Advance Your Career as an Office Assistant

A Caucasian and African-American woman stand back-to-back.In today’s fast-paced society, many of us have become adept at juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities in our everyday lives. If you find it easy to multitask while maintaining attention to detail in your personal life, a career as an office or clerical assistant might be for you.
An office or clerical worker performs general, but important, tasks depending on the needs of their employer. Individuals working in this position often handle more than one duty at a time, including writing a letter, faxing the letter, filing documents, proofreading reports, sorting mail, answering incoming calls, and scanning a document to the right file or person.
Other responsibilities that may be assigned to you include taking messages, typing, maintaining inventories, making copies, ordering materials, supplies and services, delivering messages, completing work schedules, managing calendars, arranging appointments, answering questions, explaining information, taking orders, processing complaints and running errands.

Skills in the Office Worker’s Arsenal

As mentioned above, the ability to multitask is key! You must be able to organize your duties by their order of importance and be able finish the tasks by the deadline set by your supervisor. You should also know how to effectively communicate with your co-workers and the company’s clients, and work independently.
You must also have the skills to operate a variety of office equipment such as computers, fax machines, scanners, photocopy machines, voice mail and telephone systems. A clerical worker must understand how to use basic computer software such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Some high schools and community colleges have programs that can be an excellent first step to a career in office or clerical work. The Goodwill Community Foundation offers free online courses in Microsoft Office and a variety of other software programs and work skills at

Increase Your Employment Odds

Local Goodwill agencies help individuals across the U.S. and Canada build the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. Many agencies offer free computer skills courses that can help you get ready for a job as an office or clerical worker. To find out about programs near you:

Contact Your Local Goodwill