5 Qualities Companies Look for in a Good Administrative Assistant

Michele Warg
Posted by

In today's modern and often challenging workplace, an administrative assistant serves as the nucleus of the office. Admins play an essential role as the liaison between a company's clients, vendors, upper management and employees, and as such, they must possess a unique mix of hard and soft skills. Among the desirable traits companies look for in a good administrative assistant are five absolutely essential qualities.

1. Communication

Excellent communication skills are extremely important to success as an administrative assistant. Admins must relay information in a clear, professional manner to vendors, clients, customers and upper management, so top-notch written and verbal communication skills are a must. Patience and emotional fortitude are necessary as well, as admins often are called upon to solve conflicts between parties and diffuse sensitive situations.

2. Technology

Although administrative assistant is not a technical position, admins are often required or requested to perform technical tasks. Possessing a basic foundation of knowledge in Microsoft Office is an absolute minimum to perform well in a modern office. Admins also need to know how to set up videoconferencing meetings, webinars, training modules and other internal functions. Being able to deftly navigate social media and the Internet at large are handy skills any good admin must possess.

3. Organization

As the administrative assistant, it's your job to keep everyone else in the office organized, so you must first demonstrate superior organizational skills for yourself. Keeping a neat, efficient and orderly work space allows you to work faster with minimal distraction; staying on top of files, appointments and tasks is crucial for success in your line of work.

4. Discretion

Because administrative assistants work in close proximity with executives, managers, accountants and directors, they're often privy to sensitive and confidential information. It's extremely important to maintain the utmost professionalism and discretion at all times; your superiors need to be able to trust you completely with both private and professional matters of a sensitive nature, and they often rely on you as a dependable source of accurate information.

5. Time Management

Excellent time management skills are mandatory for administrative assistants. Being able to prioritize tasks, manage multiple calendars for yourself and your superiors, and remain productive when faced with last-minute requests and distractions is a skill not for the faint of heart. Multitasking is often necessary on a daily basis in order to stay on top of everything, including keeping your manager on time and ready for appointments, meetings and travel.

As duties vary by company, it's imperative that administrative assistants master these qualities and also remain adaptable to their situations. A great admin embodies all of the listed characteristics and then some. Administrative work, no matter what name it goes by, requires a special type of person who can combine hard technical skills with fine-tuned soft skills to navigate a dynamic workplace.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Peter M thanks for your question. Typically you will find a receptionist in a larger company. He/she is the one who mans the front desk; who takes calls; directs people; greets people and so on. A receptionist if normally for the whole company, not just for a department or division. An Administrative Assistant will normally work in a department and will answer to one or more bosses. He/she will be involved in taking calls/messages for the boss, types up memos, emails and other correspondence as needed. I have been in both positions in my past. As an AA, I had two bosses and I was responsible for creating and putting together presentations for meetings; setting up meetings; maintaining everyone's calendars; taking calls; being on different committees within the company and anything else that my bosses needed. As a receptionist, I sat in one location and was the face that greeted visitors. I would get them to where they needed to be. I would answer the phone, take care of the mail and generally be the face of the organization. Hope that helps.

  • Peter M.
    Peter M.

    What is the difference between an administration assistant and a receptionist.

Jobs to Watch