Admin Jobs: How to get a great job in administration

When you’re looking for work you’ll always see plenty of ads for admin jobs. A career in administration means you’ll always have plenty of opportunities – whether these are office jobs, school admin jobs or something more industry-specific.  But how do you get a good admin job and what skills and experience do you need? This article will give you the lowdown.

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What is an admin job?

Admin (or administration) describes a whole range of tasks that help a business or organisation to run smoothly. Working as an administrator usually means looking after daily activities and processes that help your colleagues in the company do their jobs.

The type of company or the team that employs you will affect the type of admin work involved. In a small company you might be required to look after a wide range of tasks, while in a larger company you might focus on a specific area such as finance, data, or human resources.

What does admin work involve?

Typical administration tasks include:

  • Booking meetings
  • Taking calls
  • Managing stock or buying supplies
  • Processing invoices or expenses
  • Managing relationships with some suppliers
  • Arranging maintenance for office equipment or jobs relating to your premises
  • Updating holiday, sickness and absence records
  • Inputting data on spreadsheets or other computer systems

The sorts of titles you’ll come across in admin jobs include admin assistant, office administrator, lead administrator, data administrator, secretary or receptionist.

What skills are needed for admin work?

There are a few essential skills in admin and the key to landing a good admin job is to demonstrate that you have these qualities. If you have limited work experience, you should highlight how you have used these skills in your studies and in your home life, as they are highly transferable outside the workplace.

Some of the key admin skills that employers will be looking for include:

1. Communication skills

Administrators often have to answer incoming calls, so they are the first point of contact between the business and its customers. You need to be able to present a positive image of the organisation and make sure the enquiry is dealt with effectively. You will also need good written communication skills, for example to respond to external emails or to draft letters and messages on behalf of someone else.

Successful admin job applicants will look presentable and express themselves clearly and in a friendly, yet professional manner. Employers will also watch for accurate spelling, grammar, and sentence structure, so always spell check your CV and any email correspondence.

2. Organisational skills

In many organisations, administrators are expected to keep everything in order, calmly and efficiently. You may be asked to create new systems to keep track of what’s happening and make sure nothing is missed.

With a wide range of responsibilities – and often last-minute requests from your colleagues – you need to be able organise your own workload effectively. It’s important to demonstrate that you can take the lead and make sense of chaos!

3. Self motivation and reliability

Doing a great job in admin means earning people’s trust quickly. It’s essential to be reliable, punctual, available and able to get on with a task with minimal direction.

Be certain to arrive on time for interviews and respond promptly to any calls or emails. At interview, give examples of how you have proven your reliability to peers or colleagues in the past.

4. Customer service skills

Not all admin roles are customer facing, but by considering everyone you work with as a customer – and delighting them on a daily basis – you’ll quickly build a successful career. In an interview, fInd ways to highlight your skills in helping others and going the extra mile.

5. Computer skills

Almost any administrator role will involve a lot of work with computing packages. You will be expected to know how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook as a minimum, plus perhaps online software types depending on the area where you’ll be working. Examples are bookkeeping systems like Sage, timekeeping apps or customer relationship management tools.

What’s the salary for an admin job?

An entry level admin job in the UK can start at around £13,000 a year, while the average salary is closer to £18,000 or £19,000 depending on where in the country you work. As you become more experienced you can command higher salaries, by progressing your career forward.

Career prospects in admin jobs

The great thing about admin jobs is that they give you a great starting point for all kinds of roles. Many admin assistants go on into professional sectors such as finance, HR or sales having learned the basics in their admin position.

You can also progress within admin itself to roles like Executive Assistant, Senior Administrator or Office Manager.

Are there any administration courses or qualifications I can take?

Qualifications aren’t essential but employers will be looking for some evidence of academic ability. If you need more computing experience there are many online courses you can study, which will strengthen your application. You can also study for a diploma in Business and Administration which could be a big help in getting your CV shortlisted for an interview.

If lack of admin experience is holding you back, look into temping as a way to build your confidence and expertise. Plus, many temporary contracts can also turn into permanent positions for the right person.

How do I prepare for an admin interview?

Preparing for an admin interview is the same as for any other. Dress smartly, make sure you arrive a little early and ensure you have prepared answers for some of the most common interview questions.

Take time to read through the job description and the skills the employer is looking for, and make sure you talk about how you match their requirements.

Do also have a list of questions ready to ask them, too. This can help make the interview feel more like a conversation, which often is more enjoyable for both interviewee and interviewer.

What if I need a flexible admin job?

If you need some flexibility in your work, the admin sector is a great place to be as one of the most flexible jobs in the UK. Around 15 percent of admin jobs are part-time, and many offer the opportunity to work remotely at least some of the time.

Flexible admin jobs are available in most parts of the UK, and It’s easy to narrow down your search for part-time positions on most job sites using the search filters.

How can I find a home based admin job?

There’s been real growth in home based admin jobs in recent years, as today’s technology makes it as easy for admins to work remotely as in an office. There are all kinds of home based admin jobs available, from data entry to diary management, customer service admin to office support.

Most job sites feature this kind of role, and there are some more suggestions for how to find homeworking jobs in this article. You’ll need to be able to work independently and be comfortable with having a less social relationship with your colleagues, but a home based admin job can be a great way to achieve a good work-life balance.

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