Clerical Officer: Moving at the pace of change – administrative business support professionals and roles are in high-demand, dynamic and ever evolving - still a rewarding career choice.
Traditionally, we think immediately of secretarial, office, bookkeeping and accounting, as describing these roles best. However, these descriptions do not do these positions and functions justice. The ones entrusted with being the administrative representative, official, hands-on, resourceful, `detective’ and problem-solver, everyone-goes-to-for- solutions-individual, working painstakingly on either the front-lines and/or back-office, accounting, law, corporate, government, hospitals, and several other office environments. These contexts and realities all lend themselves well, to the realm and activity of the clerical officer.
The trusted business administration role of the Clerical Officer mainly refers to anadministrative support function, in various institutional, office environments and/or government related contexts, a variety of departments (Executive Administration, Accounting and Finance, HR and others, as well as across organizational levels, (also referred to as anadministrative and/or administrations officer). The role of a Clerical Officer includes, handling administrative, secretarial, transaction, clerical, and office-related duties and tasks.
Clerical Officers may be engaged in administrative tasks such as drafting letters, asking for, or giving of factual information, making and checking calculations, analyzing reports, preparing, scrutinizing and verifying documents, statistics, records and more. They may also be engaged in operating office equipment such as computer terminals, photocopiers, fax machines and other. Multi-skilled, pro-active and responsive, knowledgeable input, reliability and a keen problem-solving aptitude will serve you well in this role.
Still forming one of the largest segments of the office workforce, many companies, organizations and bodies, in changing, new and traditional, diverse fields and industries, are looking for career-minded, well-trained, and highly skilled administrative assistants and/or clerical officers, to perform daily, routine and/or project-focused and specialized administrative and transactional processes, tasks and duties. It is increasingly becoming a more business professional role with lots of scope, range, depth and diversity and appeals to a wide selection of potential applicants and jobseekers.
They are the veins, carrying the life-blood of many organizations and the real muscle behind effecting and executing business process – the invaluable resources without whom organizations would grind to a halt. An increasingly vital and skilled role in today’s (and tomorrow’s) office, the clerical roles have come of age and are more demanding than ever, as the pace of business seems to keep increasing too! There are numerous advanced skills administrative and clerical professionals need to stay competitive and excel in the market today.
Most administrative professionals want to remain in their field and advance into higher support positions or become office managers, receiving recognition for what they do, some even becoming members of the management team.
From seasonal, temporary, project/contract, virtual assistants, to experienced, postgraduate candidates, opportunities abound for both seasoned, experienced professionals and career-entrants. Focusing on your distinguishing, individual strengths, qualities and offerings, having samples and examples of your work, quality and excellence, demonstrating how you intend to contribute meaningfully, working both independently, with initiative and/or within a team/group-environment and highlighting how your skill-set will benefit your potential employer/organization best, will all serve you well.
Sites and job-boards like workopolis, monster and many of the others, have myriads of opportunities. Thorough screening, upfront testing of computer and administrative skills (typing tests, spelling and grammar-like testing, personality diagnostic and/or psychometric evaluations as well as verbal interviews, background and credit checks might all form part of the hiring process and is standard practice.
Individuals will find that these and other related, critical office function(s) are mostly promoted or filled, from inside organizations. Most companies place networking first, and prior to advertising, or using recruiting and temporary staffing agencies, headhunters, etc. There is also a need for temporary and/or contract employment in this category. Hours of attendance are mostly fixed, but can vary from time to time, in accordance with the requirements of the particular post and special projects or deadlines.
Competition in this field and line of work is fierce, as the bodies of candidates with the necessary skill-sets are vast and growing exponentially each year. The supply of qualified and experienced candidates, might even exceed the available openings. Formalized training in business administrations (diploma) and other courses (certificate), through associations for administrative support professionals, career education institutes (in-class and online, correspondence and distance courses), are offered and widely available.
According to the IAAP (see web-site reference below), there are numerous advantages; future trends and opportunities open to clerical workers:
- Telecommuting (by administrative assistants and managers)
- Home-based administrative services businesses
- Training for administrative support staff (on-site and through local colleges)
- Information management on the Internet (becoming a “Web Master”)
- Personal computer troubleshooter
- Creating customized software manuals for organizations, particular to department and/or industry needs
- Secretarial/clerical recruiter for temporary/permanent placement agencies
- Newsletter editor (compile and summarize information on particular areas of interest)
- Multimedia librarian/coordinator/information abstractor
- Video and/or Web conferencing coordinator (scheduling, site preparation, equipment procurement, host conferencing, on- site at business or off-site)
- Technology coordinator/facilities management (maintenance scheduling, tracking/backing up databases, installing new hardware/software
- Graphics/desktop publishing coordinator
- Support services consultant
If you possess, develop, enjoy and hone the skills necessary to meet the following criteria, this occupation might be suitable and appropriate for you: communicating with clarity and confidence, solving problems more effectively and increasing self-management skills – thus enhancing your value in the workplace as high performance team members, with innovative strategies and techniques. In addition, having a streamlined approach for achieving results, effectively managing time with changing priorities and developing office routines, and achieving optimum work outcome is crucial. Building better communication skills to facilitate cooperation, working well both independently and with others as part of a team, managing multiple priorities and more.
For more information regarding a career as an administrative business professional,
see http://www.iaap-hq.org/. The website also contains news about the industry, market conditions, career prospects, as well as numerous links to job-boards and other staffing specialists focusing on the clerical side of the recruitment spectrum.
There are always employment opportunities for people with executive support and administrative assistant skills. Professional designations, certification as an administrations professional, as well as college and distance courses are available to the committedbusiness administrative career professional and will give you a head start, while keeping up with the changing office technologies and systems is a clear priority if you wish to stay competitive in the market.
clerical associates, administrative assistant, executive administrative assistant, office coordinator, inventory clerk, logistics clerk, receptionist, data entry clerk, accounts clerk, clinical secretary/medical secretary
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