What Does an Administrative Officer Do?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Administrative officers work in support roles to ensure a company's completion of ad hoc duties. Employers need these professionals to independently handle paperwork and nonessential items while they focus on strategic decisions to move their organisation in a forward direction. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of an administrative officer helps you make an informed choice when contemplating this career path. In this article we discuss, what an administrative role is, the qualities that make them good employees, their average salary, how to become one and the important office administrator skills.

What is the role of an administrative officer?

Administrative officers are supportive professionals that assist their co-workers in various administrative and clerical tasks. Unlike many specialists in the workplace, administrative workers are qualified to work in distinct departments, too. Their day-to-day duties include organising company records, monitoring department budgets and maintaining an inventory of company resources. They may also work outside the office, such as running errands on behalf of their co-workers. In short, administrative officers are key team players that ensure businesses complete tedious, yet necessary admin tasks.

Here are the key duties recruiters may expect you to perform as an administrative officer:

  • Managing all incoming inquiries at the office reception, including attending to guests, answering telephone calls and replying to emails

  • Forwarding all correspondence, such as packages and letters, to relevant colleagues

  • Preparing expense reports and department budget sheets

  • Maintaining an inventory of office supplies

  • Ordering extra office supplies as the inventory depletes

  • Creating and adhering to a systematic filing system to keep company records in order

  • Scheduling meetings and booking conference rooms

  • Hiring maintenance staff to repair damaged office equipment

  • Assisting departments with any additional ad hoc tasks

Related: Show Hiring Managers That You're Ready to Work

What are the qualities of a good administrative officer?

When hiring for a good administrative officer, recruiters will look for candidates that can multi-task and collaborate with others seamlessly. Although administrative officers can be senior professionals in the workplace, they still need to take directions from others in order to sustain daily business operations.

Here's a list of attributes and qualities that good administrative officers possess:

  • A minimum of a high school graduate diploma

  • Preferably a bachelor's degree in business administration

  • Proven experience working in an administrative role

  • Proficiency in word processing software

  • Comfortable working with data entry tools

  • Working knowledge of business management

  • Efficient organisational skills

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Outstanding customer service skills

Average salary for an administrative officer

In Hong Kong, the average salary of an administrative officer depends on your work experience, academic background, skills and industry. As you gain more experience in these areas, you will find yourself feeling more confident about commanding a higher rate. Recruiters value candidates that have proven organisational and teamwork skills. Thus, they are more likely to offer top talent a better salary and benefits package.

The average salary for administrative officers in Hong Kong is $294,758 per year. Industries that deal with a lot of paperwork, such as accounting, or those that have a customer-centric approach, tend to hire more administrative officers. To fulfil this demand, employers are more inclined to hire and pay candidates that show a demonstrated interest and expertise in the field.

How to become an administrative officer

It's quite common to find administrative officers in the corporate world because it's a relatively simple career path to enter. Although the job doesn't require you to study for a formal qualification, it's best to develop your skills to increase your employability.

Here's a step-by-step guide detailing how you can become an administrative officer:

1. Read job descriptions

Since there aren't any specific university qualifications you can earn to become an administrative officer, search for the role on job boards to understand what skills and qualifications most recruiters are looking for. Compare job descriptions to decipher keywords that employers often repeat in their advertisements. Compile a list of important academic credentials that they find attractive.

This is an excellent technique to follow before committing yourself to a career path because it allows you to consider whether the role would interest you. The job market is very volatile, therefore, job requirements keep changing. Thus, doing some research in advance will enhance your relevance as a job candidate.

2. Take courses to boost your technical skills

The common technical skills most recruiters want administrative officers, include typing skills and knowledge of bookkeeping and data entry. You can improve your proficiency in these hard skills with the help of a short course in accounting or in another relevant field. Taking part in a workshop from an accredited institution can also make your job application stand out. Not only does it verify the skills you claim on a resume, but it also shows your commitment to your personal development.

3. Earn a university qualification

The most common university course for administrative officers is a bachelor's degree in business administration. The degree usually lasts from three to four years and allows you to branch out into other key areas of business, such as accounting and finance. Earning a university qualification is the most advisable option as it gives you more choices in your career. For example, you might start as an administrative officer upon graduation, but you can also switch to business development as your progress along the corporate ladder.

4. Secure an internship

Many organisations offer internships that essentially require you to perform the role of an administrative officer. Employers prefer this style of work for young interns because it encourages them to work with several departments. This is a great opportunity to increase your exposure to corporate culture, while also building the work experience section of your resume. An internship is a great path to discover what you are passionate about and what personal characteristics you need to improve.

Related: The Best Times to Apply for an Internship (Plus Tips From a University Career Coach)

5. Start in a receptionist position

If you're not having luck finding an administrative officer role, try to start as a receptionist. The position helps you attain many transferrable skills. If you're uncomfortable about talking to strangers, in particular, challenging yourself as a receptionist can help you overcome your fears. Hone in your communication skills and work towards a promotion. The experience will stand out on your resume.

6. Network for a job

Since administrative officers can work in distinct industries, it's important to discover one that you're passionate about. Examine your hobbies and interests to get a better mental picture of your likes and dislikes. Once you have narrowed down your options to a few industries, expand your network in them. Building your professional ties will increase your trustworthiness among employers and may also lead you to secure your ideal role.

Administrative officer skills

Administrative officers need to hone their soft skills to carry out their distinct duties. Evidence of this on your resume also increases your employability. The following outlines the key soft skills you need to employ in this role:

Attention to detail

When performing duties, such as bookkeeping and data entry, attention to detail helps you spot errors and correct them before they become larger issues. When hiring for this role, employers expect you to work independently, therefore, you need to earn their trust. Being organised increases your efficiency. It shows that you can handle greater responsibilities.

Multi-tasking skills

As an administrative officer, you need to work with distinct departments, meaning that people entrust you to perform tasks of a different nature. You need to employ multi-tasking skills to manage several ongoing projects at a time. It requires you to manage your emotions to minimise stress so that you can make decisions with a sound mind. Multi-tasking is a skill that improves with practice, but you can help yourself with a few organisational techniques, such as keeping a task diary.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV

Communication skills

Administrative officers need to humble themselves in order to accept direction from their co-workers. Thus, they need excellent communication skills to perform efficiently in this support role. Remember to listen attentively to instructions and not interrupt while others talk. As you respond, consider your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Your goal is to appear respectful in your interactions with others. This way, you invite others to share their feedback and rely on you to carry out important tasks.

Teamwork skills

Recruiters want job candidates who can collaborate with their co-workers in harmony because it's a proven characteristic that maintains productivity. As an administrative officer, teamwork skills are especially important. A good team dynamic helps you maintain your working relationships and empowers team members to work towards a shared goal.