What Skills does a Great Administrative Assistant Possess?

Whether you are applying for an Admin Assistant job or looking to hire one, it is imperative to know the key skills that signal a great hire.

But first what is an Administrative Assistant and is it another title for Receptionist?

Traditionally, a receptionist sat at a front desk at reception and greeted visitors, received mail and often kept the office running smoothly as the defacto office manager. In today’s business reality of flat org charts, open concept, remote working, and technology, most receptionist jobs have morphed into several different roles requiring a multitude of skills. Now more than ever, Administrative Assistant roles are a great way to get your foot in the door and show case your skills and fit within an organization.

Some other commonly used job titles that have overlapping job functions with an Admin Assistant role are:

  • Receptionist
  • Data entry clerk
  • Office manager
  • Customer service representative
  • Office clerk
  • Office coordinator
  • Supply clerk
  • Intake clerk

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What skills do I need to lead an Administrative Assistant role?

1. Excellent Communication skills

Honed communication skills are probably one of the most critical requirements of this role. Thankfully, your application has plenty of opportunities to highlight this key skill. Make sure that your resume looks well-written and is free of typos. You can use free plugins such as ‘Grammarly’ to get your punctuation and grammar spot on.  You can also highlight any experience that involved active listening skills or great customer service. A great resume must highlight good communication, experience using multiple line phone systems, greeting visitors, and email correspondence.

2. Professionalism

As an Admin Assistant, you might be the first point of contact for any outsider and it is imperative that you always display professionalism.  Depending on the nature of business, different organizations expect different levels of professionalism pertaining to your communication style, your appearance, and general attitude. Make sure to tailor your resume to match the industry you are applying to. It is a good idea to generally keep a formal tone. After all—you only get only one chance at making a first impression.

3. Organizational skills

Any supporting role in the 21st century will have multiple responsibilities. Multi-tasking and organising are your two key skills. Administrative support is the organizational hub of any office. This means the role may not be limited to managing incoming visitors, calls and general inquiries. It can also extend to maintaining, updating or organizing database, scheduling and arranging conference calls, managing office supplies and maintaining important documents (contracts, leases etc.). It may also include keeping track of any payables to vendors, utilities etc. All these functions must be managed proficiently and calmly. When applying highlight these functions to let your employer know of your capability and competency to handle multiple functions in a timely manner.

4. Technical ability

In today’s world there is no industry devoid of technical advancements. An administrative assistant role demands you to have some basic technology skills. Being adept in Microsoft Office program is a must. But some businesses also look for additional specialized skills such as expertise in a particular database software. Include any software programs that you have worked on in the past to make your resume stand apart. Even if the software may not be relevant to the current role you are applying for, it shows your potential employer that you are willing to learn new technology.  

5. Dependability

To an employer, it is important that an employee is dependable and trusted with work. Demonstrate situations where you worked unsupervised. As a candidate, make sure to highlight these aspects of your personality in your resume.

6. Proactive problem-solver

Admin Assistants perform a multitude of tasks that go beyond the traditional functions outlined in your resume. At times, this may need you to perform independently or handle unique complex functions that you may have not handled before. It is a great idea to highlight examples of such tasks from your past experience in your resume. This depicts your ability to take initiative and your problem-solving skills.

Highlighting the above six skills in your resume, will make your resume stand out. Establish how you have been able to use or learn some of these skills and technology on your resume. Give a creative and concise account of your experience. During your interview and throughout your correspondence with recruiters or potential employers, make sure to be prompt and responsive.

Want more tips on writing resumes? Check out our webpage:  https://www.agilus.ca/writing-a-resume

Regional Manager, Agilus Work Solutions

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