Job Description:

Secretaries provide administrative support for all types of organisations.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

In your day-to-day tasks you could:

  • be the first point of contact for visitors, phone calls and emails
  • arrange meetings and take minutes
  • manage an individual or team diary and make travel arrangements
  • produce letters, reports, spreadsheets and invoices
  • update records on IT systems
  • photocopy, print and file documents
  • handle confidential information


You’ll need:

  • skills in IT and administration
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • administration skills
  • an excellent telephone manner and verbal communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative and solve problems (creative skills)
  • organisational and time management skills (the ability to organise your time and workload)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • excellent written communication skills
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Secretary, there are no specific requirements as it’s a role that typically focuses more on skills and experience rather than formal qualifications. Here are some subjects that may be useful for someone aspiring to be a Secretary:

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential for a Secretary, as you’ll be responsible for written and verbal communication in the workplace.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be important, especially if you’ll be handling financial data or working with budgets.
  3. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computers and various software applications is a common requirement for modern Secretarial roles.
  4. Business Studies: This subject can provide you with a foundation in business principles and practices, which are relevant to many Secretary positions.
  5. Foreign Languages: If you work in an international company or in a role that involves communicating with non-English speakers, a foreign language can be an advantage.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You may find it useful to take a course in administration or secretarial skills. Colleges offer full-time and part-time courses, including awards, certificates and diplomas. Useful subjects include:

Diplomas in Business Administration
Touch Typing, Audio Transcription or Shorthand
Certificate in IT User Skills
Management and Administration Qualifications

You could do a business administrator advanced apprenticeship.

This typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off-the-job study.

You could start as an administration assistant and work towards this role.

Employers may be more interested in your computer, telephone and office skills than your formal qualifications, however some basic school qualifications may be advantageous especially English.

Volunteering, for example with a charity, could help you to get some relevant experience. It’s a good way of developing IT and office skills that are valued by employers.

Direct Application
You could apply directly if you’ve got relevant skills and experience from working in an office.

You could also do a temping job to get into this kind of role. Temporary jobs can help you to build up your experience and could lead to permanent employment.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work in an office, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

You could also work part-time or get temporary work.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a personal assistant or supervise a team as an office manager.

With further qualifications you could move into specialist secretarial work like human resources, education, legal or medical secretarial work.