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8 Administrative Office Skills: Employers Are Looking For

To begin with office skills and the lot, I’d like to make clear if you’re not involved in the office already then “office skills” might have a vague meaning to you. So, in this blog article, we’ll be looking at the Office skills you need to be a successful office administrator. 

Office skills are basic administrative skills that keep an office running without hiccups. Most recruiters will look for experience or knowledge of basic office skills before they hire anyone. These skills are needed to mainly facilitate appointments, customers, workflow and employees efficiency.

By acquiring these skills, you’ll be better equipped at anticipating and fulfilling supervisor or employee needs. It’ll also ensure that any prospect feels welcome and has a smooth experience through a well-managed office.

Table of Contents

What do administrative assistants do?

In order to understand administrative office skills, you need to understand what office assistants do. Depending on the role and experience and the scale of the business a secretary or admin assistant will be found doing a variety of tasks. 

Tasks might range from ordering office supplies to taking the minutes of meetings, to inducting new staff members and even organising executive travel. You might also have to coordinate appointments, answer emails on behalf of executives, organise events, conduct budgeting, boost employee morale, accounting, project management and much more.

In order to carry out this variety of duties, a secretary or administrator needs to master every skill effectively. For instance touch typing, Microsoft Office and general computer literacy. Managing budgets is also an essential task. On top of this, it is important to be able to respond to random incidents promptly.

How far up can an assistant go?

An ambitious and dedicated admin assistant can work on professional development consistently, upskilling in the areas of new technologies, HR protocols, accounting expertise or management decision making. It’s important to take each job as a learning opportunity, and once mastered each role, should move on to the next. 

Admin professionals may begin as a receptionist or part of an admin intern team. However, it is possible to work up to operations management or senior executive assistant positions with diligence.

As an assistant, you need to have the clear goal of becoming well trained in C-suite business Learning makes you an asset so use this opportunity efficiently in the best interests of your employer and yourself.  

Why are office skills important?

Most offices need administrators who possess effective office practices. Office administrators are responsible for efficiency that makes you consider many factors. They can often be the first impression potential or current customers get of the company. That’s why proper office skills are essential to maintain professional office culture. With a professional office administrator completing all their tasks efficiently using office skills, the overall company’s performance can remain successful

8 office skills that admins are looking for

While the degree of efficiency you have with these skills is going to vary depending on your specific role in the office. Acquiring a couple or all of these is surely going to make you an excellent choice for recruiters. 

1. Adept in Technology

An admin employee has to take care of a variety of tasks such as data entry, managing team calendars, and creating company reports. Which means being well versed with these makes for highly sought assistants. 

Each and every company has specific software and equipment associated with the core business model. Here’s a list of basic to specialised level tech knowledge you need to have: 


If you’re not already able to use a Computer effectively, get yourself some training. If your computer literacy is not up to the mark there’s no way to hide it. There are tons of responsibilities you can’t take up i.e. Desktop Publishing, Document Management etc. 


The truth is being good with a computer comes hand in hand with using the internet. One without the other is a disaster. Hence learn the basics of Internet usage before you claim it on your resume.


As we mentioned before there are tons of software catering to each type of business and the role you play in it. Some might only need you for documents while others may need complete graphical and analytical support. The software you need to learn include but are not limited to, Microsoft Office, Outlook, QuickBooks, Spreadsheets. Other functionalities would be Time & Billing software, Transcription, Typing, Typing from Dictation, Videoconference Preparation, Voicemail, Word Processing, Customer Relations Management etc.

2. Verbal & Written Communication

Communication is one of the most important administrative skills you can exhibit as an admin assistant. The company needs to know they can rely on you as the negotiator on their behalf. This includes maintaining correspondence with customers, suppliers, or partners in a timely and professional manner. Moreover, it’s important for admin assistants or clerks to have a positive attitude for each interaction with customers, guests, and other employees.

Other communication tasks and skills include answering telephones, business correspondence, calling clients, client relations, customer service and onboarding, directing clients, editing, email, filing, greeting clients, greeting employees, greeting visitors, interpersonal exchange, listening, oral communication, presentation, public relations, public speaking, receptionist, stenography, teamwork, written communication.

Read More:
1. 20+ Effective Communication Skills (Good for a Resume)
2. A Definitive Guide To Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills
3. The Importance of Listening Skills in Communication
4. 10 Essential Communication Skills for Workplace

3. Organization

Without strong organization skills, it takes very little time for an office space to become chaotic. Office administration always expects you to be organised as an administrative assistant, so you can keep the whole office organized as well. You’ll regularly have to organize team schedules, events, and synchronise files with a system that makes sense for everyone. This ensures that your fellow team members do their jobs without error.

To be frank it’s going to be a lot tougher for you to juggle the variety of tasks without it making sense to yourself. However, your goal is to ensure smooth functioning in the office which means the systems you need to make the systems easy and efficient for your colleagues to follow.


Here are organizational skills needed for active office space:

  • Accuracy
  • Billing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Calendar & Docketing
  • Clerical
  • Efficiency
  • Filing
  • Inventory
  • Legal Knowledge
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Office Administration
  • Office Management
  • Sorting and Delivering Mail
  • Time Management
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Planning

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4. Time Management

Admin assistants are a resource for the whole company. So, it’s rare you’ll get extra time for your own responsibilities. To make sure your time is efficiently utilised, it’s crucial that you actively manage time. Otherwise, you’ll end up stretching your limits. Not only will you have to micromanage individual tasks and time.

5. Strategic Planning

As an admin assistant, you need the skill of being able to plan strategically similar to time management. This means prioritizing tasks to ensure office time and resources are best utilised. Arranging employee and executive calendars and keeping the operation afloat during difficult times is meant to be a part of strategic planning.

Here are some much needed planning-related skills administrative jobs require:

  • Analytics
  • Communication
  • Cost evaluation
  • Event Calendar management
  • Implementing a Standardised Work Environment
  • Scheduling and Prioritising Appointments
  • Monitoring Performance Indexes
  • The foresight of potential mishaps and inefficiencies
  • Resourcefulness

If you’ve already worked as an administrative professional, you already know that you’ll be in tight spots that’ll need you to adapt. Business is time-sensitive and being able to adapt quickly to get the job done is essential. 

To do this, you need to be resourceful and use creative thinking skills. This is especially important when you’re in the office and your boss isn’t—as an assistant you need to be able to multitask to explore new ways to manage high-pressure situations.

6. Attention to detail

In handling sensitive client or partner communication and accuracy matters. Being detail specific helps with data entry tasks and reporting to ensure that your work is reliable. Missing small details in a memo or report leaves a trace of impunity which isn’t a desirable state for your clients

For the most part, you will be asked to maintain client relations, collaborate with fellow teammates, apply critical thinking to problems, take tough decisions under pressure, manage inter employee relations, implementing resolutions, mediation of issues, coordinating workflow, supervising and training employees, anticipate and troubleshoot systemic complications.

7. Anticipating Needs

The difference between a great assistant and an ok one is the ability to anticipate needs and enable others preemptively. An amazing assistant will take initiative to do what needs to be done to support the business instead of waiting on approval or direction. 

If you feel the company contact list is out of date? Update it to make your own work easier by updating it. Your bosses will appreciate this in the long run.

8. Teamworking

Admin assistants need to think of the whole office as a team. This requires smooth mediation and transfer of workflow. You need to facilitate the team by ensuring quality and accountability which can prove vital for your employers. At any interview, make sure you can describe events as examples of competence. It doesn’t have to be in a work setting, outside of work for example, in a sports team or voluntary role) works just as well.

In some cases, admin assistants work within a team of admin staff, while others are strictly support oriented. In either case, you will need to process the objectives of the business and each team working within it. This knowledge helps evaluate how your role and individual objectives contribute to your company’s goals. Self-motivation and taking initiative is crucial in this role. While teamwork is important, you’ll also manage your own workload and take initiative.

Bonus skill

Business Acumen

Admin assistants who get to know the company’s business model become essential for a business. Job candidates should show they have an understanding of what the business does and how it operates.

Before your interview, make sure you understand the business as much as possible. Browse the company website, call up for an informal visit or talking to the contact person named in the vacancy advert are good ways to get a little more.

During your research, focus on the company’s workflow, obvious deadlines and overall management strategy. If you’re successful, this knowledge will help you prioritise efficiently and organise your workload effectively while requiring minimal time.

Ending Notes

Employers want staff who can manage their work capabilities. Work on improving your general administration skills is how you move up. Having solid skills and hands-on experience in these areas will give you a competitive edge at any recruitment prospect.

When applying for jobs, ensure you read the advert, job description and person specification. It’s important to tailor each application to the specific business you are applying for. If you want to stand out from the crowd, do your research on the employer. Knowing what they want to hear is always a plus in front of the interview board. You could also consider developing more specialist skills (such as coding, accounts software or social media management), to prove versatility.

Office Skills and Administration Level 7
This course teaches core competencies in business writing and professional communication and will improve your customer service skills.
Office Skills and Administration Level 7
This course teaches core competencies in business writing and professional communication and will improve your customer service skills.
Learn without limits
Access to 1000+ premium courses including:
November 10, 2021

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