Branching Out From Your Administrative Position

Administrative positions can be confining, in terms of use of skills and opportunities. They tend to channel people's skills into specific tasks and modes, often for long periods of time, reducing the levels of current experience in other marketable skills.

Many people in administration try to stay out of this "typecasting" scenario, which can be deadly in terms of job hunting. The administration job market is moving to much higher yield jobs, with one person doing the job of ten old style jobs. This is an often tricky employment area, and you need to stay ahead to be competitive.

When to branch out

If you look at job ads in your line of work, and see that just about everything in your job isn't even mentioned, you know you've got a problem.

The symptoms of an administrative job which is turning into a trap are:

  • Repetitive, paperbound procedural work: This form of employment is heading for a museum, if not already in one. Very few employers use these systems or procedures any more.
  • Old style databases, heavy on manual work: Dino-databases from the 1990s are definitely on the way out. Data entry is downsizing and adding capacity from outsourced recruiters.
  • Bureaucratic styles of work: These are now seen in all industries across the employment market as costly, ineffective methodologies, being replaced as fast as possible with streamlined automatic services.
  • Customer service administration reshuffles: This is one of the few areas of admin which is picking up volumes in terms of employment, but it's also raising the demand for higher skill levels.

How to branch out

As the workplace reinvents itself, people are reinventing themselves to match it. They move with the times, steering themselves into the new growth areas. These are often very good career moves, getting in on the ground floor of new employment modes with new skills, which allow them to develop with the new systems and workplaces.

"Branching out" can mean several things:

  • Creating new opportunities for yourself with your existing skill set and qualifications. This also enhances your job marketability.
  • Acquiring new skills and qualifications, changing career course in the process.
  • Taking on new projects to broaden your current experience base.

For those really stuck, starting from scratch, leaving behind the old job type and moving into new modes is usually the best option. There are several ways of doing this through training:

Qualifications:
This is starting a new line of work from basic qualification levels. This allows you to be well trained, and make informed career moves. You may also benefit from having current qualifications in the job market.

Training on emerging systems and new skill sets:
This is an almost infallible method of joining the mainstream trends in the job market. The normal pattern of employment is that those who are proficient on the emerging modes progress rapidly as those modes take hold in the workplace.

Retraining on current major systems:
A common problem for those trying to branch out is that they lack even basic exposure to the new modes and systems. It's easy to get training in existing broad spectrum business systems. These platforms, like MYOB and others, are the baseline portable skill sets for the employment market. They evolve over time, allowing for some continuity, and ensuring your retraining has direct workplace values.