Successful businesses rely heavily on workers with top-notch administrative assistant skills. They are the shrewd wizards behind the company curtain, the chiefs who keep the office running efficiently, the brilliant multitaskers and detail-oriented coordinators.
The best administrative professionals aren't just supporting players. They add value to the job in ways that make them critical to an organization's success. What are their administrative skills? Everything from planning to communicating, organizing to problem solving.
What does it take to be the kind of administrative assistant businesses can't do without? Here are five administrative assistant skills that can help you get hired, succeed on the job and drive your career.
1. Industry knowledge
Knowing the three T's of the industry — terminology, trends and technology — and being able to articulate them on your administrative resume means that even as a new hire, you will begin to contribute immediately. A savvy admin professional is not only familiar with these concepts, but also knows how to use them to full advantage on the job.
- Terminology — Knowing the language of a particular business sector means an administrative assistant new to the company can keep up with and contribute to conversations in the workplace right from the start.
- Trends — Today's administrative professionals should be knowledgeable about industrywide trends, whether it's healthcare or manufacturing. They should also be thinking proactively about how these trends could potentially impact the company.
- Training — Employers prefer administrative professionals who are not only tech-savvy but also well-versed in the company's most-used tools. They look for individuals who proactively update their administrative assistant skills through training.
2. Expertise in software and social media
Using Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel is a given for any administrative assistant’s career. But proficiency in Office365, Google Workspace and other cloud-based programs, and experience running virtual conference calls and meetings, organizing newsletters and creating PowerPoint presentations can give you a competitive edge. Managers and executives also value assistants who know how to use accounting, payroll and HR applications.
An administrative assistant with a working knowledge of the ins and outs of social media can be a huge asset for an employer, too. Small and midsize companies, in particular, sometimes need help managing a Facebook or Twitter feed and may not have the resources to hire a social media specialist for the office. These skills can help the company or executive build an online presence, which is essential to staying in the game in today's market.
3. Artful articulation
Good communication skills are crucial for a successful administrative assistant. Most often, you're the first point of contact in the office for clients, customers and vendors. You may also be the go-to person internally. The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively, both verbally and in writing, is something hiring managers seek when evaluating top administrative assistant skills.
4. Budget perceptiveness
Companies are always on the lookout for an administrative assistant who can find ways to save money and help the business become more efficient. You're on the front lines every day — overseeing day-to-day operations, selecting vendors and negotiating contracts — putting you in the perfect position to look for opportunities to cut office expenses. Proposing cost-cutting solutions to those within the company is a good way to make yourself indispensable to the organization.
5. Ability to display grace under pressure
Managers appreciate administrative assistants who can think on their feet. Every day, new situations arise in the office requiring quick decisions and immediate action. Stretching your skills beyond your job description to tackle the unexpected shows you're well-positioned to handle the complexities of today's workplace. You effectively communicate with colleagues and clients in an even tone, exemplifying emotional intelligence at work.