Administrative assistants are important for nearly any organization.
The best ones keep things running smoothly and make appointments, among other tasks.
But before you can become an effective administrative assistant, there are a wide variety of skills that you need to learn.
If you’re interested in developing administrative assistant skills — and want to know which of them are most important — keep reading.
Five Administrative Assistant Skills for the Workplace
As an administrative assistant, you’ll often work in fast-paced environments that require you to multitask.
This list of key skills for administrative assistants demonstrates which abilities are needed for you to be successful. We also list the skills required for administrative assistant job seekers to be hired.
#1. Time Management
First, time management skills are key. You must be excellent at managing your time, as you have dozens of tasks to complete each day.
You need to identify which tasks are urgent, and accurately estimate how long each will take.
You should arrange your day so that you can finish your tasks while having the flexibility to handle unexpected work. For instance, you need to answer the phone, reply to emails, accept deliveries, and manage problems that pop up.
Administrative assistants are also often responsible for managing the time of others. You must book meetings, plan events, and manage administrative calendars, or things will fall into disorder.
#2. Organizational Skills
Organization goes hand-in-hand with time management. Without strong organizational skills, it will be difficult for you to manage your time well. Such skills apply to administrative assistant work in a variety of ways.
As an administrative assistant, you’ll likely be in charge of organizing physical items like:
- office supplies
You’ll also likely have to manage digital items, such as:
Being organized will save you time and help everyone at the company do their jobs.
#3. Problem Solving
As an administrative assistant, you need excellent problem solving skills. Administrators want assistants to take informed, decisive action when problems arise. Many of these decisions should be made independently.
Executives don’t want to spend their time answering endless questions from administrative assistants, and appreciate the ones who take initiative.
Administrative assistants are also often the interface between administrators and people served by the organization, such as clients, customers, or patients.
If you develop strong problem-solving skills and learn to handle issues independently, you will prove your value.
#4. Attention to Detail
As an administrative assistant, you should try to prevent certain problems before they happen. The best way to do this is by paying close attention to detail.
Double-checking documents, bills, receipts, calendars, event details, mailing addresses, and other important information will save you from trouble later on.
Paying close attention to detail also helps you demonstrate credibility. If you’re detail-oriented, your boss will trust you to handle your work. They also don’t need to keep a close eye on you.
Similarly, clients and business partners appreciate attention to detail, because it reflects well on your entire company. When all the little details are handled without issue, your business appears meticulous and focused on providing the best service possible.
To develop the key skills to be a successful administrative assistant, you must be adaptable.
If your company changes ownership or an administrator is replaced, you might be told to operate in a completely new way. Different people have different preferences when it comes to organization.
Administrative assistants also use technology every day, and technology rapidly changes. You must be able to adapt to change by learning how to use new software and devices.
It’s tempting to do things the familiar way, but it won’t help your career in the long run.
Five Administrative Assistant Resume Skills for the Job Hunt
This administrative assistant skills list is particularly useful for job seekers. Use it to build your administrative assistant resume and impress hiring managers when you apply for a new position.
#6. Written Communication
Administrative assistants handle a fair amount of written communication. You’ll be responsible for writing emails, letters, memos, reports, and other documents.
Since this ability is also part of applying for jobs, demonstrate your written communication skills on your application.
Use your resume and cover letter to both show and tell potential employers that you have strong written communication skills.
So ensure your application documents are well-written and error free. That includes factual errors as well as punctuation and grammar errors.
If there’s a mistake in your resume or cover letter, potential employers will assume you are not detail-oriented. That means they’ll think you’ll make similar mistakes as their administrative assistant.
#7. Tech Skills
Technology plays a major role in the day-to-day work of most administrative assistants.
To succeed as an administrative assistant, you must know how to expertly navigate:
- email platforms (e.g., Gmail and iCloud Mail)
- word processing software (e.g., Google Docs)
- spreadsheet software
- digital calendars
And much more, depending on the specific job.
That’s why it’s important to emphasize your administrative assistant technology skills in your resume. Be sure to add technical skills to your resume skills section.
The more applications you list, the more tech savvy you will look. Organizations want administrative assistants who are comfortable with technology and can learn how to use new programs quickly.
#8. Verbal Communication
Administrative assistants’ communication skills are key — helping them convey information inside and outside the company, and keeping business running well.
You must be able to speak clearly, in a way that is easy for others to understand.
If you’re misunderstood or disbelieved, it will cause problems. Therefore, you must learn to be direct and convincing, while remaining polite and professional.
In addition to listing communication skills on your resume and cover letter, demonstrate these talents on phone calls and in interviews.
#9. Emotional Intelligence
As an administrative assistant, you’ll often interact with a wide range of people at your company.
You have to communicate with C-suite staff such as the CEO and others like janitors and mail carriers.
Communicating with a wide range of people requires emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. You must demonstrate you have the people skills necessary to understand and work with a variety of colleagues in different positions.
If you’re on the job market, give examples of your emotional intelligence in your administrative assistant resume skills section. Explain them in-depth in your cover letter, and be prepared to discuss them during an interview.
As mentioned earlier, being an administrative assistant requires you to prioritize tasks by importance. Prioritization is essential to effective time management, especially since you will be juggling so many tasks.
Prioritization also ties into being able to adapt and solve problems. That’s because the tasks you must prioritize are ever-changing and can arise unexpectedly.
Now that you know what administrative assistant resume skills are needed to obtain your desired position, put that knowledge to practice. Download one of our many free resume templates and create your own administrative assistant resume by simply inserting your own information.
You can even use a matching cover letter template to really stand out.
And if you’re looking for a quicker option, our free-to-use resume builder will create a resume in minutes.