Top 10 Administrative Assistant Skills for Success
Administrative assistants—also referred to as admins, office clerks, receptionists, or secretaries—work in nearly every industry.
Don’t let the job title fool you—administrative assistants are the backbone of a well-run business. To be effective at juggling a variety of tasks, you need to have a few critical administrative assistant skills that are key to getting the job done—and done well.
Administrative assistants—also referred to as admins, office clerks, receptionists, or secretaries—work in nearly every industry, performing clerical duties such as organizing files, preparing and editing documents, answering telephones and social media inquiries, greeting guests and visitors, arranging staff meetings, booking conferences, writing memos, and processing invoices. They may also handle bookkeeping tasks like creating spreadsheets to track business expenses.
If you’re thinking about becoming an administrative assistant or working on your existing skill set, you can become certified through a number of programs, though it's not required for the position. However, the following skills are must-haves for anyone in this job.
Top 10 Administrative Assistant Skills
- Time management
- Interpersonal skills
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
- Attention to detail
- Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
Administrative assistant jobs require workers to often perform tasks autonomously—meaning sound judgment and decision-making skills are essential.
Because you represent your employer when greeting customers and clients, you must act professionally at all times. Maturity, punctuality, and a sense of duty will take you far. (Tip: Those are great qualities to emphasize on your administrative assistant cover letter.)
One of the most currently cited administrative assistant skills is being organized. If you’re not, the whole machine is at risk of shutting down. You have to be meticulous and perform clerical duties such as keeping files, folders, and schedules in proper order. Staying organized also requires you to keep your workspace clutter-free.
4. Time management
Anyone with administrative experience can tell you how critical it is to keep track of your schedule so you're able to complete your tasks without letting anything drop between the cracks. Admins are frequently juggling multiple tasks at one time, and so the job requires excellent time-management skills.
5. Interpersonal skills
Administrative assistants don’t work in a bubble. Part of the job entails communicating with everyone in their office, from entry-level workers to C-suite executives, and creating a positive work environment. Therefore, interpersonal skills are key.
6. Written communication
Good grammar is a must for administrative assistants, since they write office correspondence, such as memos and emails, when communicating with managers and employees. Many also take minutes during office meetings, which requires strong writing skills.
7. Verbal communication
In addition to writing skills, administrative assistants can benefit tremendously from strong verbal communication skills when interacting with both employees and customers.
8. Attention to detail
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning the most competent administrative assistants are detail oriented and complete their work without errors.
9. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
A good administrative assistant knows not only how to craft documents in Microsoft Word but also how to compile and present data using Excel and PowerPoint. Also, being proficient at Excel comes in handy when you use spreadsheets to record office expenses.
Things don’t always go as planned—and administrative assistants sometimes find themselves troubleshooting unexpected problems. Being able to pivot, as needed, goes a long way.
Get an Administrative Assistant Job
If you have these administrative assistant skills under your belt, it’s time to find the right job opening. Your next step? Making a free profile on Monster. We can help you organize your search, find the right companies, and show you jobs that fit your needs.