Jobs for Single Mothers: Administrative Assistant

Single parents and single mothers in particular have a lot on their plates. There are simply more demands on your resources than you are able to cope with. People may dismiss your problems and tell you to study further and get a job, but we all know that this is easier said than done as you need to be there for your children all the time.

The answer to the dilemma is to find a good job that can be done from home while your children are at school or sleeping. One such job is that of an administrative assistant.

What is it?

An administrative assistant is another word for an office secretary. Administrative assistants are very important because it is their job to keep things running smoothly in the office. In fact without them the entire office structure could fall to pieces, so it is far from being an unimportant job. The term ‘secretary’ is in fact no longer acceptable for this type of job. It is necessary for an administrative assistant to engage in a wide number of rather advanced duties and tasks, making the job very challenging indeed. In fact the role of an administrative assistant has evolved so much over time that it is in fact a whole new job now then it was a few years ago.

It is more than just answering the phone for your boss, and, in this day and age, it is perfectly practical for an administrative assistant to work from home via the internet, which means that this may just be the perfect job for a single mother to consider. Success in this job depends on your ability to be well organized, pay attention to detail, multitask and communicate effectively with those around you. If you have these skills this may be the job for you.

What does an administrative assistant do?

Some of the basics that are included in the administrative assistant job description are the following:

  • Function as information and communication managers for an office
  • Plan and schedule meetings and appointments
  • Organize and maintain paper and electronic files
  • Manage projects
  • Conduct research
  • Disseminate information by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e-mail
  • Handle travel and guest arrangements

However these points only touch on the surface of what an administrative assistant has to do on a daily basis. It may seem like a huge task load for a single parent to take on, but if you manage your time well and make good use of the hours when your children are out of the house or sleeping you will soon find that this is more than possible.

Administrative assistant duties include a number of things, such as event planning, creating proposals and other communication materials, financial reporting, Internet research, as well as data management.

Here are some tips to help single parents get administrative assistant jobs:
Keep your education up to scratch by taking office administration courses regularly. Another important thing for you to do is to keep your computer skills up to date as these are essential for a job as an administrative assistant. When writing your resume, make sure you make a big deal about your planning and organizational skills. Take an office technologies courser and learn how to do payroll service. Also remember to dress professionally and speak clearly at the interview.

How can I get my administrative assistant certification?

Although certification is generally not a requirement for most administrative assistant jobs, it is helpful to get administrative assistant certification in order to increase your chances of being employed in a good position.

There are three main types of certification you can get as an administrative assistant:

  • Administrative assistant certification covering the field as a whole
  • Administrative assistant certification focusing on virtual administrative assistants
  • Administrative assistant certification for field-specific certifications for administrative assistants specializing in medicine and law

Depending on the type of certification you are pursuing you will need to be certified by the following bodies:
administratice assistant duties

  • Certified Professional Secretary and Certified Administrative Professional certifications from the International Association of Administrative Professionals
  • Certified VA and Real Estate support certifications from the International Virtual Assistants Association
  • Basic and advanced certification for legal professionals from the National Association of Legal Secretaries
  • Medical administrative assistant certification from the National Healthcare Association

Now, obviously as a single parent looking for a way to make money on the side you will need to focus on becoming a virtual administrative assistant so that you can work from home in your own time. Certifications training will be done online as well, so don’t worry, you will be able to make it work.

What is an administrative assistant’s salary?

The administrative assistant industry is one of those industries that are growing at a great rate, meaning that you will have a good a stable job outlook and administrative assistant salary, both things that a single mother desperately needs in order to support her family. Let’s consider some of the administrative assistant salary facts.

As an administrative assistant you can expect to earn a salary of anything from $43,520 to $67,000 a year. There are a number of factors affecting your salary, but I think you can agree that even the lower end of the pay scale is still quite good.

The top paying industries seem to be the postal service, the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry, the security and commodities exchanges industry, and industries involved in other financial investment activities. The highest paying states are New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Connecticut, and the states with the highest levels of employed administrative assistants are California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Illinois, making New York the best state to work in as an administrative assistant. The amount of experience you have will also affect whether or not you are paid a high administrative assistant salary or not.

What education and administrative assistant training is required to become an administrative assistant?

In order to become and administrative assistant you will have to go through administrative assistant training at one of the many community colleges, technical schools or vocational institutes that offer these two year programs. This may make your heart sink as single parents generally do not have time to attend such institutions. Well you will be glad to hear that there are also a number of online training options that will fit right in with the average single parent’s schedule.

The actual responsibilities that you will have as an administrative assistant will vary according the particular job that you will hold, but there are basic course requirements that are likely to be included in just about every administrative assistant training course. The tasks that you will be taught may include keyboarding skills, the basics and essentials of computer operating systems, algebra, business mathematics, effective communication, English and business writing, beginning aspects of word processing and spreadsheets, advanced word processing, desktop publishing, database management, office procedures and business communication, transcription, proofreading, accounting principles, Web design and management. If you plan to become a medical, legal, or real estate administrative assistant you will of course have to engage in special training that will prepare you for those particular positions. You will also have to write an administrative assistant exam. As mentioned previously it is a good idea to reinforce your administrative assistant training with an administrative assistant certification so that you will sand a higher chance of getting administrative assistant jobs.

What is a virtual administrative assistant?

As this is the most relevant aspect of being an administrative assistant as far as single mothers are concerned we will take some time to discuss it in more detail here. In this day and age with our increases in technological knowledge it is becoming more and more common for companies to employ convenient and affordable virtual administrative assistant workers. There are in fact a number of online administrative assistant jobs available. A company may employ a virtual administrative assistant because it is convenient, time saving and increases productivity, all of which can be highly beneficial for the functioning of a company.

The skills that a virtual administrative assistant must have the following skills in order to be effective at his or her job:

  • Professional skills
  • Personal skills
  • People skills
  • Appropriate education
  • Professional office standards
  • Effective communication
  • Possess an executive presence
  • Demonstrate professional integrity
  • Demonstrate a good professional attitude
  • Demonstrate aptitude

The best place for single mothers to find online administrative assistant jobs or jobs as a virtual administrative assistant is of course the Internet. There are specific companies, such as Virtual Office Temps that specialize in helping you find the best virtual administrative assistant jobs available. There are also numerous online listings for jobs if you know where to look for them, so it is well worth your while to look into this career today.

Administrative assistant jobs from home

Of course because it is becoming more and more popular to employ virtual administrative assistants it is now possible to find convenient administrative assistant jobs from home. Having administrative assistant jobs from home comes with a great many advantages, such as your ability to work in your own space at your own pace. Here are some tips to help single mothers handle administrative assistant jobs from home:

  • Make sure that you have taken classes in things like how to use spreadsheets form you local college.
  • Set up your ‘office’ in your home. Luckily you can do practically everything you will need to do with the computer that you already have.
  • Make sure that you decide on a convenient work schedule and then stick to it carefully in order to get everything done.
  • Decide whether you will answer to one or two specific companies or if you will do a variety of contract work options.
  • There are many online websites offering virtual assignments. Become familiar with these as they are perfect for people doing administrative assistant jobs from home.
  • Make sure that you provide above excellent work for your clients so that they will use you again and recommend you to others.