Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Aidan Maher from Construction Industry Federation to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Aidan Maher

Site Manager - Grad Entry

Construction Industry Federation

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  Aidan Maher
Try gain experience in some area of construction if possible to see if it’s for you. If you’re interested in a 9-5 job this is not for you!

If you like meeting with new people each day and dealing with issues which they may have regarding the project this is a good job for you. If you like to take charge of situations then this is also a good role for you to take on.
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Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Occupation Details

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Secretary

Job Zone

Education
Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€20k > 40 
Secretary
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€20 - 40 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
Brightwater / Morgan McKinley / Sigmar

Last Updated: July, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Secretaries provide administrative support to managers and other professionals.


The Work header image

The secretary's main role is to help managers make more efficient use of their time and energy. Secretaries must use initiative and judgement to relieve their manager of unnecessary pressures or frequent interruptions. This sometimes means using their initiative to make decisions on a manager's behalf.  
 
They usually take charge of all incoming telephone calls, deal with routine enquiries, take messages and decide which calls need the immediate attention of the manager. Secretaries may be responsible for checking incoming mail, faxes and email, and deciding which correspondence the manager needs to look at or deal with personally.  
 
They organise and prioritise office correspondence on their manager's behalf, and keep an efficient diary to record all appointments.  
 
Managers normally dictate letters to their secretaries, who may use shorthand, or audio typing skills. Using their initiative, secretaries also prepare and word process draft replies to correspondence without supervision, showing these to their manager for approval and signature.  
 
Secretaries keep their manager's diary and may arrange meetings on their behalf. They also use writing skills to draw up an agenda prior to a meeting, take accurate minutes (often using shorthand) and write them up concisely afterwards. Before the meeting begins, they distribute the agenda and any other relevant papers to people who will be attending the meeting.  
 
Some secretaries make their manager's travel arrangements, reserving hotel rooms and planning the travel itinerary. Secretaries may also do this for international colleagues or clients who visit the organisation. Sometimes secretaries go with their manager on business trips or to attend conferences. 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Use computers for various applications, such as database management or word processing.

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Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.

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Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.

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Set up and manage paper or electronic filing systems, recording information, updating paperwork, or maintaining documents, such as attendance records, correspondence, or other material.

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Operate office equipment, such as fax machines, copiers, or phone systems and arrange for repairs when equipment malfunctions.

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Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.

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Maintain scheduling and event calendars.

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Complete forms in accordance with company procedures.

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Schedule and confirm appointments for clients, customers, or supervisors.

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Make copies of correspondence or other printed material.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Performing Administrative Activities:  Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Performing for or Working Directly with the Public:  Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Clerical:  Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Computers and Electronics:  Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

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Administration and Management:  Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Time Management:   Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Service Orientation:   Actively looking for ways to help people.

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Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Social Perceptiveness:   Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a secretary, you will need word processing skills, possibly shorthand and audio typing skills, and good English language ability.  
 
Strong organisation skills are essential - you must be able to plan and prioritise your workload, as well as that of your manager. Secretaries must be efficient and accurate, capable of paying close attention to detail and using a very methodical approach to their work.  
 
You should have a good telephone manner and a polite and helpful approach to visitors. Tact and discretion are required, especially when explaining to telephone callers or visitors that the manager cannot see or speak to them straight away. You also need to think quickly and stay calm under pressure.  
 
You must be able to use your initiative, for example, to draft a reply to correspondence, or decide which letters the manager needs to deal with personally.  
 
You should have a respect for confidentiality, because you may deal with personal, confidential or sensitive information.  
 
Secretaries need the ability to understand how their organisation works, for example, the function of different departments or the company's relationship with clients.  
 
A smart appearance, good hearing and clear speech are also desirable qualities in a secretary.


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Head's PA & School Secretary - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..School Secretary - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Secretary - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Secretary - from:  icould [UK] Video
Go..Typist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Clerical & Administration
Business Organisation & Business Management

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