How to Become a Recruiter with No Experience

Thinking about becoming a recruiter but not sure if you’ve got what it takes? Recruiting can be a great field to enter. It has tons of transferable skills and lots of upside. Plus, many recruiters are paid bonuses for filling positions. All in all, it’s an excellent field to enter. But many people think it requires a specific educational background or work experience. Not true! Read on to learn three tips for becoming a recruiter with little to no career experience.

1. Make Sure You Have The Personality

Two business people shaking hands

One of the biggest factors in determining if you would be a good recruiter is your personality. While you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert, some key personality traits are must-haves if you want to become a recruiter with no experience:

  • An eye for matchmaking – Are you the type who always finds a match for your single friends? Do you just have the instinct for seeing when two people will be a good fit? Then you’ve got what it takes. Recruiters have to be able to assess personalities and skill sets and match them to positions they will be successful in. 
  • Social media chops – Any good recruiter must have a love for social media. In today’s world, social media networking is one of the biggest ways that recruiters find matches. So being tech-savvy, having a large following, and knowing how to use your contacts to bring in others is a must. 
  • Positivity – If you don’t have a positive attitude, even during the worst of times, it’s hard to convince anyone of anything. Since so much of a recruiter’s job is hyping up people and positions under any circumstance, a positive attitude is a must.

2. Make Sure You Have The Education

Education is a tricky one, because there is no degree in recruitment. So what field should you study? Essentially, you need any education. Recruiters frequently have bachelor’s degrees in HR or management, but this is absolutely not necessary. Do you have a degree in an engineering or science field? Recruit for a tech company. What about education? Look for a position at a university. Even a lawyer is qualified to be a recruiter. They could work for a law firm or governmental agency. If a field exists in which people need to be hired, then that field’s educational background would work well for recruiting. In short, if you want to become a recruiter with no experience, you probably need an education – but the sky’s the limit on what that education looks like. 

3. Make Sure You Have The Skills

Group of people networking while drinking coffee

If you want to become a recruiter with no experience, here are three big skills that every prospective recruiter must have:

  • Sales Skills – Sales is the number one skill you must have to recruit. Recruiting is selling a job to a candidate and a candidate to an employer. If you want to prepare yourself for recruiting, go get a sales job… any sales job. Work at a clothes store and practice making people feel good about what they try on. Work at an electronics store and learn how to match people to the products they need. Try selling cars or other big-ticket items. Whatever sales skills you can develop will go a long way to helping you excel at recruiting.
  • Networking Skills – Networking is not only how to become a recruiter with no experience, it is essential to the success of a recruiter. You have to meet people to connect people, and that means doing a LOT of social things, and doing them well. The good thing is that networking skills can be learned. So start practicing. Go to networking events both online and in person. Create and practice your elevator pitch. Volunteer for organizations that you’re passionate about. Whatever networking you do will make you a better fit for any type of job in recruiting. 
  • Project Management Skills – The recruitment process is essentially a big project. A need is found. A job description is created. The job is posted. The candidates are recruited. Interviews occur. A match is made. Each of these moving parts requires a keen eye for detail and project management to keep the process on track and on time. If you’re organized and good at managing lots of moving parts, recruiting may be the role for you.
  • Resume Writing Skills – Finally, building your own perfect resume is a great way to showcase your talents. Your resume should highlight your initiative, your ability to prioritize and multitask, and your communication skills. And as a recruiter, you can put those resume writing skills to use helping others with their resumes!

If recruiting sounds like the career of your dreams, don’t let a lack of experience stop you from going for it. Just get out there, pound the pavement, and apply, apply, apply. Temp agencies like Whitman Associates in the Washington DC area frequently post recruiting jobs. Temp jobs are typically easier to get and are great for resume and experience building. Check the job listings regularly and take a chance. With a little front-end effort, you can become a recruiter, even if you have no experience at all!

6 Remote Interview Tips To Nail Your Next Video Interview

You’ve got the interview of your dreams, but they are only conducting online interviews. In today’s job market, it makes perfect sense.  You could be interviewing for a remote position on the other side of the country, or your interview panel may be in various locations. Whatever the reason, video interviews are a common part of the interview process, so you need to be prepared. Thankfully, a video interview is really not that much different from an in-person interview. Here are six remote interview tips to make sure you show your best self online:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

You can never (and we do mean never) be over-prepared for an interview. You need to make sure your equipment is ready. Check your internet connection, lighting, video, and sound. Make sure you have a full battery on your phone or laptop. Be punctual when logging into a Zoom meeting. Practice talking via Zoom or another online meeting platform to make yourself more comfortable with the technology. Be prepared to email your interviewers a copy of your resume, cover letter, references, and sample of your work. Don’t assume they will all have these things sitting in front of them. Often overlooked in remote interview tips, is to keep other application and browser windows closed so that if you have to share your screen, you’re not sharing anything you don’t want your potential employer to know about. 

Staged area for an online interview with mic and computer

2. Be purposeful about what you show your interviewer.

You want to make a good impression. One remote interview tip to remember is that your video background and environment should reflect your professional qualities. Make sure it’s neutral and without distraction. Don’t use a picture of a tropical island or your dog fluffy (no matter how cute he is!). Whatever you do, don’t use a video background. That’s one of our best job video interview tips. Select a neutral, clean, and clutter-free space. Don’t have that at home? Consider a study room at your local library. Just make sure the lighting is good and that the area is free from distractions (this includes windows that may have bad lighting or distracting actions like cars driving by). Ensure your mobile’s notifications are silenced! Nothing is more annoying than the constant beeps signaling your latest  Tik Tok post is blowing up. 

3. Wear professional attire.

Sure, things are more casual now than they were pre-2020; but the fact of the matter is that your prospective employer has to see you as professional and trustworthy. These attributes are directly reflected in your attire. One of the most important remote interview tips is to always dress as you would for an in-person interview. While that doesn’t always mean wearing a full suit, it should mean that you’re dressed professionally and appropriately based on the job you are seeking. Our job interview tips wouldn’t be complete without saying that you shouldn’t assume you are only going to be seen from the chest up. It can be tempting to dress more casually from the waist down, but always assume that your entire outfit will be visible to your potential employer.

4. Engage the interviewer.

Interviewing via video can be tough, but this one is essential in our remote interview tips. It’s hard to come across as excited and interested when you’re sitting on your living room sofa, but it’s critical that you engage your interviewer and show real excitement for the position you’re interviewing for. To do this, don’t sit back with your arms crossed. Instead, sit forward on your chair with good posture. Smile, and demonstrate positive body language and behavior. Don’t cross your arms, and don’t be afraid to use your hand to gesture as you speak (just don’t overdo it!).

Woman smiling during an online interview with staged lights and neutral background

5. Make eye contact.

This one is tough but important in our remote interview tips: Look directly into the camera. When you’re not looking at the camera, you’re not making eye contact. That’s a big no-no in the interview world. Always remember to look directly into the camera when answering a question. This can take some practice, especially if you’re on a computer. So grab a close friend and set up a Zoom to get the feel of it. You can also try using a cell phone instead of a full computer. The phone’s small screen size will make it easier to come across as having good eye contact. 

6. Don’t forget that you’re an asset.

Finally, our remote interview tips would be incomplete without reminding you that you are an asset and that your potential employer would be lucky to have you. While you don’t want to come across as arrogant, you do want to remember that the interview process goes both ways. You should be interviewing your potential employer as much as they are interviewing you. Don’t sell yourself short. Come up with a list of your assets that make you the perfect fit for the job, and work them into the conversation as naturally as you can. And don’t forget to prepare questions to ask your interviewer as well. Potential employers appreciate someone who is taking the time to fully consider the position. 

By following these six easy tips, you can make your video interview a spectacular way to show off the positive qualities you will bring to the job!

For more tips and tricks from writing the perfect resume to nailing your interview, check out our blog.

Resume Writing Tips and Tricks

Your resume should evolve as frequently as your career does, so you should constantly be improving and editing it while on the job hunt. To help, here are some of our top resume writing tips to keep in mind when you next update your resume.

Resume Writing Tips

Contact Information

Our top resume writing tip may seem like a no-brainer, but ALWAYS include your contact information on your resume. An email address and phone number at minimum are a must on your resume. Feel free to include the address to your LinkedIn profile if you use LinkedIn regularly. You don’t need to include your full address on your resume, but it can be helpful to list your city so that hiring managers know you are in the area. By omitting contact information when building your resume, you are inadvertently making yourself inaccessible to employers and recruiters that you want to hear back from.

In the same vein, your phone number should be on your resume, so be sure that your voicemail is set up and that you can receive messages. While you may not leave voicemails yourself, hiring managers will. When employers receive the “mailbox not set up” or “mailbox is full” this signals to them that you don’t really care if you find work or not. Also, be sure to check any message that’s left before returning the call, they may have given you information or instructions in the voicemail, by not listening to it you’re making them repeat themselves, and indicating that perhaps you don’t follow instructions.

Formatting Tips

Another tip is to send a Word document or PDF version of your resume if possible. Employers will most likely not be able to open a resume if it’s sent as a Google Doc, and Google Docs makes it super easy to download your resume in multiple different file formats. Also, don’t send a jpeg or photo of your resume, you should have an electronic copy that you can email.

Gmail Dashboard

Additional tips are to keep your font consistent. Don’t use more than two fonts maximum, and keep their usage consistent throughout, ie. one font for headings and another for the body. More fonts than that can be distracting and perhaps unprofessional. Additionally, it is best to write out your resume, and not to send out an Indeed or LinkedIn style prefilled resume. These inevitably have formatting issues when they are transmitting or emailed outside of those platforms. Also, this tells your potential employer that you did not spend much time on your resume.

Our last resume formatting tip is not to worry if your resume is longer than one page. The “one-page resume” rule is antiquated, if you’ve held a number of jobs, a two page resume is perfectly fine. If your resume exceeds three pages, you likely have information on there that is not relevant to the role that you are applying for, and can actually end up hiding the skills and experiences you are trying to highlight.

Employment History and Education

When building your resume, organize the responsibilities within your job descriptions in order of importance and significance. If managing your company’s social media pages was your biggest responsibility, list that first. If you only spent about 5% of your time answering phones, list that last. You want to make sure that the employer can quickly understand the functions of your previous roles and the work you did there.

Along with each job title, be sure to list your months of employment along with the years. Employers want to be able to easily comprehend your work history and spot any employment gaps on your resume. If you don’t list the months, they might think you are trying to hide something, or assume a gap in your resume where there wasn’t one.

Another tip is to remember to include the company name, and location of that company, along with your job title on your resume. You might have worked for a chain, such as CVS or Starbucks, or alternatively, you could have worked for a small company in your hometown. The location provides important contextual information about your job.

With that said, it’s also critical to list the location of where you received your degree(s). Whenever you list a degree on your resume, be sure to include the name and location of the institution where you received that degree.

Send out your resume!

Of course, the whole point of sharing these resume tips and tricks is to ensure you are building a quality resume that will help you secure a job. At Whitman Associates, we see hundreds of resumes a week, and want to share our tips with you. We work with many job seekers, some looking for temp opportunities to get their foot in the door, and others that are looking for their next permanent role. To get started on the search for your next role, send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

4 Ways to Learn QuickBooks Online

Looking for a job in accounting? Then you’re probably going to need QuickBooks. Whether you’re already well-versed in accounting or you’re just starting out, it makes sense to know how to use the most popular bookkeeping software. The good news is that you can learn QuickBooks bookkeeping online—without needing a specialized degree.

Tax withholding form and a coffee cup

Why is QuickBooks Important?

Before jumping into the details of how to learn QuickBooks online, it’s important to recognize why it’s advantageous to do so. The numbers tell the story: QuickBooks has 30 years of experience at the top of the industry with millions of businesses relying on the software. When you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping, you’re plugging into a massive network of accountants, small businesses, and individuals. 

Demonstrating a good understanding of QuickBooks is likely both the easiest and the best way to establish yourself as a knowledgeable prospective or current accountant. On the other hand, if you’re trying to get work as an accountant, but don’t know how to use QuickBooks, your job-seeking experience may be a long road. Now that you understand why QuickBooks is important, let’s go over four principles for how to learn QuickBooks online.

#1: Do Your Own Accounting with QuickBooks

The fastest way to learn QuickBooks is to use it! Explore the different functionalities of this important online tool with your own accounting needs. You can use QuickBooks to organize, prepare, and file your own personal tax returns. Especially if you do some odd jobs or freelance work on the side, you can discover many of the intuitive and useful features of QuickBooks on your own.

QuickBooks offers a free trial online, so even if you don’t plan to use it long-term for your personal accounting, you can give yourself a quick crash course. Practice makes perfect, and it’s best to jump in as soon as possible.

#2: Use the Provided Help Resources

Another great way to learn QuickBooks is to use the resources available directly from the source. Intuit, the parent company for QuickBooks, provides a variety of help resources that are accessible for you as a prospective or active user of the software. Inuit recognizes that many people look for how to learn QuickBooks online, so they provide that service as information that is easy to find. 

All QuickBooks online plans include a network of dedicated support, with expert agents that can help. QuickBooks Online for accountants includes advisory training with self-paced lessons. You’ll find plenty of help in a huge library of resources and webinars.

#3: Follow Online Tutorials

Intuit’s bookkeeping resources are great, but you may also find it helpful to get outside support. There are a variety of free or low-cost online tutorials available covering everything from basic onboarding to advanced nuances of QuickBooks. You can find the right fit for you with some quick Internet searches. Check out options like Udemy, Simon Sez IT, Fit Small Business, and more. You may prefer a service that walks you through step by step or one that provides you with learning you can complete on an as-needed basis at your own pace.

There are plenty of online tutorials and guides covering how to learn QuickBooks that do have a higher cost attached, which you are welcome to pursue if you find that level of support necessary. However, with so many resources available that have no or only a small cost, make sure you really need the extra layer before committing to the higher price tag.

#4: Watch Example Videos 

Not everyone learns best by reading. Especially if you’re having trouble understanding a help article, you can search on YouTube to likely find an explainer. Hector Garcia and BookkeepingMaster are two of the most popular and well-recognized YouTube channel sources for this type of service.

Seeing people use QuickBooks in action is a valuable exercise for you to engage in as you learn QuickBooks bookkeeping. Watching the specific tactics used to get through a challenge will help you apply not just those strategies but also that type of thinking to your own bookkeeping practices. Soon, someone will ask you how to learn QuickBooks!

Man using a calculator

Get Started with Whitman Associates

Of course, the whole reason you learn QuickBooks is to land a job. You don’t have to have Quickbooks mastered to jumpstart your work in accounting or an accounting-related field. Find temp opportunities that will get your foot in the door. Send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com for the next step in your career journey.

Professional Networking on Social Media

Is Your Personal Account Really Separate from Your Professional Life?

It’s no secret that we live in the digital age. Well over half of the global population has a presence on social media, but many people believe that using social media professionally is totally separate from scrolling through your personal feed at home. For serious job seekers, though, social media for professional networking intersects with personal usage all the time.

A phone screen showing a few social media apps

Searchable Social Media Presence(s)

Even when you have your personal account set to private, certain pieces of data are still viewable. This includes your profile picture, how many posts you have, and how many accounts you follow. You—and potential employers—can tell a lot from a simple search.

In an article well before the pandemic, Forbes explained that “social media is a key player in the job search process today,” and “more than a third of all employers utilize these sites in their hiring process.” We can expect percentages to be much higher now, as employers and job seekers alike have grown more used to conducting business online and using social media professionally. The application of social media for professional networking is a common, even expected, facet of the workforce.

Employers commonly browse the social media of prospective employees, evaluating character and personality. This includes aspects such as whether the job seeker:

  • Maintains a standard of professionalism, including politeness and respect. For instance, a hiring manager may rule out a candidate if they see them make derogatory comments on Twitter. It’s best to always keep in mind that your social media is for professional networking, even when you think it’s a personal rant.
  • Seems like a good fit for the company culture. Companies often use social media as a tool for evaluating candidates’ behavior and preferences.
  • Has the qualifications appropriate for the position. Resume truth distortion is usually easy to spot through a quick social media search. Your presence on social media typically represents your actual employment and education history.
  • Demonstrates a genuine interest in and passion for their field. For example, a publishing company looking to hire a new marketing specialist will probably love seeing a candidate who has a clearly cultivated presence on Instagram where they review books.
A smiling woman seated at a table holding a notebook

Be The Best Version of Yourself

When considering your personal and professional social media, it’s most important to still be yourself online. When you try too hard to use social media professionally, perhaps liking every post from your dream employer, you may end up coming across as inauthentic.
Posting personal updates and pictures shows off your personality, but it’s best to consider a broad audience. The “Grandma Rule” is a good principle. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, don’t post it. Even if you have separate accounts, you probably have friends and family members following your professional account, or colleagues and classmates following your personal account. It’s best to assume that your coworkers will see your posts to err on the side of safety and professionalism.

The Connectivity of Social Media

It’s called social media for a reason. It’s fun to browse on TikTok or scroll through an Instagram feed, but even these platforms aren’t just or primarily for entertainment: social media is for professional networking. While LinkedIn is traditionally associated with networking, there are so many other ways to connect with peers, past employment sources, prospective colleagues and employers, and more. Connections across various social media presences often bridge the gap between personal and professional. Now, more than ever, we discover networking opportunities through our personal social media. 

Smart job seekers will maintain an active presence on social media, cultivating their participation to be both authentic and impressive. You can be the one to link others to prospective opportunities, like connecting a colleague with your own personal contacts, and see the same energy and benefit come back around to you. Through social media, you can make connections with people you would never otherwise know. There’s a potential opportunity for you to find your dream job through social media connections.

Use Social Media to Your Career Advantage

In conclusion, seeing your personal and professional social media presences as totally separate will not serve you well. Professional behavior matters everywhere. When you understand the intersection of personal and professional social media, you can use your presence on these platforms to your career advantage. Professional networking on social media is generally expected now, so don’t be afraid to try it.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, let Whitman Associates help you. We have contacts we would love to share with you. Simply email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to get started.

Temp of the Month June 2022: Sandy Moore

Prior to working for Whitman Associates, Inc., Sandy worked for SkillsUSA, a nonprofit for students in trade and technical education. While there she was the administrative assistant to the executive director for 18 years.

As the executive director’s assistant, Sandy maintained his busy travel schedule, managed and planned all of his scheduled meetings and coordinated every aspect of the company’s board and conference meetings with various departments within the company. The skills Sandy has learned working at SkillsUSA has prepared her for her current job with Whitman Associates, Inc. In her spare time, she enjoys walking her two dogs, small group bible studies and visiting family
in Louisiana.

Advice for Remote Interviews

If you are actively interviewing for jobs, part of the process is being prepared for remote interviews as well as in-person interviews. With online interviews being commonplace since 2020, there is no longer an excuse for not knowing how various web conferencing platforms work. It is your responsibility to be able to utilize the client’s chosen app for an online interview and have it functional ahead of time. The company you’re applying to most likely has a specific one they use for all their internal and external collaboration.

There are lots of different applications for online interviews; some major ones include Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, and Skype. You do not need to create an account for each of these apps as you will receive an invite provided by the company holding the interview.

Online interview app icons

Whitman Associates will assist any of our candidates with a trial run of the client’s application platform so that you may prepare the collaboration tools in advance. We want our candidates to focus on the interview when the time comes and not be frustrated by the tools. There are a myriad of video chat interview tips that exist online on preparing for phone and remote interviews, but here are some key points:

Choose the right environment for your remote interview

Your background on an online interview is important. Bright lights from windows behind you can cause video of your face to be dark. You certainly don’t want the background to showcase clutter, or personal spaces such as your bed or bathroom. It is best to sit in front of a blank wall or wall with minimal graphic distractions. You don’t need a fancy ring light, but you may need to turn on a light somewhere else in the room to insure your face is well lit.

The audio is critically important. Many people will tolerate bad video to a certain extent, but clipping audio and background noises make it impossible for you to convey important responses. You need to make sure the environment is free from background noises (mowers, air conditioners, bathroom showers, construction, etc.). Find a quiet room where the background noise is minimal. Having background noises will distract from your responses does not make a good impression.

Pick the best device for an online interview

Man and woman on video interview

The device you use for your online interview is very important. It is best to use a device with all the tools integrated such as a laptop, tablet, or phone. If you are using a desktop, you need to make sure all the external components work well together and within the application you are going to be using. A critical video chat interview tip to keep in mind is that your device may need to download a plugin or grant permissions to the application in order to interact with the microphone, video, and speakers.

The integrated microphone of a laptop, tablet, or phone may be sufficient; however, it is best to use a Bluetooth or wired headset. This will allow your voice to be clear, enable your hands to be free, and allow the camera to be placed at a distance from your face.

It is important to set the phone, tablet, or laptop down on a fixed surface such that it is not moving. It is incredibly distracting during remote interviews for the camera to be wobbling and not stationary while you’re trying to explain how you can contribute to the success of the organization.

If you need reference material (your resume, notes, or the company’s website), make sure this material is positioned directly above or below the camera. The client is interested in making eye contact and trying to get to know you as much as they can via video interview.

When taking notes, place your notepad directly below the camera so that the client can see that you are writing information down. It’s best to avoid typing your notes during your interview as the keyboard noise can be distracting and may lead the interviewer to think you’re doing something other than listening to their pitch – they are trying to convey how great their company is.

Be prepared!

There are many guides available describing how to prepare for an interview. A phone call, video chat, or remote interview is just as important as an in-person interview. In fact, it is more difficult to convey body language and capture voice inflections that might indicate your excitement for working with the company. Your goal is to make the next step or interview happen and to get that job offer.

4 Tips to Get an Entry-Level Legal Assistant Job

Thought about entering the legal field but don’t know how to begin? Whether you’ve studied for law school your whole life or your professional experience amounts to watching Legally Blonde a few times, you might be surprised at the opportunities available to you as a legal assistant. Washington, D.C. and other major metropolitan areas are ideal markets for entry-level legal assistant jobs. Being a legal assistant is different from being a paralegal, but you will still provide invaluable support to attorneys while gaining experience in the field. Here are our tips on how to land this great position.

A man dressed in a suit with a watch

What is an entry-level legal assistant?

Before explaining how to get an entry-level legal assistant job, let’s start with clarity on what it is—and what it isn’t. Although every law office or agency has its own regulations and expectations, there are some general guidelines when it comes to this type of position.

Legal assistants should be able to:

  • Organize files for the office
  • Compile facts for cases
  • Follow up on details relating to specific clients or interactions
  • Handle client or witness communication
  • Conduct research
  • File legal documents in court
  • Draft documents for litigation
  • Process, prepare, sort or proof legal documents
  • Maintain client files and information

Essentially, this position assists the lawyer. An entry-level legal assistant job will involve all varieties of legal work in a supporting capacity. They act primarily as case managers, although some legal assistants also function as legal secretaries. Although they work alongside lawyers, they do not have the same authority over the legal documents and presentations.

How is a legal assistant different from a paralegal?

Legal secretaries serve on the administrative side, performing duties such as greeting clients, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining the calendar. Legal assistants can also fill these secretarial roles while supporting the lawyer in other ways from investigating to writing. Paralegals perform more in-depth preparatory work and function more similarly to an attorney. For example, a legal secretary might type minutes, while a legal assistant might prepare the case brief and the paralegal could work to develop the ruling with the lawyer directly.

Before applying, you can explore more details about these different job categories so you can determine where specifically you feel best suited.

Tip #1: Demonstrate effective communication skills

If you want to get an entry-level legal assistant job, you need to show that you know how to communicate effectively. Whether you’re managing the lawyers’ schedules, compiling facts for cases or drafting documents for litigation, you must get your point across clearly and effectively. 

Many individual lawyers or larger legal institutions are more than happy to train entry-level workers on the minutiae of their processes and applicable laws, but they need the employees to come in already knowing how to express themselves in appropriate and precise language. 

You can demonstrate your effective communication skills in your resume and interview. Legal assistants are often the ones to handle communication with clients and witnesses, as well as to facilitate communication across the office, so it’s imperative that you show you could fill that role.

Tip #2: Highlight the experience you do have

Yes, we’re talking about an entry-level legal assistant job, but that doesn’t mean that you’re going in with nothing. Don’t worry if you don’t specifically have a legal background. You will have other experiences or traits that can make you a good fit for the position, so make those aspects of your application clear. Maybe demonstrate how you’ve already managed large schedules in the past or that in your schooling you served in an administrative capacity or leadership position for an extracurricular group. 

An office organizer with bright papers and highlighters

Tip #3: Express a willingness to learn

When it comes to entry-level legal assistant jobs, it’s important to recognize having the right attitude matters more than knowing the ins and outs of the law. Legal expertise is appreciated but unnecessary when you’re just starting out. Teachability, however, is required. 

In our experience in Washington, D.C., most entry-level legal assistant jobs require an eagerness to benefit from the law firm’s expertise. Present yourself as a competent communicator ready to learn how the lawyer wants things done rather than showing up as a legal expert already entrenched in a specific structure and process. 

Tip #4: Go through the experts

Once you’ve polished your resume and prepared for your interview by demonstrating effective communication skills, highlighting the experience you do have, and expressing a willingness to learn, it’s time to land that entry-level legal assistant job. You can go through the job search yourself and play the waiting game, but it’s easier, less stressful, and more effective to go through the experts. 
At Whitman Associates, Inc., we are celebrating 50 years of providing expert staffing in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area. Start by emailing your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com to see what doors can open for you.

What to Expect from Entry-Level Administrative Assistant Jobs

Are you looking for a versatile job position that provides opportunities for growth and training? Working as an administrative assistant can be a challenging yet rewarding pathway, and many companies are hiring now in this position. Here’s our guide about what to expect from entry-level administrative assistant jobs.

A male administrative assistant writing notes while working on the computer

What do administrative assistants do?

“Administrative assistant” is a fairly vague job title. This position often acts as a “catch-all” for a variety of internal and customer-facing tasks. Broadly, administrative assistants control the office efficiency. They are responsible for ensuring operations run smoothly. This can involve:

  • Answering and directing phone calls and emails
  • Organizing and scheduling meetings
  • Ordering office supplies
  • Assisting with special projects
  • Producing and distributing correspondence
  • Greeting customers or clients
  • Booking travel arrangements

The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is a perfect market for this role with so many private businesses, consulting firms and government contractors needing entry-level administrative assistants to ensure jobs are completed on time. While some of these descriptions sound more like a secretary or receptionist, there are some distinctions in those titles.

How is an entry level administrative assistant job different from a secretary or receptionist?

In general, receptionists serve as the first point of contact for an office, secretaries do clerical work and administrative assistants keep the office running smoothly. All of these job categories overlap and work together. In some offices, being an administrative assistant will look very similar to the role of a secretary or receptionist. Other times, often in larger companies, administrative assistants are more of efficiency specialists, like project managers, who oversee and ensure that overall work operations flow smoothly.

For example, rather than directly manning the phones, an administrative assistant may provide a receptionist with a flow chart of how to more effectively direct calls. Working an entry-level administrative assistant job could, in that context, also include serving as a go-between for the receptionist and the higher levels of leadership in the office. 

When applying for an administrative assistant job in Washington, D.C. or the surrounding area, it’s important to understand the industry, company structure and work culture. Depending on the company’s needs, the role may look different from one place to the next. Many companies look for candidates with a willingness to adapt and take on new responsibilities.

A desk with a computer, keyboard, phone and office supplies

Making your own system within the established structure

Administrative assistants work in a delicate balance. The position can be one of the most versatile in an office because there are so many administrative tasks that need to get done. Often managers will expect administrative assistants to bring their own ideas and systems to fit within the established structure.

For example, maybe the traditional protocol is that the administrative assistant will make calls to confirm the next day’s appointments. The administrative assistant may have the freedom to make notes in a client’s file or update calendar meetings in a manner that they find most efficient and helpful for the senior staff. Managers often appreciate assertive, independent assistants who can complete core tasks without asking too many questions.

Day-to-day management with a broad perspective

To be successful in an entry-level administrative assistant job, prospective candidates have to recognize that they will be responsible both for the fine details of the day-to-day office management and the larger picture of the company’s goals and objectives. A detail-oriented mindset and the ability to concisely summarize key takeaways are both important.

Administrative assistants often deal with putting out lots of little “fires” that pop up throughout the natural workday, but they need to maintain a broad perspective so urgent tasks don’t replace the important components of the role. Fast-paced markets like Washington, D.C. expect administrative assistants to keep up with action items and prioritize effectively, even in an entry-level job.

Serve as an assistant, not a manager

While administrative assistants do track and monitor efficiency, ultimately this is a supportive role rather than leadership. This means that administrative assistants work directly under some sort of higher management or leadership in the office. Administrative assistants will typically not have to make the tough calls themselves.

Administrative assistants have a specific hierarchical place in the company that may vary depending on the industry, company size and other factors. Regardless of the specific structure, administrative assistants typically work very closely with the leadership they work to assist. In this role, you could expect plenty of formal and informal meetings and check-ins with one or several leadership personnel at the office.

Get a specific snapshot of your possibilities

Each administrative assistant position looks a little different. If you have the related skills of multitasking, prioritizing, organizing, and making sure others stay on task, an administrative assistant job could be a great fit for you. Whitman Associates, Inc. helps place candidates in entry-level administrative assistant jobs in Washington, D.C.  and the surrounding area. We have more than 50 years of expert staffing experience. When you’re ready to start your new career path, send your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com. We’ll provide a specific snapshot of your possibilities as an administrative assistant.

WMATA Metro Commuter Tips

If you are one of the thousands who commutes via Washington D.C. public transportation, learn how to make your commute easier, safer, and all around more enjoyable by following the tips below:

dc metro station

1. Stand right, walk left

This rule of thumb applies to riding the escalators. If you are standing, stand to the right, this leaves the left side open for walking passengers to pass by you unobstructed.

2. Load your SmartTrip Card onto your phone

Don’t worry about keeping track of your WMATA metro card, just tap your phone for metro or bus fare!

3. If you’re using a physical SmartTrip, keep it handy

While you want to keep your SmartTrip card somewhere safe, you also want to have it easily accessible so that you don’t have to hunt through your entire purse or wallet to find it when exiting the metro.

4. Wear comfortable shoes

Commuting via Washington D.C. public transportation typically means that you will have to do a bit of walking to get to and from the station, so wear comfortable shoes and bring your work shoes in a separate bag if necessary.

5. Be considerate of priority seating

On both WMATA metro and buses there are seats reserved for the elderly, disabled, or pregnant. Be a conscientious commuter and be sure to free up those seats if someone needs them.

6. Hold onto your bags at all times

Holding onto your bags will not only protect you from theft, but it’s also considerate for other passengers to keep your bags off the floor and seats.

7. Report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags

WMATA Metro police request that passengers report any suspicious behavior or unattended bags they notice to a uniformed metro worker or police officer. This action will help keep you and other riders safe while on the metro.

8. Plan your trips ahead of time

If you are a daily commuter, you probably know what time your train arrives every morning, but it’s always a good idea to check for any delays or alerts before you leave the house to avoid any interruptions to your routine.