8 Must-Have Skills to Become a Stand-Out Administrative Assistant

October 27th, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

Administrative assistants, secretaries, and receptionists have a reputation of simply needing to answer the phone and greet office guests. In reality, they are the foundation of businesses, enabling each team member to get the job done. Responsible for organizing schedules, communicating on behalf of executives, maintaining contact lists, and more, they serve as a critical support role.

Considering they are such an integral part of business teams, there’s no denying that administrative assistants need to exhibit the right skillset to stand out to employers. And with only a 3% job growth rate expected between 2014 and 2024, seeking an admin assistant position is more competitive than ever.

As an experienced administrative staffing agency, we know what it will take for you to rise above the competition in your job search. Below, we highlight the eight administrative assistant skills you need to become a top candidate.

1. Adept in Technology

Having the technological skills necessary to perform data entry, manage team calendars, and create company reports are highly sought after skills in assistants. It’s important that admins are familiar with Microsoft Office software like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more. It’s also not uncommon for admin assistants to help input data into a customer relationship management (CRM) system, customer service platform, or virtual help desk. This means you need to have a thorough understanding of computer software, browsers, and operating systems in order to perform the job.

2. Verbal & Written Communication

One of the most important skills you can exhibit as an admin assistant are your communication abilities. The company needs to know they can trust you to be the face and voice of other employees and even the company. This includes handling incoming correspondence from customers, suppliers, or partners in a timely and professional manner. In addition, it’s important admin assistants or clerks have a friendly and positive attitude when they interact with customers, guests, and other employees.

3. Organization

Not only are strong organization skills needed to keep yourself organized as an administrative assistant, they are also needed so you can keep the whole office organized as well. This includes organizing team schedules, events, and files with a system that makes sense for everyone. This ensures that your fellow team members in the organization can easily follow your filing systems without misplacing items.

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4. Time Management

Because admin assistants are a resource for the whole company, it can feel like your time is stretched across several departments. To make sure your time is properly allocated and planned, it’s crucial that you have good time management. Otherwise, you will potentially stretch yourself too thin. To be the best resource for your team, you need to accurately plan your tasks and the time they will take.

5. Strategic Planning

Similar to time management, admin assistants need to be able to plan strategically. This means prioritizing your tasks in order of importance or planning out processes for the entire office to follow. Planning skills also come into play when arranging employee and executive calendars when unexpected cancellations or changes arise.

6. Resourcefulness

If you already have experience working as an administrative professional, you already know that you need to be able to adapt. In business, things can change at a rapid pace and you need to be able to adapt quickly to get the job done and assist your teammates. To do this, admins need to be resourceful in getting their tasks done through multi-tasking and creative thinking skills. This is especially important when your boss is unavailable during a crisis—as an assistant you need to be resourceful in exploring other avenues to reach a solution.

7. Detail-Oriented

In handling sensitive client or partner communications, assistants need to be detail-oriented to catch potential typos and grammatical errors. Furthermore, having an eye for detail helps with data entry tasks and reporting to ensure that your work is accurate and trustworthy. Missing small details in a report or memo leaves a less than stellar impression on the recipient and leaves room for further mistakes.

8. Anticipates Needs

The difference between a good assistant and a great assistant is their ability to anticipate needs and complete important tasks without needing to be asked. An amazing assistant will take initiative to support the business instead of waiting around for approval or direction. Think the company contact list is out of date? Update it to show your bosses that you can take care of the business without needing constant supervision.

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