What you should know about administrative skills
Administrative assistants are required to possess several administrative skills to be successful in their careers. A few of the most common skills needed by administrative assistants include accounting, communication skills, and organization skills. Here we explore what administrative skills are, examples of popular administrative skills sought after by employers, how you can use these skills at work, and how to highlight these skills on your resume, cover letter, and during an interview to help you get the job.
Definition of administrative skills
Administrative skills are skills needed by administrative assistants and other administrative professionals in order to successfully complete their jobs. Most of these skills correlate with effectively managing various office- and business-related tasks, such as scheduling meetings, answering phone calls, helping employees in relation to administrative tasks, and managing databases. Administrative assistants play an important role in how a company is run, so employers often look for potential candidates to possess several proven administrative skills.
There are several types of employees who may need these skills, including:
- Administrative assistants.
- Office assistants.
- Office managers.
- Executive assistants.
- Office administrators.
Examples of administrative skills
There are a wide variety of administrative skills, and the exact skills needed by an administrative professional will vary from company to company. A few of the most popular administrative skills that employers look for in interviewees include:
Communication is a major component of nearly any administrative job, so possessing this soft skill is necessary when working as an administrative assistant. These professionals interact with a variety of people, including staff, employers, managers, and clients. They often communicate in various forms, such as through email, on the phone, and in person. Common communication skills needed for administration include:
- Written communication skills.
- Active listening skills.
- Verbal communication skills.
- Business correspondence.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Presentation skills.
- Public speaking.
- Editing skills.
Another important skill for administrative roles is organization skills. These professionals often have to coordinate and oversee various tasks as well as manage the calendars of supervisors and/or executives. For example, an administrative assistant may be in charge of planning the company’s holiday party and will need to know how to organize an event.
Important organizational skills needed by administrative assistants include:
- Attention to detail.
- Multi-tasking skills.
- Appointment setting skills.
- Calendar management skills.
- Filing skills.
- Record-keeping skills.
- Event planning skills.
Time management skills
Administrators must also hold strong time management skills to ensure everything gets done each day. Administrative assistants are often not only be responsible for their own schedules and work tasks, but also for organizing and setting the schedules of executives. For example, an administrator may schedule every appointment for an executive of the company and will need to be able to ensure there’s enough time for each appointment in the executive’s schedule.
Here are common time management skills required by administrative professionals:
- Goal setting.
- Decision making.
- Stress management.
- Strategic planning.
- Resource management.
Administrative professionals need strong technology skills to perform various duties throughout their workday, such as operating Microsoft Word or using a fax machine. For example, an administrative assistant may have to use the program QuickBooks to perform accounting duties as part of their job.
Common technology skills administrators should possess include:
- Microsoft Office Suite.
- Office equipment.
- Common operating systems.
- Database management.
- Email skills.
- Social media.
Administrators are often looked to for solutions to various office-related problems. For example, an executive assistant may need to rearrange an executive’s schedule when an unplanned event arises. The executive assistant would need to determine which tasks are able to be moved to a later date as well as how the executive will accommodate the unforeseen event.
Good problem-solving skills to have as an administrative professional include:
- Conflict resolution.
- Critical thinking skills.
- Employee relations.
- Teamwork skills.
- Creative thinking skills.
Customer service skills
Depending on the workplace, administrative professionals may also need strong customer service skills to interact with customers, solve customer issues, and ensure customer satisfaction. For example, an administrative assistant may be required to answer incoming calls from clients and will need to know how to effectively answer questions, set expectations, listen to client concerns, and communicate in a clear way.
Additional customer service skills required in some administrative roles include:
- Product/service knowledge.
How to make your administrative skills stand out during the hiring process
There are several opportunities to highlight your administrative skills during the hiring process, including on your resume and cover letter and during job interviews. Here are the ways you can make your administrative skills stand out on each:
On your resume
You can make reference to your administrative skills on your resume in both a skills section and in the descriptions of your previous jobs. When deciding which skills to include on your resume, first look at the job listing for the position you’re applying to and note the primary administrative skills the company is looking for. Be sure to mention any skills you possess in relation to the job listing on your resume, especially when describing your work history. You can also include individual skills and an example of each in a separate skills section.
On your cover letter
Choose two or three administrative skills that you possess that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for and mention them in your cover letter. You include these skills in the body of your cover letter and provide specific examples of a time you used these skills in the workplace.
In a job interview
When demonstrating your administrative skills in a job interview, you can refer back to the primary skills listed in the job posting and make mention of each to the interviewer. Be sure you’re able to provide examples for these skills and take some time practicing administrative-related interview questions before going to the interview.