Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Dear Danielle: Is Training Necessary?

Dear Danielle:

I am  currently  writing my business plan. I have been working in the Administration field as an administrative assistant since I graduated from college in 2000. My question to you is: does one need to enroll in a specialed training to persue a career in this profession. –PV

Depends on what you mean by training. Are we talking about skills training or business education?

As far as skills, you don’t necessarily need training to go into the administrative support business. If you feel you have the background and the skill level that qualifies you to do this work, then go for it. You’re going to be acquiring new skills and improving upon others all the time and as you work with more and more clients.

Of course, skills training is never a bad idea. Anytime you can improve your skills or your business knowledge, that’s only going to increase your value to clients. And this is a competitive market. Clients won’t shell out their hard-earned money to folks who don’t have a masterful, professional level of administrative skill and know-how. If you have little or no skill level, you’re going to have a very difficult time in this business.

Now, I do want to point something out to your attention because it’s going to be critical to your success in this industry. Spelling, grammar punctuation… all of it is very, very important.

I notice in your question, you have what I presume is a typo (“specialed”), an incorrect capitalization (“Administration”) and a misspelling (“persue”).  I’m personally not concerned so much with a typo here and there. That happens to the best of us. We’re not perfect and we’re not robots. We can check and double-check our work and still miss one or two occasionally.

However, grammar, spelling, punctuation, proper capitalization… those things are critical because it indicates a level of literacy that is going to be important in everything you do as an administrative support provider and business owner.

Your work and skills are a reflection on you and your business as well as on your clients when you are working on their behalf. There is simply no room for a less than stellar command of the written word.

It’s important because: a) clients don’t want the work you do for them to have these kinds of errors, and b) everything you write and type is a reflection of your competence.

If you don’t demonstrate competence in all that you do, it’s going to cast you in an unprofessional/unskilled light and undermine your ability to establish trust and confidence in your would-be clients.

Clients will see these errors and assume that the work you do for them is going to be subject to typos, misspellings and incorrect usage.

So if written (and oral, for that matter) communication is where you lack proficiency, then I would definitely encourage you to do whatever you need to do to improve in that area.

What most people lack when they enter this profession is business knowledge.

A lot of it you will learn from trial and error in the School of Hard Knocks.

That’s okay. It will be a much longer, harder road, but you will learn some very important, valuable business skills and lessons from those kind of experiences.

You will learn some good things from your colleagues who have been in business longer.

At the same time, you will also learn some not so good things from people who don’t have any more knowledge or experience in business than you do, nor achieved any kind of track record of established business and financial success, but seem to think that their opinion or guesses somehow qualify as smart business advice.

So be smart about who you take advice from. Try not to be the blind person following other blind people. ;)