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Administration, or 'admin' for short, is a term which covers many varied types of job with widely differing levels of responsibility, some of which are highly attractive graduate career options.

Administrators are employed across all sectors and in most organisations in some form, and job titles can vary in terms of specific responsibilities, e.g. secretary, administrative assistant, PA (personal assistant) receptionist and data entry clerk.

However, when people talk about administrative work they are usually referring to 'general office activities', such as drafting letters, emails and other documents; answering the telephone and dealing with enquiries; making appointments; managing records on spreadsheets and databases; filing and printing. This is not necessarily what an administrative role will involve, job descriptions may be very different for different roles.

Getting in

Many students seek administrative work as a part-time or summer job during their studies, and some graduates view these positions as useful 'filler jobs' for when they finish university before they get their first graduate-level job. However most administrative vacancies now demand evidence of previous experience. You may need to start at a low level (e.g. a short-term contract data inputting secured through a recruitment agency) before progressing.

Many graduate internships, including some of our Manchester Graduate Internship Programme internships, also include a strong administrative component, and this can also be a good way of getting some office experience on your CV.

Administrative experience can really boost your employability, particularly as many graduate entry-level roles include an element of administrative work. Employers will value your experience of using different Microsoft Office applications and dealing with colleagues and clients professionally by phone and email, and you will also be able to provide strong examples of the softer skills recruiters ask for, such as time management and organisation, communication and teamwork.

Graduate administrative positions

In addition to traditional administrative roles, there are other kinds of administrator jobs which are popular graduate career choices in their own right. These include:
  • Civil Service administrators - they are generally involved in conducting research, developing policy and writing reports, as well as general administration. See our National, regional and local government sector page for more information.
  • Arts administrators - they may undertake a variety of activities with an arts organisation, including project management, marketing, managing a budget, organising events and writing funding bids. A relevant arts degree is often required for these competitive roles. See our Arts Administration sector page for more information.

Further information