Look around and you should find a part time role in most administrative careers, from secretary and PA through to data entry, typist or office manager.
Whichever job you choose to pursue in this industry, your main function is to provide administrative support to a manager, a team/department or the wider office.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Your job could include tasks such as:
- Welcoming guests
- Managing emails and correspondence
- Research for projects
- Managing diaries
- Booking travel
- Answering the phones
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The nitty gritty
If you are job sharing you might find you work the first two and a half days of the week and your job partner works the other half. If your job can be done part time, your employer will tell you which days of the week you are most needed.
Part-time could mean you work fewer than five days a week or it could mean you work a full week on short hours - maybe 10am to 3pm instead of 9am to 5.30pm to fit around the school run.
Most of the time you'll work a set pattern of hours and days each week, but there may be times when the office is really busy and you are asked to switch your days or work some overtime. Depending on your employer you may be able to claim overtime pay or get time in lieu when things calm down again.
Most jobs in the administrative and secretarial field are office based. Most jobs also require a good standard of dress as you'll often be meeting and greeting visitors so it's important to make a good first impression.
You've got opportunities to work up the career ladder into more senior positions. There may be a point when you decide to go full-time to increase your chances of getting the most senior roles in your field.
The skills you'll learn in a part-time administrative or secretarial role are highly transferable, and often you can switch into related careers, such as office management, IT, accounts or HR. There are part time jobs on offer in all of these industries too. It is worth bearing in mind that to make it to the top in these careers you'll need to take some professional exams.
Money, money, money
You'll usually see salaries advertised in one of three ways.
The job description will directly tell you the salary offered for the role.
It could tell you the full time salary and say that a part time position pays 'pro rata'. What this means is you'll be paid a percentage of the full time salary according to the actual time you work.
You could also land a role where you are paid on an hourly basis.
Your earning power will depend on lots of factors. Your job, your employer, your experience and the number of hours you actually work to name a few. Our specific job descriptions will give you an idea of the salary bands full time employees in your chosen career earn if you're looking for a better idea of what you could earn.
See what people are earning in this job
The good points...
If you're looking for a really flexible career, with plenty of options to work part time or to job share - a role in admin or secretarial is the perfect answer.
...and the bad
Your working week will really depend on your availability and your company's needs, so you may have to negotiate on the number of hours or days of the week you are needed.
Is there study involved?
Most levels of qualifications and experience will count if you want a part-time administrative or secretarial role. Some employers will prefer you to have GCSEs including maths and English but others will be more interested in your typing, keyboard, filing and telephone manner.
Getting some work experience is by far the best way of showing off your abilities and sprucing up your CV. Helpful but not essential, you could also think about taking a secretarial course or some administrative qualifications such as Pitman, OCR and NVQ courses.
A common way in is via an apprenticeship (see www.apprenticehips.org.uk for more information). Temping can often lead to a permanent position too.
When you start your part-time job, you will usually be trained by someone senior to you in the company's procedures and systems. If you are a job-sharer then your job partner will probably be the one to show you the ropes.
Further training is important and your employer may also give you the opportunity to work towards a secretarial qualification, either through work-based training or day-release at a local college.
There are lots of different courses out there for administrative and secretarial staff. We've listed the most popular ones for each job in the relevant job descriptions.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You'll need to be a people's person to work in a part time administrative job, as much of your time will be spent working with your manager or team. It also helps if you are super organised so you can balance your own workload with all those extra little requests that you'll get during the day.
Other skills that pop up regularly on administrative job specs include:
- Good at prioritising
- Good computer and keyboard skills
- Excellent communications skills (written and verbal)
- A good grasp of the English language (spelling and grammar)
- Keen attention to detail
- The ability to show initiative