Skills Needed to be an Administrative Assistant

Julie Shenkman
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The job of an administrative assistant goes way beyond typing, filing and greeting clients who come through the door. An administrative assistant is essentially the backbone of the office, ensuring that things run smoothly and everyone is equipped to complete their job duties. As an administrative assistant, master these eight necessary skills to be successful in your career.

1. Excellent Communication

Administrative assistants interact with executives and co-workers in the organization as well as clients, vendors and third parties outside of the organization, so superior communication abilities are vital. A successful administrative assistant must have a professional attitude, patience, and the ability to both listen and speak clearly.

2. Flexibility

No two days in an office setting are the same, and an administrative assistant must be ready to take on whatever challenges are presented. She should be able to take care of urgent issues and handle last-minute changes while still completing the everyday responsibilities of her job.

3. Organization

A good administrative assistant must keep her work duties organized by prioritizing tasks and completing everything before its due date. She should be a successful multitasker with the ability to handle emergency situations at a moment's notice.

4. Time Management

With a multitude of tasks to complete every day, a successful administrative assistant has to be able to divide her time sensibly and efficiently between tasks. She must complete her regular office duties dealing with constant email and telephone distractions. She must also manage her boss' schedule and keep track of appointments and meetings.

5. Trustworthiness

Administrative assistants may handle human resource issues within their company, and they may have access to important contracts, business memos or financial documents. With this type of confidential information at their fingertips, it's important for administrative assistants to be trustworthy.

6. Problem-Solving Abilities

From a missing supply order to a boss who is double-booked for a meeting, administrative assistants run into many issues that need solutions. A good administrative assistant is able to think quickly on her feet to solve problems and keep the office functioning smoothly.

7. Planning Skills

An administrative assistant is responsible for her boss's calendar and must ensure that he has adequate time to travel to and attend client meetings and appointments. She must also see to it that everyone in the office has the resources and supplies they need to complete their job duties, and it is her responsibility to outline office procedures.

8. Technological Know-How

In a world with constant advances in technology, a successful administrative assistant must be familiar with office equipment, including computers, printers and fax machines. A great administrative assistant should also be comfortable with a variety of office software programs, including email, word processing, spreadsheets, databases and presentation programs.

As a result of changes in the economy and layoffs in the workplace, administrative assistants take on more and more duties, making themselves an irreplaceable part of the team and office environment. To ensure that you are functioning at your highest level and providing all the support your company needs, make sure you possess the eight necessary skills on this checklist.

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