Creating Your Ideal Work Environment

Most professionals who work full-time office jobs spend the majority of their week sitting at a desk or in a cubicle. For this reason, it’s important to have an organized work space that encourages good habits and helps you maintain a positive attitude.

This can be even more important with the rise of remote and hybrid work. The ideal work environment can be difficult to achieve if your “home office” is a corner of your dining table. Regardless of where you work, creating a clean, organized work space benefits both your productivity and your mood. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for creating your ideal work environment.

woman working home office

1. Stay Organized

A disorganized mess on your desk can lead your thoughts to also be disorganized. Having an organized workspace can help you keep your mind organized.

2. Keep a pen and paper handy

You never know when you might have to jot down a few notes, so make sure you always have a pen and piece of paper readily available.

3. Leave a stack of your business cards out

Remind yourself why you are working so hard. Posting a picture of your dream vacation location or some other goal that you are working towards.

4. Leave a stack of your business cards out

This won’t apply to everyone, but if you work on-site this is always a good rule of thumb. You never know when the new boss might swing by your desk or when a client might come visit, so always have your business cards the ready.

5. Stay Inspired

There are lots of different ways to stay inspired at work. For some folks, achieving work goals can be inspiring. For others, it could be pictures of a favorite place, an inspirational quote or message that you keep in your work space to help you maintain your positive attitude. If you don’t always work in the same place, be sure to personalize your desktop background so you can stay inspired wherever you’re working that day.

6. Avoid distractions

While a stress ball is okay to have in your desk drawer, try to avoid having too many little toys or other distractions around. Even the smallest of distractions can end up sucking up too much of your time. Another distraction to be wary of is your cell phone, it’s all too easy to check a notification, and end up scrolling. To keep yourself organized within your work space, consider putting notifications on do not disturb so you won’t be tempted during your workday.

7. Surround yourself with familiar faces

Put up a few pictures of your friends, family, or pets. Smiling faces will be guaranteed to boost your mood during a long day in the office.

Organized desk with notepad and plant

8. Include some nature

Keeping flowers or a small plant on your desk can help to connect you with nature while you are cooped up in your office all day. Also there are studies showing that plants can help boost your mood by releasing oxygen and can absorb toxins in the air. What better way to achieve an ideal work environment than to actually feel happier at work!

We hope these tips help you set up your ideal work environment whether you’re in an office cubicle, a coworking space or your home office!

Tips for Balancing Job Searching While Employed

Not all job seekers are unemployed. In fact, a large number of the people are searching for a job while employed. These professionals are looking to make a change from their current positions. These job seekers have a whole separate list of tips for balancing their job searching while employed they should be aware of, so we’ve included a few below:

Job searching on computer

1. Don’t search for jobs while on the clock

This may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure you keep your current job separate from your job hunt. Your current employer is paying you to work for them, not to job hunt. Do all of your applying and job searching on your own time.

This doesn’t just apply to browsing job boards, but also be sure not to use your work phone, email or computer when corresponding with potential employers. Only use your personal contact information when applying for jobs or updating your resume. Within most companies, you are not the only person with access to your work email and call records.

If your employer discovers you’ve been searching for a job while employed and on the clock, it’s likely to be labeled as time theft which can result in a write up or even termination.

2. Be considerate of your current employer when scheduling interviews

If you get the opportunity to interview with a new company, whether in person or on the phone, try to schedule it so that you don’t need to take a whole day off from work.

Ideally, you should schedule interviews over your lunch break so that you don’t have to take any time off. If that is not a possibility, try to schedule them first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, so that you can either come in a little late or leave a little early without missing much work.

3. Give plenty of notice before quitting

If you do end up accepting a job offer, make sure to give your current employer plenty of notice. Two weeks notice is the generally acceptable amount of time, but every situation is different. Oftentimes you will help to train the person moving into your job. The more time you have to do this, the more seamless the transition will be. Your current employer will value your dedication, and your new employer will see that you are a loyal employee.

Find job keyboard

4. Utilize a staffing agency like Whitman Associates!

Lastly, using a staffing agency like Whitman Associates can take some pressure off your job searching. While employed full time, job searching can feel like another full time job. Work smarter, and have a staffing agency like us help you with your search. With a large client pool, staffing agencies see new jobs all the time. To get started with Whitman Associates, check our current job listings and email your resume to resumes@whitmanjobs.com.

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!

What a Marketing Coordinator Does (and How Can I Become One)?

Confused by all of the different marketing positions out there? You’re not alone! There are Marketing Managers, Marketing Specialists, Marketing Assistants, Marketing Analysts… the list goes on and on. So let’s take a closer look at one of the many marketing positions: The Marketing Coordinator. 

What are the job duties of a Marketing Coordinator?

Desk showing work on developing a marketing strategy

Typical tasks of a marketing coordinator include entry-level analytics and research related to sales, marketing, and development. The specifics of each position will vary depending on the specific needs of the employer, but the duties of a marketing coordinator typically include:

  • Conducting market research related to a business’s target market; 
  • Analyzing sales data;
  • Creating marketing materials;
  • Assisting with website SEO;
  • Creating marketing timelines;
  • Organizing marketing projects;
  • Managing digital and social media campaigns;
  • Investigating market trends;
  • Representing a business at trade shows;
  • Working with Social Media Influencers to promote a product.

What are the different types of Marketing Coordinators?

Marketing Coordinator roles will vary depending on the type of work that may be needed by a company. Here are a few of the more common positions:

Digital Marketing Coordinator

In addition to the duties of a generic Marketing Coordinator, a Digital Marketing Coordinator’s job description may include managing digital campaigns designed to drive web traffic to a business, handling social media accounts, or managing the content of blogs and websites for a business. Depending on the size of the organization, these tasks may be handled by one Marketing Coordinator, or by multiple specialized Marketing Coordinators. Businesses that have a strong online presence, especially with web stores would be likely to hire this type of Marketing Coordinator. Those who have excellent computer, social media, and internet skills, as well as strong writers, make excellent Digital Marketing Coordinators. 

Marketing and Promotions Coordinator

The duties of a Marketing Coordinator may also include being responsible for handling trade shows and events, building relationships with industry partners, and/or seeking out corporate sponsorships for an organization. Having an outgoing personality is a must for this role, as you will be dealing directly with the public and potential customers on a regular basis. Typically, larger companies or non-profit organizations are more likely to need this type of Marketing Coordinator. 

Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinator

The responsibilities of a Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinator may also fall within the  duties of a Marketing Coordinator. This means working with a salesforce on building and maintaining a strong client base. They may develop sales programs and informational packages for their sales teams, and they will work with other types of marketing coordinators to develop sales plans for specific products. Like Marketing and Promotions Coordinators, these roles require exceptional people skills, so more outgoing social types are frequently drawn to them. Businesses with large sales forces often benefit from having Products and Accounts Marketing Coordinators. 

What are the salary range and career prospects for a Marketing Coordinator?

A Marketing Coordinator entry level salary often varies with a person’s background. While Marketing Coordinator is often an entry-level position, employers typically require at least an associate’s degree, and often a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes, employers will accept industry experience in lieu of a formal education. Marketing Coordinators most often report to Marketing Managers, and with the right experience, these positions frequently lead to promotions to Marketing Managers. Driven Marketing Coordinators who are willing to stick with the same company can aspire to reach director-level and even executive roles with the right education and experience. However, the skills learned in any one position easily transition to other companies as well, so career mobility is excellent. 

Depending on the specific duties required, a Marketing Coordinator entry-level salaries typically start anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on education level and special skills. More experienced Marketing Coordinators earn around $85,000 per year. Those with outstanding skill sets can earn over $100,000 per year. 

How do I become a Marketing Coordinator?

The best route to a successful career as a Marketing Coordinator is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Programs that offer concentrations in social media marketing, business analytics, or consumer behavior may have particular value to a Marketing Coordinator career. Some larger businesses may require a master’s degree in Marketing, while smaller organizations may be willing to accept an associate’s degree and work experience in lieu of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Man working on marketing data on laptop

To really learn the various duties of a Marketing Coordinator, you should also try interning or working part-time in marketing, advertising, or graphic design while obtaining your degree. A temp position in marketing is a great option for students that will provide you with valuable experience and connections in the marketing world. Look for internships or temp jobs that will help you develop a wide skill set or train you in an area that you may be lacking such as graphic design, web development, or social media marketing. These positions can often be obtained through staffing agencies such as Whitman Associates, Inc, in the D.C. metropolitan area. 

Maintaining a professional and active social profile will demonstrate your social media prowess as you start to hunt for jobs. Just make sure that your social accounts are positive and present a professional image of you. In the current job market, many employers will view your resume online, which provides you with an opportunity to link your social profiles to your resume. 

Finally, make sure your resume is modern, clean, error-free, and highlights the in-demand skill sets you may have. Your resume should tell the story of you, and be interesting without using nondescript buzzwords. Tailoring your resume to fit a specific job is a quick way to stand out among applicants. Make sure you highlight areas where the job description and your expertise overlap. 

The varied duties of a Marketing Coordinator result in interesting jobs and exciting career paths. By following these guidelines, you can get in on the ground floor and begin a marketing career that will provide for you and satisfy you for years to come!

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.

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.

8 Tips For Making A Career Change

Wondering how to change careers with little or no experience in a new space? You’re not alone! It’s perfectly normal and quite routine to want to explore something new. Our outlook and life goals tend to change with time and so do our professional ambitions. Most people spend most of their waking hours, or a third of their lives, at work. After a long time in one job, you may find that it’s just not fulfilling anymore. 

The important thing when you feel this itch is to act on it and not bury it. Making a career change is an exciting life event and you should treat it as such. Keep a positive attitude and avoid getting bogged down by the work involved. The fact that you’re reading this blog is an excellent start! 

smiling woman making career change

Here are our top suggestions on how to change careers even with no experience outside your industry.

1. Identify Your Reasons for Wanting a Change

The process of making a successful career change begins with yourself. If you feel unsatisfied with your current job or a lingering irritation when you’re at work, dig a little deeper to understand what’s driving those feelings. Is it your team or the office environment? The pay? The work itself? 

The most common reasons people change their careers include gaining a better work-life balance, increasing salary or benefits, and challenging themselves professionally. Identifying the reason you’re unhappy will help you find a career that makes sense for you. You can then create a plan and work towards a definite goal, instead of spamming resumes at new job listings.   

2. Discover the Right Career for You

It’s possible that you might have identified your reasons for making a career change, but you don’t know which career to change to. This is a good thing! It means you’re taking time to consider your options instead of making a hasty decision. 

A good place to start is your skillset. Think about the similarities in your previous roles. Are there any skills or activities that stand out to you? A career in product development also makes you an excellent researcher and analyst. These are useful skills for a lateral shift into anything from consultancy to business intelligence.

Make sure you’re not just ideating within yourself. Talk to people and solicit opinions. You’d be surprised at how many have been through the same situation and can offer useful career advice. Speak to your boss too — if you have a relationship that allows that. They can highlight your strengths and weaknesses as they see them and give you new ideas for your move.

3. Upskill Yourself

Sometimes, you may lack the necessary hard skills for a particular job. This is often the case when making a career change in a technical space. For instance, you might have a background in operations and discover that you have a passion for coding. In this case, it’s a good idea to spend some time and money on a coding course.  

This is how you change careers with no experience in your new field. Recruiters will notice your commitment to your new career and consider it a positive in your application.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Opportunities in Your Company

Making a career change doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours scouring various job portals. Sometimes, the right opportunity can be available in your own company. We’ll let you in on a secret. Internal hiring is often the most favored way for recruiters and hiring managers to fill a vacancy. This is because the candidate is already familiar with the company, industry, and work culture. This cuts down on the time you have to spend adjusting to a new place and can let you hit the ground running.

It’s also a great way for you as a candidate to comfortably ease into a role you’re not familiar with. 

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Start Over

If you’re truly passionate about making a career change, then go all the way. Consider taking a pay cut or even starting at the bottom of the ladder if you need to. Doing this doesn’t mean that your career thus far has been wasted. On the contrary, your experience will shine through and let you rise quicker than your peers in the same role. Remember that the whole point of making a career change is to move on from a job that’s holding you back.  

6. Network Well

Your network is highly correlated to your net worth. Research has consistently shown that referred candidate hirings result in much better outcomes. Tap into your professional and personal networks to find people who can help you and maybe even refer you. If you don’t know anyone personally, be bold and put yourself out there. Seek out people in the industry or function you want to move into. Be upfront with them about the fact that you’re making a career change. You might not earn referrals with every connection, but at the very least, they’re likely to agree to be an advisor or sounding board in the future.

7. Find Someone to Show You the Ropes

Part of your objective with networking should be to find a mentor—someone you can rely on for practical guidance and in-depth advice. A good mentor is someone who has achieved a lot of success in the space you want to move into. Their experience can be a huge asset and help you plan effectively as you make your shift.

Also, consider volunteering and pro-bono work when making a career change. This is a great way to gain hands-on experience in a new area. It’ll also help you add something relevant to your CV and make useful connections.

8. Consider Starting a Business

Starting your own business is an excellent option for early, mid, and late-career professionals. It means you’re taking matters into your own hands and you don’t have to worry about how to change careers with no experience. You learn on the job.

As a freelancer, solopreneur, or entrepreneur, you don’t need to grind out a rigid recruitment process. You can let your skills speak for yourself with your prospective clients. A hidden advantage in making such a career change is that as a business leader, you tend to connect with other business leaders.

A career change can be a big boost for your professional and personal life. If you approach it right, it’s likely to be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. 

If you’re actively thinking about making a career change, consider registering yourself with Whitman Associates. We’re professional staffing experts based in the D.C. metropolitan area. Explore all our job openings, including our permanent and temporary jobs to find a good fit for your move. Browse through our employment tips and job-search advice for more information on how to change careers with little or no experience. 

Being Punctual

man checking watch

Being punctual is a critical quality for any professional to have. While this may seem obvious, a lot of professionals struggle with being on time in this busy modern world. Even unemployed job seekers need to be aware of timeframes and deadlines when interviewing for and applying to jobs. For now, we will focus on the importance of being punctual for a job interview and provide some rules to help make sure you are always on time in the future.

Rule #1: Don’t be late.

  • If you realize ahead of time that you are running late for an interview, call your interviewer immediately and let them know your situation. Be sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
  • In a tough job market, hiring managers have their pick when it comes to capable candidates. Even showing up five minutes late for a job interview could disqualify you for a position.
  • If a hiring manager can’t trust you to show up on time for an interview, they have no reason to trust that you will be on time for work or meet project deadlines.

Rule #2: Being too early is the same as being late.

  • Do not show up more than fifteen minutes early for a job interview unless you were otherwise instructed. Being punctual is better than being too early.
  • Showing up too early for an interview can make you appear desperate to hiring managers. Think of a job interview as a first date—you wouldn’t want your date to think you were overeager or desperate either.
  • The same as if you were late for an interview, a hiring manager will attribute you showing up a half hour early to your bad time management skills.

Rule #3: Know where you’re going ahead of time.

  • If you have time and are unfamiliar with the area, visit the company’s office prior to your interview so that you know exactly where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.
  • If you don’t have time to physically scope out your route, use the Internet to plan it in advance.
  • If you’re driving to your interview, make sure you know where you’re going to park. You don’t want to be late because it took twenty minutes to find a parking space.

Rule #4: Show up early, but don’t go in.

  • The best advice we can give you is to intentionally allow yourself extra time to get to your interview. Cautious planning will support you in being punctual even if you run into unforeseen trouble such as traffic or delays on public transportation. If you don’t hit any delays and end up outside of the office twenty minutes early, don’t go in! Find somewhere nearby you can kill time prior to your interview, such as a coffee shop or deli. Use the extra time to review your notes one last time.

Additional Guidance & Advice

At Whitman Associates, Inc., we’re rooting for you! Our goal is to help you find the perfect fit in your next job position. Being punctual is just one of many attributes that potential employers are looking for. For more insightful career advice, explore our blog for additional tips and guidance. Want some more personalized job hunting strategies? Reach out to us today!