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Duties of a Secretary

The first thing you look for, when applying for the job of a secretary, is duties of a secretary. Well, so I guess you have found your destination. Look no further, you will find your questions answered here.
You know what is the worst part of an interview? When you are asked "So, what do you think you are expected to do here?" and you have no clue about what the duties and responsibilities of a secretary are. Right? Well, trust me, been there, done that. That is why, now, I have decided to list down these responsibilities for anyone out there who wants to avoid this confused state during interviews.

So, What are the Secretary Duties and Responsibilities?
Let's start off with the basic duties of a secretary. These duties come with the job and have to be dealt with, without fail.
  • Schedule meetings - This includes informing the respective members about the meeting and taking confirmations about the same. The secretary needs to prepare the memos for informing the required members as well.
  • Prepare agenda - A meeting without an agenda is a disaster. All secretaries need to know that. The agenda needs to be created by the secretary on the basis of the issues that need to be discussed. A smart secretary will also keep the nature of the attending members in mind while creating the timeline of the agenda.
  • Prepare minutes of the meeting - During the meeting, it is mandatory for the minutes of the meeting to be kept. These minutes are the official record of the happening of the meeting and are, mostly, maintained by the secretary.
  • Take care if correspondence, as directed - The secretary needs to make sure that required mail is sent out. Many organization send out daily greetings to key clients. This job is mostly done by the secretary.
  • Keep in touch with clients or key customers, as expected - The secretary has to be aware that customers and clients need to be pampered to a certain extent, for best results. As such, it is one of the duties of the secretary to keep in touch on a regular basis with key clients.
All of these are the secretary's responsibilities that everyone knows about. No surprises there. Obviously, ordering the donuts and making the calls are a part of the duties of a secretary too, but, I am sure I don't need to explain those secretary duties.

What are the Skills Required to Perform the Duties of a Secretary?
For all you who thought that being a secretary of a walk in the park, think harder. There are skill sets that a person needs to have to make a good secretary.
  • Typing - It is very important to be able to type, as a secretary does have to partake in document making and correspondence
  • Workplace Communication skills - A secretary has to perform excruciatingly large amounts of communication. Not that it's a bad thing. Nonetheless, a secretary needs to be above average when in comes to communication.
  • Self Grooming - More often than not, the secretary has to be the face in front of the task. As such, she absolutely cannot be an "Ugly Betty". A secretary should be able to look good (not sexy or provocative) at all times.
  • Computer Skills - Like any other profession today, computer skills are required in order to perform the duties of a secretary in an organization. Be it Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet or whatsoever. A secretary should know enough to help her upgrade herself easily when needed.
  • Diplomacy - Yes, this is very important. Diplomacy is extremely vital for a secretary. A secretary is often stuck in a sticky opinion based situation, this is where the diplomacy will help out.
These skills will help a secretary in performing a task with greater ease. Let's not forget, learning is always possible, but upgrading is much easier.

Other that the duties of a secretary and the skills that they need, a secretary should be well aware of her surroundings. Getting pulled into the corporate rut and being taken for granted are problems that most secretaries face. If you have seen "The Devil Wears Prada" or "The Proposal", you know what I mean. Stand your ground and guard your priorities fiercely. Other than that, sincerity and ethics are the best ways to perform well at the duties of a secretary. This is where I sign off! All the best!
By Rashida Khilawala
Last Updated: 9/23/2011
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