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Best Written Resources and Books for Admins

By Anya Martin, Monster Contributing Writer

Monster asked approximately 100 admin pros which books, magazines and newsletters they found indispensable in their jobs. Here are the most popular selections:


Published by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the field’s largest professional organization, “this periodical has so many terrific articles that I can’t begin to describe them all,” says Debi Cain-Rivord CPS/CAP, executive assistant, sales, at Minneapolis-based Urologix Inc. “Trust me when I say that OfficePro truly keeps me updated on virtually every topic concerning an admin’s career — from entry-level work to the highest of executive support work and into management.”

The Gregg Reference Manual by William Sabin

Widely considered to be the final word for grammar and punctuation rules among admins, this is “the one book that I absolutely can’t do without,” says Rhonda Strong, an administrative assistant at Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, Tennessee. Strong gets the updated version of the manual every few years to stay on top of changing styles in business writing and grammar.

A Good Dictionary

“I have found that my computer’s spell-checker regularly misses words or even offers incorrect interpretations,” says Vera Regelbrugge, owner of Mountain Valley Virtual Office Services in Oakdale, California. Moreover, legal and medical dictionaries help not just with spelling, but also with understanding specialty languages.

Roget’s Thesaurus edited by Barbara Ann Kipfer

“Using the thesaurus wisely helps all of my documents sound more professional,” Strong says.

Complete Office Handbook: The Essential Reference for Today’s Office edited by Susan Fenner

The only office handbook endorsed by IAAP, Complete Office Handbook is a treasure trove of step-by-step advice on how to succeed in today’s fast-paced electronic office, offering everything from sample office documents to career-ladder guidance.

How to Say It: Choice Words, Phrases, Sentences & Paragraphs for Every Situation by Rosalie Maggio

“In creating letters, this book has been very helpful when I get tired of saying the same old thing,” says Cynthia Sheeks, CPS, a secretary at Ohio’s University of Akron. Updated with 10 new chapters, the second edition includes a CD-ROM with ready-to-use model letters for numerous situations.

Woody’s Office Watch Newsletters

Woody Leonhard publishes six free email newsletters demystifying Microsoft Office programs. A recent newsletter helped Camille Petrocco, CPS, a senior administrative assistant at Bridgewater, New Jersey-based Aventis Pharmaceuticals, resolve her problems with sending large attachments using Outlook Express.

Element K Journals

While not free, these monthly printed newsletters cover a wider range of software programs, including Adobe and Corel WordPerfect Suite, and computer skills such as Web design.

The Meeting Professional

As the magazine of Meeting Planners International, The Meeting Professional features advice from expert planners, as well as updates on hospitality industry issues. “Since meeting and event planning can be an entire career in itself, getting continual input from experts in this field can be a great benefit to admins,” says Cain-Rivord.

Whatever Your Boss Is Reading

“As the support person, you have to be on the same page [as your supervisor] — or willing to get there,” says Carlotta Embry, administrative professional, perioperative services at Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta. Her CEO swears by Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins.

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