Administrative work requires knowledge of various office systems, including filing, phone, computer and software systems. There is typically an entry level path into administrative work in most organizations that will start you off as an assistant with no specific experience required. If you want to qualify for a mid-level position or a higher rate of pay, you can obtain administration work experience by taking special training, volunteering, pursuing an internship or participating in special programs for which you qualify.
Typically, you gain work experience by applying for entry level jobs that do not require experience and working your way up. Administrative work involves basic office tasks, so you may become an administrative assistant, for example, sometimes without any specific experience. The most direct way to gain administration work experience is to simply apply for any entry level administrative job that does not require prior experience. These sorts of positions are not hard to find, but they will likely offer a low rate of pay.
If you want to gain administration work experience before you conduct your permanent job search, you can do so in a variety of ways. Perhaps, the easiest way is to do some volunteer work. Many volunteer organizations need help with administrative work and are not overly particular about using willing people. For example, if you belong to a church or a synagogue, you can volunteer in the office to gain valuable experience.
Another way to gain administration work experience if you are in school is to participate in internship or workstudy programs. These types of opportunities are often extended as a requirement and do not require prior experience. Both types of positions can fill out your resume if you select activities that reinforce skills you are likely to need for a job in administration.
Perhaps, the most systematic and targeted way to gain administration work experience is to avail yourself of the numerous training and certification programs for administrative workers. Proprietary schools, community colleges, equipment sellers and software developers offer various types of trainings and certification programs for a fee. For example, you can take a typing test to certify the number of words you type a minute. You can also become certified in the use of common office software programs.
Training or certification is a substitute for on-the-job experience in most instances. Many employers prefer formal training and certification to generic work experience in an environment that may not have done a thorough job teaching you the ropes. If you have the money to enter a formal program or if you can supplement traditional experience with formal training, you will likely have an advantage over other applicants when you apply for a job in administration.