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Administrative assistants, secretaries, and receptionists are the backbone of any business. But with only a 3% growth rate expected for administrative jobs between 2014 and 2024, if you want to stand out to employers, you’ll need to demonstrate that your skills are second to none. Here are the top eight skills they’re looking for.


Tech Skills

Being able to handle data entry, manage calendars, and create reports, as well as familiarity with Microsoft Office applications like Excel, Word and PowerPoint, will take you a long way. You may also be asked to input data into a customer service platform, virtual help desk or customer relationship management (CRM) system, so you’ll need a thorough understanding of computers.


Verbal & Written Communication

In admin, your communication abilities are paramount. The company needs to be able to trust you to be the face and voice of the business and of other employees. This means handling internal and external communications in a timely and professional way, and being friendly and positive around customers, colleagues and guests.



As an admin professional, you need to be able to organise others as well as yourself. This includes organising schedules, files and events in a system that makes sense for your colleagues, so they can easily find what they need when you’re not there.


Time Management

Juggling conflicting demands is part of any admin role, so you’ll need to be able to prioritise and plan your time accurately to avoid stretching yourself too thin. Practise timing how long tasks actually take, and make it your principle to underpromise and overdeliver.


Strategic Planning

Again, you don’t just need to be able to prioritise your own time as an admin professional, you also need to be able to plan strategically on behalf of others, such as arranging calendars when unexpected changes or cancellations arise.



The ability to think on your feet and adapt rapidly to changing situations is crucial for any admin, so you’ll need to be resourceful in getting your tasks done through creative thinking and multi-tasking, and in exploring different avenues to reach solutions to problems. This is particularly crucial when your boss is unavailable in a crisis.



You’ll be handling sensitive communications, so you’ll need to have an eye for detail and the ability to spot typos and errors. This will also stand you in good stead for data entry and reporting. Missing a small detail in a report or memo can have big consequences.


Anticipates Needs

The ability to anticipate needs and get things done without needing to be asked is the difference between a good assistant and a great one. To be an amazing assistant, take the initiative instead of waiting for instructions. For example, if the contact list is out of date, update it to demonstrate that you can do what’s needed without constant supervision.

Posted by: Morgan Spencer