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The Foolproof Plan for Setting and Achieving Your Administrative Assistant Goals

By November 16, 2018 January 3rd, 2022

Administrative Assistant Goals

You know you want to move up in your career. Don’t we all? Figuring out exactly what administrative assistant goals you should set to get from where you are now (point A) to where you want to be (point B) is often the tricky part.

Sure, coming up with a solid list of goals can be harder than it seems. But the effort you spend pinpointing your administrative assistant goals and recording them in a development plan will likely pay off in the long run. Research suggests people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.

To help you create a personalized map to achieve your own dreams of upward mobility, we created a primer on planning to achieve your administrative assistant goals.

Use the information below to create the goal-driven professional self-assessments and development plans you need to help your administrative assistant career flourish. Professional growth plans help set you on the path to success, and they also make it easy to concisely explain your goals. Plus, speaking eloquently about your goals will help you gain approval from company leadership to pursue the training, education, and other resources you need.

How to create a (usable) professional development plan to achieve your administrative assistant goals  

Goal planning

The road to achieving your administrative assistant goals starts with a solid professional development plan. According to Duke University Human Resources, a professional development plan “documents the goals, required skill and competency development, and objectives a staff member will need to accomplish in order to support continuous improvement and career development.”

You can create a short-term professional development plan for a specific project or event, or a long-term plan that helps you visualize the steps you should take to meet one master goal.

Anyone can establish a sound professional development plan in just a few easy steps: 

1. Assess yourself.

  • What have you accomplished?
  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • What resources do you have to leverage?
  • What skills do you have to work with?
  • What skills do you still need to build?
  • What kind of feedback do you get at work? (Pull from both formal and informal sources of feedback.)

In the self-assessment stage of your professional development planning, you can also consider doing a complete S.W.O.T. (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. This will help you determine if your goals make sense.

  • Strengths: What do you feel the most comfortable doing? What do associates frequently cite as your best skills?
  • Weaknesses: What do you feel the least comfortable doing? What kinds of projects and assignments do you have to do over and over again?
  • Opportunities: Evaluate your strengths against what you know is going on at your company. In what areas could your greatest skills benefit the company?
  • Threats: Consider all the events and interactions that could block your chances of success.

2. Identify final goals for your plan.

  • Reconsider what you said you wanted to accomplish during step one. Which items do you have both the skills and resources to accomplish?
  • Add layers of specificity to goals so you can visualize precisely what you want to achieve. (This also helps you figure out exactly how to achieve your goals.)
  • Add performance indicators to your goals. What criteria do you have to meet to consider your goal fulfilled?

3. Brainstorm how to meet your administrative assistant goals.

  • Do any of your goals actually include a layer of incremental goals? Be sure to include those “stepping-stone goals” in your plan.
  • What should you do to get from what you have accomplished to what you want to accomplish?
  • What skills do you need for each step?
  • Do you already possess skills for each step, or will you need to develop new skills?
  • What’s your timeline for achieving your goals? (Even if you don’t have a pressing deadline, establishing a timeline will help make sure your goals don’t fade.

Professional development plan template

Professional development template

Everyone’s professional development plan will look a bit different. If you need help figuring out where to start your own plan, simply copy and paste this template and fill in the blanks. Add and subtract action items as needed, and repeat for as many goals as you want to accomplish.

Goal: What is your specific goal?

Complete When: How will you know that you successfully achieved your goal?

Deadline: When do you need or want to accomplish the goal?

Action item 1: What do you need to do to reach your goal?

  • Current skills: Which of your developed skills will you use to complete this action item?
  • Needed skills: What skills do you need to build to complete this action item?
  • Current resources: What resources can you allocate to completing this action item?   
  • Needed resources: What resources do you need to get to complete this action item?

Action item 2:

  • Current skills:
  • Needed skills:
  • Current resources:
  • Needed resources:

Action item 3:

  • Current skills:
  • Needed skills:
  • Current resources:
  • Needed resources:

Examples of administrative assistant professional development plans

Get inspiration in setting your own administrative assistant goals with these examples from admins in many different stages of their careers.

Example 1: Experienced Administrative Assistant hoping to earn a promotion

Event planner

Goal: Get promoted to office Event Planner.

Complete When: You receive a formal job offer

Deadline: January 30, when the annual summit and the holiday party are both complete

Action item 1: Document your planning process in real time to demonstrate your event-planning proficiency.

  • Current skills: Project coordination
  • Needed skills: Negotiation skills to save the company money by negotiating the best prices  
  • Current resources: Project management software for storing and managing processes, communication, and documentation
  • Needed resources: N/A

Action item 2: Collect feedback from event partners and attendees to use to strengthen your promotion appeal.

  • Current skills: Friendly in-person demeanor
  • Needed skills: Improved email communication; many people have complained that I’m abrupt in email communications
  • Current resources: N/A
  • Needed resources: A trusted email reviewer and editor

Action item 3: Give an outstanding introduction presentation at the annual summit

  • Current skills: Information architecture and presentation design
  • Needed skills: Public speaking
  • Current resources: Company Toastmasters meetings where you can practice speaking in front of a live audience
  • Needed resources: N/A

Example 2: New Administrative Assistant who just started work

Business technology

Goal: Demonstrate initiative and deliver value to the company by recommending and adopting time-saving technology tools for administrative assistants

Complete When: You’ve gotten the boss’s approval to start using at least three new tools

Deadline: Your annual review in March

Action item 1: Select which administrative assistant processes and workflows you want to improve and vet the top ten technology tools in each category.

  • Current skills: Organization skills that will make the vetting process easy to document
  • Needed skills: Deeper technology skills and knowledge
  • Current resources: N/A
  • Needed resources: N/A

Action item 2: Create a presentation that summarizes your recommendations

  • Current skills: Core presentation design skills form CustomShow 101 course you took at a recent conference
  • Needed skills: Enhanced ability to summarize and make key points and takeaways clear
  • Current resources: An existing technology budget that includes a small “allowance” for testing new services
  • Needed resources: A few dedicated work hours to spend really digging into the tools

Action item 3: Create a detail cost-saving analysis that demonstrates the potential benefits of adopting your recommended technologies

  • Current skills: Chart and diagram design skills that will help you create engaging visualizations
  • Needed skills: Deeper skills on the core elements of a thorough cost-benefit analysis
  • Current resources: An existing cost-benefit analysis the Human Resource department created to demonstrate the appeal of a new recruiting tool
  • Needed resources: N/A

Example 3: Mid-Career Administrative Assistant

File management

Goal: Digitize your office’s file management system.

Complete When: You have a system in place that everyone can understand and use.

Deadline: One year and three months from today; this is a multi-step project, so you want to give yourself plenty of time.

Action item 1: Research, vet, and select a digital file management tool.

  • Current skills: Organization and deep office file knowledge from a file cleanup you led a few years ago.
  • Needed skills: Advanced information architecture skills you can leverage to design the best-possible system.
  • Current resources: Access to a free cloud platform that could function as a digital file management system if you put in a little more work during setup.  
  • Needed resources: An out-of-the-box technology solution that is designed specifically for file management.

Action item 2: Complete converting physical files to digital files and add them all to the new system.

  • Current skills: Organization and project management skills to keep the file conversion running on track.
  • Needed skills: Understanding the best-practices of file naming conventions to make a searchable system.
  • Current resources: Project-management software you can use to manage this long-term project.
  • Needed resources: A team of trusted employees to help with the time-consuming work of converting files

Action item 3: Develop an in-depth training program to help employees use the new system.

  • Current skills: Experience developing training for an office communication tool your team launched a few years ago.
  • Needed skills: Instructional design basics to make the training sessions and training materials more effective in helping employees understand your new file management system.
  • Current resources: An in-house educational specialist your company hired for a new continuing education program.
  • Needed resources: A videographer to help make a few training videos employees can watch again and again.


What techniques have you found helpful in achieving your own goals? We’d love to hear what works you!


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