a favor returned.”

Ton from Charlotte, North Carolina believes that admins should make self-care a priority.

“There are two things I would mention. First, self-care is not an indulgence. It is critical. This is a profession where it is easy to become consumed by the needs of an office, team, or supervisor and “forget” to eat lunch or skip the gym. Over time, this will catch up with you. Second, the admin profession still conjures Mad Men-like images of secretaries … The role has evolved so much. Select a few specialty areas to learn about in depth, and share what you learned to help others.”

Janelle Elder, a facilities coordinator from Washington, D.C., warns that some aspects of the career aren’t always easy.

“Don’t take it personal. As an admin you have to know who you are and be confident in what you bring to the table. You will encounter someone who will unleash their emotions because they are having a challenging day or moment.  Don’t let their challenge define who you are and what you do. Don’t take it personal.”

As an executive assistant to the CEO, Julie from Birmingham, Alabama, knows a thing or two about getting on your executive’s good side.

“Think like your boss. If you were going into a meeting, what would you need? If they asked you that question, what information would you need to answer it? When setting appointments, be sure to give them “white space” or time to physically and mentally move from one meeting to the next. Give them more than what they ask for.”

For Karen Garrison, an administrative officer from Dover, Delaware, success can be found through continuing education.

“Invest in yourself and your career through continued education and life-long learning. Be open to new ideas, and “reshaping” the old ones. Stand out by being a professional, anticipating your executive’s needs, admitting to and learning from mistakes. Learn and keep learning, be the go-to person and help others.”

Kim DiCamilla, an executive assistant from Indianapolis, Indiana, says successful admins are ambitious.

“You’ve got to be a conscientious, detail-oriented go-getter if you want to succeed in this role. As you continue to grow in this profession, seek out opportunities for professional development and networking. It’s important to stay on top of your game and know others who are successful and can give advice or lend a hand when you need it.”

For Regina, an executive secretary from San Antonio, Texas, the key is loving what you do. 

“When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. You don’t wake up and say you have to go to work. You say, “I get go to work.” I can truly say I love what I do and because I feel that way, it is something I look forward to. You can tell I’m very passionate about what I do.

Kimberly Card, a senior executive secretary from Smithfield, Rhode Island, says being an admin can be overwhelming, but the rewards are worth it.

“Being an admin, you have many hats. You’re a secretary, travel agent, personal assistant, IT tech, Microsoft specialist, phone operator, receptionist, waitress, event coordinator, and sometimes even a mind reader. It can be overwhelming at times when working for multiple managers who are all giving you things to do, but if you learn to prioritize your tasks, keep up with technology and take a lot of deep breathes, you will love being an admin. After a long day, it is a great feeling to hear your manager say, ‘Thank you for your help today. I couldn’t have done it without you.’”

We appreciate everyone who took the time to respond to our survey and share their experiences with us and their fellow admins. With fantastic advice like this, we’re positive that those entering the field will be just as poised for success as their predecessors!

Are you ready to add your voice to the conversation! Take our #AdminProud survey and you may see your responses in future blog posts or on our social media pages!

© 2019 Julie Perrine International, LLC

Want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or website? You can — just as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at

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