What is a secretary?

A secretary is responsible for facilitating communications within an office and fielding interactions with the public. They help to keep an organisation running smoothly, taking care of the administrative and organisational tasks that make the organisation function. They will be the point of reference for all queries, requests or issues and will be an integral part of the company’s workforce.

How to become a secretary?

You may find it useful to take a course in administration or secretarial skills. Colleges offer full-time and part-time courses, including awards, certificates and diplomas. Useful subjects include business administration, typing, audio transcription, and computer skills. 

You could start as an administration assistant and work towards this role.

Employers may be more interested in your computer, telephone and office skills than your formal qualifications, although you may be expected to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English.

Secretary duties

Secretary duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Acting as a receptionist and/or meeting and greeting clients
  • Manage the daily/weekly/monthly agenda and arrange new meetings and appointments
  • Prepare and disseminate correspondence, memos and forms
  • Manages department schedule by maintaining calendars for department personnel and arranging meetings, conferences, teleconferences, and travel
  • Completes requests by greeting customers, in person or on the telephone, and answering or referring inquiries
  • Provides historical reference by utilizing filing and retrieval systems
  • Maintains technical knowledge by attending educational workshops and reading secretarial publications

Secretary skills

To be an effective secretary, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Supply management
  • Scheduling
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Comfortable with routinely shifting demands
  • High degree of attention to detail
  • Discretion
  • Confidence with IT and computer packages

How to find a secretary job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the secretary jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for secretary jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Secretary Job Titles

When you search for secretary jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for nursery nurse jobs include;

  • Administrative Coordinators
  • Administrative Specialists
  • Administrative Services Manager
  • Administrator
  • Executive Assistant
  • Legal Secretary
  • Medical Secretary

What does a secretary do?

The job of a secretary varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of secretary job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a secretary include;

  • Be the first point of contact for visitors, phone calls and emails
  • Arrange meetings and take minutes
  • Manage an individual or team diary and make travel arrangements
  • Produce letters, reports, spreadsheets and invoices
  • Update records on IT systems
  • Photocopy, print and file documents
  • Handle confidential information