How to Become a Corporate Administrator

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How does a small company transform into a corporation? Well, there are a few strategies: be absorbed by an industry titan, generate impressive growth over several years and run a well-oiled machine that eventually turns into a juggernaut. The only way to accomplish these feats is to have a solid team of professionals at the office, from the visionary sales team to the dependable corporate administrator.

It turns out that the corporate administrator plays an integral part in helping any business succeed. The position’s duties consist of ensuring the organisation is efficient, whether it’s attending statutory filing and maintaining records or managing the ongoing administration of a portfolio of clients (partnerships, trusts and limited liability companies).

Sound interesting? It is. Plus, the pay is good too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median salary for administrative services in the US was $96,940 (£70,960), with a projected job growth rate of 6%.

And if you’re considering a career in corporate administration, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled a detailed guide on how to become a corporate administrator to help you start your journey.

1. Know what a corporate administrator does

First things first, it’s important that you perform thorough research into this potential career path and what exactly the job of a corporate administrator entails. Not only this will help you gain a clearer picture of the day-to-day functions of the profession but also determine whether it’s something you can see yourself doing.

Generally, here’s what you can expect to do as a corporate administrator:

  • Filing and maintaining records
  • Invoicing clients or employees
  • Liaising with regulatory authorities
  • Performing regulatory checks to ensure compliance
  • Registering and incorporating companies

2. Determine if it’s something you really want to do

For anyone interested in embarking upon a career in corporate administration, it’s essential that you determine if this is something you really want to do. In recent years, with job hopping becoming the new normal, many professionals have entered a position only to ditch that job after a few months. While it might be a sunk cost, it’s crucial to realise that you’re spending a great deal of time, money and resources to attain an employment opportunity in this sector. Do you want all of that to go to waste?

Typically, there are a few ways to know if you’ve selected the right career

  • You genuinely enjoy the work that’s involved
  • You’re confident in your abilities
  • You’re excited about the industry and you’re eager to grow within the sector
  • You have found plenty of support along the way, either in school or in internships
  • The career aligns with your values and interests

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to take a career test to determine where your interests and skills truly lie. Our CareerHunter testing platform, for example, assesses your strengths and talents across six areas, and matches you to relevant careers based on your results. You can start by taking the free Career Interests Test!

3. Enrol in applicable subjects at school

When you’re in high school and you think you want to become a corporate administrator – or, at the very least, enter a related position – it’s important to pick applicable subjects. Every secondary institution is different, and jurisdictions offer different courses. That said, for the most part, you should aim for these classes to succeed as a corporate administrator:

  • Business: In corporate administration, you’ll be involved in the day-to-day affairs of the business, so it only makes sense that you understand how business functions. A course in this field, either in high school or college, will be beneficial.
  • Computer science: Out with the filing cabinets and in with digital databases. Computers now play an instrumental role at the office, whether it’s record-keeping or managing payroll. Whatever the case, being intimate with how computers work and how you can maximise their functionality for business administration is critical.
  • Entrepreneurship: This course is fantastic for anyone interested in business because it provides you with the know-how and skills to lead a company. As a corporate administrator, you’re not the chief executive officer, but you can benefit from understanding what it takes and what you need to run a company. In other words, you can think like an entrepreneur in this position.
  • Finance: Finance is more than just adding your assets and subtracting your liabilities. This subject is also helpful for the many layers of a corporate administrator, from taxes to financial evaluation and capital markets to financial reporting. A corporation will undoubtedly home in on these areas, so it’s your job to be equipped in these subjects.
  • Statistics: Are statistics relevant to your position? Yes. Why? Business has become a bit more technical, turning to things like big data, data analytics and KPIs. While you don’t need a degree in this field, possessing proficiency in survey sampling and data mining adds to your human capital in your job.

4. Attain the relevant qualifications

The next step is to enrol in a postsecondary institution, like a college or a university. Whether it’s an associate’s degree or an MBA, you should aim for a degree in business administration. By having this as your major, you can broaden your horizons and perhaps advance beyond that of a corporate administrator. This will ensure that you can handle many elements involved in the industry.

Unsure what options are at your disposal? Here are some law, business and public administration certifications you can look into:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Company Law and Compliance in Listed Companies
  • Employee Shares
  • Charity Management

In today’s world, a degree in this field can be earned online or in some other type of distance learning capacity.

5. Build your skillset

In addition to an education, you should also gather a suite of professional skills to ensure that you’re ready to execute the duties of the job. So, what competencies should you possess as a corporate administrator to showcase in your job search?

As you work to become a corporate administrator, you shouldn’t only concentrate on the skills related to the job, such as administration, payroll management and legal record-keeping, though. Like every other position, it’s a good idea to expand your horizons and build your skillset, like report writing, public speaking and even supervisory responsibility.

In corporate administration, there might be responsibilities that may not enjoy, but with a diversified skillset, you can excel in whatever assignment is handed to you.

Coursera [paid link], edX, FutureLearn [paid link], OpenLearn and the Khan Academy are just some of the many different web portals that will help you learn a new skill or add to your qualifications. From coding to digital administration, the world’s your oyster when it comes to choosing what subjects to study.

6. Get the necessary work experience

Whether you have recently completed your schooling or you’re considering a career change, it’s imperative that you attain the necessary work experience. This is a crucial component of your professional development in corporate administration since you can build your skills, become acquainted in this field and pad your résumé with relevant experience. 

If you find it challenging to get hired as a corporate administrator, you can always apply for an in-person or online internship. If this isn’t an option for you, you could search for part-time, temporary, shadowing or seasonal employment opportunities.

Whatever the case may be, you want to garner hands-on experience for both your professional growth and your résumé. You don’t have to wait to have a paper on your wall to start dipping your toes in the water or getting your hands dirty to gain some experience.

7. Take advantage of opportunities in school

Do you have to wait until you have a degree in business or accounting to start taking advantages of opportunities? Nope. In fact, you could start carpe diem when you’re in high school or getting started in a postsecondary institution.

Whether it’s adding to your work ethic or attaining first-hand knowledge of the industry, you could, for example, partake in a diverse array of extracurricular activities. This enables you to develop new skills and even interests to help you succeed as a corporate administrator. Again, this ties into the previous point of diversifying your skillset.

Many multinational corporations host career days at schools across the globe. Professional services networks, such as PwC or Deloitte, would be sublime opportunities to connect with for formal training or postsecondary opportunities.

If you’re not interested in applying to these kinds of extracurricular activities, there are small things you can always do in your personal life that relate to business, finance or something generic related to your position, like:

  • Keeping up with the latest business headlines
  • Investing in the financial markets
  • Watching YouTube videos of business professionals or business news networks analysing the stories of the day
  • Finding mentors who are willing to take you under their wing and provide you with the expertise to survive and thrive in your career

These are only some of the methods you could utilise in your free time to become acquainted with the industry and start developing unique knowledge that can be executed for corporate administration.

Finding a career is difficult enough, but is pursuing a career in corporate administration easy? It’s a highly competitive field for anyone interested in business, organisation and general office work. But it’s a rewarding occupation for anyone starting a career or considering a career change. But while it might seem challenging when you first embark upon this professional journey, the hard work will pay dividends.

Are you considering a career in corporate administration? Got any questions? We’d love to hear from you – just leave a comment below!


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 15 July 2014.