Your role as office junior is to help ensure the smooth running of the office.
Office administrator is perhaps a better title as it allows for the fact that you'll need some specific skills and experience to get into the job and it doesn't matter what age or stage of career you're at.
So, what will I actually be doing?
There's not much your job won't cover and no two days will ever be the same.
You'll look after health and safety, supplies control (stationery, refreshments and supplies for the bathrooms), general office tidiness and the maintenance of office equipment (photocopiers, faxes, alarms etc).
You'll also be expected to:
- Help screen incoming calls
- Manage the post and email
- Greet visitors
- Book cabs and couriers and travel requirements
- Look after the filing
- Photocopying and binding
- Updating of contact lists
- Scheduling meeting rooms
- Providing refreshments
You might even be expected to take on some secretarial duties.
It's a good career in its own right and is an excellent way of getting that all important office experience that can help you move up the ladder into other administrative or secretarial careers.
You'll work closely with many people in the office, but especially with the secretarial and reception teams who you might have to provide sickness or lunch break cover for.
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The nitty gritty
It's a good career to get into if you're looking for work/life balance as your hours will usually be 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. At particularly busy times there might be some overtime.
It's an office based job. Don't expect to spend a lot of time at your desk though as there's lot to be seen to around the office.
As you'll be greeting visitors you should always look well presented to make a good first impression for your company, so leave your tatty jeans at home.
Your most natural progression path is to gradually take on more responsibility and work your way up to become a senior administrator or even office manager.
You'll also have the opportunity to get more involved on the secretarial side if you prefer that part of the job.
If you're tenacious and have your sights fixed on bigger and better things, the role of office administrator can be a good stepping stone. Provided you are prepared to work hard and take qualifications along the road, it is possible to move into a department like HR or finance and work your way up to a more senior level.
Money, money, money
If you're just starting out and have limited experience then you'll probably start on around £12,000.
With about 5 years experience you can earn in the region of £16,000 to £18,000 depending on your duties.
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The good points...
It's a good career to get into if you're looking for work/life balance with regular and convenient hours.
...and the bad
Since it’s a junior role, you won’t always have the most exciting of tasks to do, so prepare for lots of photocopying…
Is there study involved?
Given the nature of some of the work, most employers will expect that you are educated to at least GCSE standard, including maths and English.
Depending on the tasks in your job description and the level of support you'll be providing, some employers expect you to have either 2 good A-levels or a few years experience in office administration (with or without qualifications).
Any courses you have under your belt in secretarial or administrative subjects will look good on your CV.
Most of your training will be on the job. You'll be taught how to use the equipment and about office processes by more experienced colleagues.
If you work for a bigger company you may get the chance to work towards some vocational qualifications either on a part-time or full-time basis:
- NVQ levels 1 and 2 in Business and Administration
- Certificates/diplomas in office work from Pitman
- OCR (RSA)
- Education Development International LCCI
IT qualifications such as RSA Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAIT) Plus or the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) are also useful.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Having the word junior in the title implies that you'll be quite a novice in the world of work. Whilst it can be a good job to start in and work your way up, you'll need a good bank of skills to ensure you can successfully manage your responsibilities.
You'll need to be:
- Super organised
- Friendly and helpful
- Flexible and able to prioritise a changing to do list
- Detail oriented and accurate
- Trustworthy and reliable
- Articulate and a good communicator
- Good with English (verbally and written)
- Proficient in using a computer (especially Word, Excel and MS Office)
- Able to work in a team
Don't underestimate the value of being keen - employers often find it hard to find good people for administrative roles so enthusiasm can score you lots of brownie points.