The demand for qualified administrative professionals is increasing. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is declaring that “Employment of administrative services managers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.”
So, how do you stack up against your competition in a job market that is sure to be competitive?
You may already possess some administrative skills, as many of them are transferable so you may have acquired some during your schooling.
However, while the industry is growing, it is also evolving. New technology, different methods of business operations, and new forms of communication have made their way into many office positions.
Hone in on these 5 skills below to get the upper hand in consideration for any office position!
1. Communication Skills
Virtually every office position requires you to be able to exhibit strong communication skills. In many instances, you’ll be the first point of contact, whether that will be in person or on the phone, for a customer.
It’s essential for you to be able to communicate clearly and concisely, knowing and relaying the correct information accurately to even the most demanding and frustrated of customers.
Correctly informing managers or executives of customer inquiries via email, written, and verbal communication is vital to a company and is looked for by employers.
As our country evolves, so do many industries. Of these evolving industries is the administrative field, and many businesses are are starting to welcome accommodations for many other cultures — specifically the Spanish speaking community. This means if you are bilingual, you will automatically have a leg up in the competition.
If you aren’t bilingual, you can always start learning — there are many free apps to start learning another language. Employers will have their eye on you if you can communicate effectively with English speaking customers, but will be actively seeking you out if you can effectively communicate with customers who speak another language without a hitch.
2. Organizational and Time Management Skills
In many administrative roles, an adept sense of how to account for simultaneous priorities such as scheduling, customer management, and many other daily operations will be a skill looked upon fondly by employers.
Keeping the office running like a finely-tuned machine is essential to a business, and without the ability to make and meet deadlines, company operations will falter.
Needless to say, the capability to organize office duties such as scheduling appointments, recordkeeping, and even giving strong presentations is a crucial skill to be able to demonstrate. To take some of the load off of an administrative professional, the implementation of various software to help with many of these organizational duties.
Knowledge of specific software leads to the next skill you must possess to compete in the administrative job market.
3. Technological Proficiency
Knowing your way around a computer, and a strong comprehension — or ability to comprehend — the necessary software for business and administrative operations is a must have on your resume.
In our current digital world, tasks such as documentation, scheduling, and many forms of communication are done online or assisted with software. It is imperative you keep up with technological advancements to be able to perform tasks quicker and more efficiently than your competition.
It’s one thing to have a familiarity with software such as Microsoft Office, but knowing all the tips and tricks to create a comprehensive spreadsheet in Excel, or understanding all the functions to create a well thought out presentation in PowerPoint will project a high degree of professionalism to your employers and coworkers.
So, make it a point to master Microsoft Word to create a flawless resume with no formatting or spelling errors you can be sure your prospective employers will make a note of.
4. Leadership & Self-Motivation
One desired attribute of a successful administration professional that employers look for in a candidate is the ability to be a self-starter.
Employers are looking for this skill because it is hard to teach a person how to motivate themselves. The competency to be able to get things done by yourself without having to occupy others’ time will be appreciated by your co-workers, and subsequently, your employer.
Other characteristics of a self-starter include analytical and creative thinking, managing clients and projects by yourself, and otherwise providing solutions to problems. All these skills easily transfer into leadership roles as well.
In higher level administrative roles — office manager, HR coordinator, executive assistant — leadership, self-motivational, and general motivational skills are a must.
Presenting pertinent information to customers and employees alike, while embodying company goals and values is just part of the job.
Being able to demonstrate professionalism, self-control, and adaptation while handling the stress of many administrative duties will bump you up to the top of the list of contenders for any office position.
In many administrative fields such as HR, medical, and even business, you will come across information not meant for the general public. Only entrusting this information to the parties involved and those who are qualified to be informed will be of the utmost importance. In many instances, it may be the law.
Recognizing, agreeing to, and exhibiting sound judgment of company confidentiality policies is a significant skill to have in the administrative industry.
If you do not possess this skill, no employer will feel secure to authorize you with the privileged information of their business, or its co-workers and customers.
As stated above, you may have picked up these skills somewhere in the past. However, sharpening, expanding, and focusing these skills through an administrative lens will get you ready for anything in the administrative industry.
Furthermore, most of these are easily transferable, especially within the administrative sectors, to fluidly transition to any office position. There’s always room for development in these five areas, so get out there and take a class, read a book, or look up YouTube videos on how to craft these attributes into strengths to interview for the office position with confidence!