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OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1241 Occupation: Secretaries (Except Legal & Medical)
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Secretaries perform a variety of administrative duties in support of managerial and professional employers. They are employed throughout the private and public sectors. Secretaries perform a variety of administrative duties in support of managerial and professional employers. They are employed throughout the private and public sectors.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read handwritten notes on note pads and entry forms, in the margins of documents and on whiteboards. For example, corporate secretaries read notes from supervisors outlining meeting requirements and job task priorities. Secretaries employed by correctional services read notes outlining special requests on uniform and supply order forms. Secretaries in university settings read editors' notes in the margins of research articles. (1)
  • Read instructions on labels. For example, school secretaries read instructions on medicine labels to locate dosages, precautions and time intervals between treatments. (1)
  • Skim regular and electronic mail and fax messages to determine whether these materials should be copied to others in the organization, posted to bulletin boards, filed or deleted. (2)
  • Skim letters and memos to determine the content and subsequent actions required. For example, church secretaries respond to requests for facility bookings. Secretaries in property management companies read requests for leasehold improvements and forward to property managers. (2)
  • Scan job applicants' résumés to ensure that all the stated application criteria are addressed. (2)
  • Read equipment and procedure manuals. For example, read fax manuals to determine how to program features such as date and time and troubleshoot equipment malfunctions. Review computer manuals to determine how to perform specific software functions such as exporting data. Review purchasing manuals to determine the proper procedures for ordering products not held in stock. (3)
  • Proofread outgoing letters and reports for clarity and for proper punctuation, grammar and sentence structure. Depending on the work context, proofread materials such as auditors' reports, university course outlines, church and school newsletters and marketing pamphlets. (3)
  • Read policy manuals, reports and contractual agreements for specific details. For example, departmental secretaries in post-secondary institutions locate administrative procedures in college and university handbooks. Property management secretaries review clauses outlining leasers' and lessees' obligations with new tenants. (3)
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Writing
  • Write reminder notes and make daybook entries. For example, note tasks to be completed and people to be contacted within a designated time period and items to include on the next office supply order. (1)
  • Write message summaries on telephone message forms. (1)
  • Write short comments and explanations in entry forms. For example, record the details of accidents in accident and incident reporting forms. (2)
  • Write short memos and email messages on a variety of topics. Depending on the work context, propose meeting times, request maintenance services, notify co-workers of changes to room assignments, outline work procedures and specify deadlines for supply orders. (2)
  • Write articles for publication in newsletters. For example school and church secretaries may introduce new board policies, provide updates on fundraising activities and promote upcoming events. (3)
  • Record minutes of staff, board and committee meetings. You may circulate draft copies of minutes for correction prior to submitting minutes for final approval and publication. (3)
  • Draft letters for a variety of purposes. For example, secretaries in property management companies write letters to respond to tenants" complaints and renovation requests. Secretaries in post-secondary institutions draft letters justifying their departments" reasons for accepting special case students. (3)
  • Edit and correct others' writing. For example, secretaries in electrical and mechanical contracting firms edit project proposals and final reports. They correct spelling and grammar, rewrite text to emphasize specific points and improve the clarity and flow of the text. (3)
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Document Use
  • Scan signs and labels for a variety of data. For example, locate specific details in address, shipping and file labels, staff and visitor identification badges, directional signage and labels on office equipment. (1)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, find account codes, telephone numbers, addresses, postal codes, names and dates in expense code listings, telephone directories, postal code tables and work schedules. Scan catalogues to locate product codes, item costs and available models when ordering supplies. Some secretaries may scan invoices to verify descriptions, quantities, model numbers and other data and bank statements to verify deposits and withdrawals. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms. For example, enter names, addresses and product descriptions on requisition forms and waybills. Complete purchase order, inventory and expense forms. Some secretaries may complete petty cash vouchers and bank deposit slips. (2)
  • Scan forms to ensure they have been completed properly. Depending on the work context, verify the completeness of student applications, security clearances, rental unit agreements, university course change forms and parental permission slips for school trips. Confirm the presence of required information such as health card numbers, emergency contacts, course numbers, employee names, clearance levels and references to supporting documents. (2)
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Computer Use
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. Enter data such as employee hours and invoice details. Generate monthly reports and other financial summaries. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, use search engines to locate information such as travel and per diem guidelines, out-of-print books and speeches from the throne. Access suppliers" websites to complete on-line order and request forms and to download equipment manuals. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, prepare PowerPoint presentations for supervisors using slide design and layout templates. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, access the organizations' databases, enter and revise data and search for specific details. Assign identification numbers to new projects, revise client contact and account details and track inventories. School, university and college secretaries access student information management systems to enter student marks, update contact and custodial information, determine staff and student assignments and track graduate school applications. Corporate secretaries may search collections of résumés, leases and accounts receivable reports to access documents associated with specific projects or matching specified criteria. (3)
  • Use spreadsheet software. Create spreadsheets and modify spreadsheet templates to track attendance, product sales, inventories and budgets. For example, property management secretaries prepare tables showing current tenants, unit numbers and sizes, start and end lease dates, and prices per square foot of rental space. (3)
  • Use communications software. For example, exchange email and attachments using distribution lists. For example, graduate school secretaries email application forms, fee schedules and grant information to prospective graduate students. They may enter appointments and events into their own and co-workers' appointment calendars. (3)
  • Use word processing software. Enter and edit text, format paragraphs, lay out pages and create finished documents. Enter specific details into form letters and fax cover sheet templates. Create and update lists and tables, merge data to create form letters and mailing labels. Use office integration features to embed and link pictures, graphs and spreadsheets when producing newsletters, reports and promotional flyers. You may assist co-workers with these tasks. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Greet telephone callers, respond to their requests and take messages. Listen to recorded messages and forward those messages on to others in the organization. (1)
  • Greet visitors, identify the purposes of their visits and respond appropriately. For example, police services' secretaries may schedule appointments, accept job applications and provide information about neighbourhood watches. (1)
  • Interact with supervisor(s) on a regular basis. Clarify task requests and scheduling details such as appointment times and travel itineraries. (2)
  • Explain administrative processes and procedures to co-workers, clients and the public. For example, secretaries in property management companies explain environmental safeguards to tenants and review procedures for submitting rent payments. Secretaries for university departments explain the processes and timelines for submitting matters for ethics committee reviews. Church secretaries explain facility bookings and clients" requests for room set-ups to custodians. (2)
  • Exchange information about ongoing work with co-workers, colleagues and suppliers. For example, ask other secretaries for help in locating files and resolving computer malfunctions. Ask colleagues in other departments for information on new products and confirm meeting dates. Contact suppliers to determine the status of previously placed orders. (2)
  • Discuss work processes and upcoming events in staff meetings. (3)
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Money Math
  • Receive payments for stamps and personal photocopies, collect funds for gifts and special events and reimburse staff for minor expenditures from petty cash accounts. Church secretaries may receive payments for room bookings. School secretaries may receive payments for school uniforms, field trips and school supplies. (2)
  • Calculate total amounts on invoices, supply orders and expense claims after verifying quantities, cost per item and appropriate taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Compare different suppliers' prices for office products and courier services to determine best value. Consider quality of product and service, quantity discounts and delivery times. (1)
  • Manage appointment schedules and create travel itineraries for supervisors. Allocate appropriate blocks of time for regularly-scheduled meetings and conferences. When working on large projects, you may allocate blocks of time for yourself and subordinates to complete particular tasks within set timelines. (2)
  • Summarize money collection and sales activities; balance petty cash accounts; and reconcile monthly bank statements. For example, school secretaries total sales of school photos. Correctional services secretaries track money moving into and out of inmates' trust and benefit funds. Property management secretaries manage petty cash funds. (2)
  • Create and manage small operating and project budgets. For example, create budgets for office operating expenses. Examine average expenditures and sales to determine monthly and yearly patterns. Record, total and review expenditures to ensure spending category allocations are within the budgeted amounts. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure and weigh packages being sent by regular post and courier to determine shipping costs. (1)
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Data Analysis
  • Monitor inventory levels and place orders when numbers fall below established levels. (1)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate duration of time required to complete tasks. (1)
  • Estimate numbers of document copies required for meetings, conferences and trade shows. Estimate quantities of office supplies required when drawing up annual budgets. (1)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Secretaries are given specific tasks and duties, with urgent completion timelines, on a daily basis. They reorganize their daily schedules to accommodate these new tasks while ensuring completion of their recurring tasks in a productive and time efficient manner. During the execution of daily tasks, they are frequently interrupted by phone calls, walk-in traffic and co-workers' requests. If they are responsible for supporting several people, they may need to juggle deadlines and priorities to ensure all work is completed in a timely manner. Some tasks, such as verifying rent rolls and attendance registers, reconciling bank statements, tracking budget categories and preparing administrative reports are weekly and monthly tasks. Secretaries may be responsible for travel and meeting planning for their supervisors and co-workers. In some work contexts, such as schools, churches, and not-for-profit agencies, they may schedule the work of volunteers and assistants. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Select suppliers for a variety of products. Consider the suppliers' selection, prices and account histories. (1)
  • Sort email and phone messages according to subject matter and intended audience. Respond to some of the messages and forward others to supervisors or the appropriate person, in accordance with established parameters. For example, secretaries in educational settings respond to questions about admission requirements, refer queries about the status of applications to the Dean of their departments, and forward questions about bursaries and financial matters to accounting departments. (2)
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Problem Solving
  • You unable to locate your supervisors for scheduled meetings and conference calls. Page the missing supervisors and apologize to those who are waiting for them. (1)
  • Face conflicting priorities and unreasonable expectations for the amount of work that can be accomplished. For example, secretaries in insurance offices receive high priority work from two or more co-workers simultaneously. Consult with the co-workers to determine completion deadlines. If you are unable to complete the work, you may be able to request help from secretaries in other departments. (2)
  • Suppliers and servicers fail to deliver goods and services as contracted. Call to confirm the status of service contracts and the expected delivery times for goods. If suppliers are unable to deliver goods and services as contracted, find alternate suppliers. (2)
  • You cannot complete tasks because of faulty computers, photocopiers, printers and faxes. Refer to diagnostic codes and procedures on equipment labels to identify common faults. If you are unable to correct the faults, consult the equipment manuals and ask co-workers for assistance. If needed, call manufacturers' help lines and request technical service assistance. (2)
  • You cannot complete forms and records because of missing, incomplete and illegible information. For example, you may not have the work hours and vacation schedules for staff at the company. Contact the individuals to confirm their hours and vacation dates and ask them to complete and submit the forms. When handwriting is illegible, ask the writers to decipher their texts. (2)
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Finding Information
  • Access travel planning and booking information by speaking with travel agents, telephoning airline reservation agents and reviewing airline schedules. Use Internet travel services to locate hotel rooms and meeting facilities. (1)
  • Gather information on job applicants. Review application documents, call former employers and listed references and visit applicants' websites. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the urgency and importance of telephone calls prior to interrupting a meeting. (1)
  • Evaluate the suitability, readability and appearance of all documents, presentations, schedules and notices produced in the office. Ensure that the contents are not out of date, the language used is easily understood and page designs are appropriate and visually appealing. (2)
  • Assess the efficiency of work processes and procedures. Consider the typical tasks assigned, the time required to complete various tasks and time saving methods learned through previous work experiences. For example, judge the efficiency of filing and storage systems for printed documents and electronic files. Consider the ease and speed in accessing and retrieving files, whether the files are organized in a logical manner and whether co-workers and colleagues are able to access stored information efficiently. Conduct evaluations and cost analyses to justify the reasons for changing existing systems. (3)
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