Secretaries provide administrative support for all types of organisations.
Salary Range: £14,000 to £25,000
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
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
- audio transcription
- computer skills
A common way to become a secretary is to do a business administrator advanced apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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.
Volunteering and experience
Volunteering, for example with a charity, could help you to get some relevant experience. It’s a good way of developing IT and office skills that are valued by employers.
You could apply directly if you’ve got relevant skills and experience from working in an office.
You could also do a temping job to get into this kind of role. Temporary jobs can help you to build up your experience and could lead to permanent employment.
You can find out more about becoming a secretary from The Institute of Administrative Management.
Skills and knowledge
- administration skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to work on your own
- sensitivity and understanding
- to be flexible and open to change
- excellent verbal communication skills
- customer service skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- being the first point of contact for visitors, phone calls and emails
- arranging meetings and taking minutes
- diary management and making travel arrangements
- producing letters, reports, spreadsheets and invoices
- updating records on IT systems
- photocopying, printing and filing
- handling confidential information
You could work in an office.
With experience, you could become a personal assistant or office manager.
You could also move into human resources work, or train as a legal or medical secretary.