What Are the Different Types of Trainee Secretary Jobs?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann
A secretary should have advanced skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.
A secretary should have advanced skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.

Trainee secretary jobs are available in nearly every type of business and organization, as well as with many local and national government agencies. Secretaries are required to be proficient at a variety of tasks, from creating reports and scheduling events to defusing volatile workplace situations. Many secretarial skills are honed and perfected over time through hands-on experience, so many trainee secretary jobs offer real-world experience for want-to-be secretaries.

Trainee secretaries may be responsible for scheduling meetings for their boss.
Trainee secretaries may be responsible for scheduling meetings for their boss.

Phone skills are critical for all personnel working for a company or organization, but especially for secretaries because of frequent contact with clients, customers and fellow staffers. Many trainee secretary jobs include switchboard duties, where the trainee will spend the majority of the work day answering phones, fielding questions and interacting with customers. As the trainee learns the phone system, the company's employees and products, he or she may gradually be given additional tasks to master. If successful, the trainee may gradually be weaned off the switchboard and placed in a more advanced position.

Trainee secretaries may be expected to use multiple forms of technology to complete their job.
Trainee secretaries may be expected to use multiple forms of technology to complete their job.

Receptionist duties, such as greeting customers, scheduling appointments and taking messages, are typical tasks given to a trainee secretary. These basic skills are critical to becoming a successful secretary. Typing is often a major part of secretarial jobs, and trainee secretary jobs are often laden with a variety of typing tasks. A trainee may join a company or firm and be one of many trainees in a pool of typists. Filing is another office task which often falls on trainees to perform.

Some trainee secretary jobs can quickly lead to promotion. These are typically trainee positions working under an established secretary who is preparing to leave the company or accept a promotion. As secretaries are a crucial component in the workforce, a promotion is often contingent upon successfully training a replacement. Trainee jobs working for an out-going secretary are often preferred, as the trainer can share the knowledge he or she has learned in order to master the duties and skills necessary to be successful in the role.

Many legal secretaries start out their careers in trainee secretary jobs. This allows the employer to closely monitor work flow and efficiency, as well as rate the trainee's potential. Hospitals, manufacturing companies and insurance agencies often offer trainee secretary jobs. Different departments within a company can also utilize trainee secretaries, including human resources, sales and accounting. Some secretary trainee positions are also offered within the music industry, at major universities and with nonprofit organizations.

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Discussion Comments

candyquilt

Some firms, like legal firms, actually even offer courses and technical training to their secretary trainees. They want to develop their trainee's skills while also getting them accustomed to the firm's culture. It's really great.

burcinc

@fify-- I don't think that all or most companies are preferring certified, experienced secretaries. Many still do accept trainees. As you said, there are great benefits in a business or company training its own secretaries. It actually applies to all employees. Not only does the trainee learn the procedures for that specific organization, but he or she is also familiar with employees and can fulfill the duties of a more advanced position more easily and successfully.

I was a trainee secretary. I was hired as a sort of office assistant to work with the office secretary. I learned the ropes from her. When she decided to switch to a different line of work, I took up her position and now I supervise another trainee. It's great to work at a place where I really know everything about the organization and I have prospect for moving into a better position.

fify

I think that a trainee secretary job is the best way to prepare and move in to a secretary position. I find this particularly true for jobs such as legal and medical secretary, where the experience and skills of the secretary have to be particular for that specific job.

Although there are certificate programs for secretaries that teach these things, I think that hands-on experience is still more beneficial. It's unfortunate that some companies and institutions are starting to prefer secretaries with certificates rather than trainee secretaries that they can literally mold and shape to adapt to that company.

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    • A secretary should have advanced skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.
      A secretary should have advanced skills in word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation software.
    • Trainee secretaries may be responsible for scheduling meetings for their boss.
      Trainee secretaries may be responsible for scheduling meetings for their boss.
    • Trainee secretaries may be expected to use multiple forms of technology to complete their job.
      Trainee secretaries may be expected to use multiple forms of technology to complete their job.