A successful administrative assistant has just the right blend of job-specific skills and personality traits. If you're ready to move from an entry-level administrative position to something with better pay and more responsibilities, you may need to learn new skills and update your resume. Here are the administrative assistant qualifications you need to succeed in any industry.
If you don't have a college degree, consider enrolling in classes at your local college or university. In a competitive job market, employers can afford to be more selective about whom they hire. Some employers are unlikely to consider any candidate who does not even have an associate degree, while others require a minimum of a bachelor's degree. If you want to be an administrative assistant, major in business administration, organizational development or another relevant subject. Take several computer courses to enhance your computer skills and make you more valuable as an administrative assistant.
A good administrative assistant must be able to stay organized and manage time efficiently. It's not unusual for a busy assistant to work on three or four projects simultaneously. If you don't have good organizational skills, it's difficult to keep track of every project component. Plus, bosses expect their administrative assistants to complete work quickly and competently, so good time-management skills are necessary to meet deadlines and ensure enough time to meet the needs of the people you support.
In a digital world, excellent computer skills are a must as well. If you aren't familiar with programs such as Microsoft Office, take computer classes at your local college or technical center. To succeed as an administrative assistant, you must feel comfortable reading and responding to email, using the Internet for business research, creating and formatting documents, and using spreadsheets to track expenses and other financial data. If you have trouble typing, use online tutorials to improve your speed.
An administrative assistant also needs a variety of soft skills to succeed. Soft skills are skills that are not easy to measure or quantify. Typing is a hard skill because you can measure your typing speed and compare it to the speeds of other administrative professionals. However, soft skills include enthusiasm, teamwork and the ability to solve problems.
Communication is also considered a soft skill. Without well-developed communication skills, it's difficult to share your point of view with others. Polish your communication skills by taking writing courses, joining a public-speaking group or reading about communication theory in your downtime.
With the right administrative assistant qualifications, you can build a rewarding career in any industry. If you want to become an administrative assistant, do whatever you can to improve your computer skills. Try new organizational techniques to see if you can improve your efficiency. Put in some extra effort now to make getting a job easier later.
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