Careers: How To Become A Sales Secretary

If you're looking for work in the clerical area, why not become a sales secretary while developing office and marketing skills?

It used to be that a secretary was a secretary. In fact, before 1900, most secretaries were men. But gradually female workers infiltrated this career area as more women entered the workforce, and now a majority of clerical workers are female. In addition, secretarial jobs have diversified into many different fields, including medical secretary, legal, secretary, and sales secretary.

Becoming a sales secretary is not difficult. First you need to learn basic office skills, which can start in high school office education classes or vocational training classes. The most important of these is typing. A well-paying and meaningful secretary position may require that you be able to type 75 or more words a minute with no more than three errors. Experienced secretaries often type more than 100 per minute, some with just one or two mistakes. It helps to know shorthand, though this is a dying art, because being able to jot down important unexpected information is a valuable skill. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation round out the basic skills set, although these can be aided with a useful grammar guide or handbook, so keep one handy at your desk.

The next level of professional development you should consider is learning something about sales. As a sales secretary you will work for one or more persons whose job is to sell products or services in one or more ways. For example, they may make telephone contacts to new or existing customers. Or they may create marketing materials, such as Web copy, brochures, or catalog materials that will be advertised to the community at large or to the client base. Find out about the company's products and become familiar with its benefits and drawbacks. This information will come in handy if you have direct contact with customers.

Then you will look for the right job and hopefully be hired. At first your boss may dictate letters or provide samples for your use in preparing new ones. But with time and training, you may be expected to help draft new materials, allowing you to exercise creativity and judgment, especially as you get to know the customers and develop insight about the product line. You may be asked to participate in sales meetings, develop marketing tools like brochures or newsletters, and perhaps even join the sales team someday as your expertise continues to grow.

Until it does, however, your primary role is to support your boss by providing clerical speed and accuracy to the documents you are asked to manage. You also will file copies of letters and reports, fill out and process forms like bids, quotes, and proposals, and keep a "tickler" calendar of your boss' schedule. In effect, you will become a member of the sales force by managing clerical tasks and keeping track of important information. Your job might entail a social aspect that brings you to dinner meetings, celebratory events, and gala receptions.

Becoming a sales secretary is a great way to sharpen your secretarial skills and develop new administrative or marketing qualities.

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