Administrative Assistants Must Become More Technical

Michele Warg
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The administrative assistant skills necessary to be successful in an administrative support role have changed significantly over the past 15 to 20 years. Managers and executives are now using computer-based tools to perform many common tasks themselves, such as sending their own correspondence and maintaining their schedules electronically. In this environment, tech savvy assistants have thrived instead of becoming obsolete.

Secretaries have traditionally had to master such tasks as writing letters, organizing mass mailings and keeping track of meetings and other scheduled company events. With the rise of word processing, calendar and project tracking software, many of these routine tasks are now performed not by them but by their bosses. Executives no longer rely on the administrative assistant skills of their employees to send emails or select the best spot for lunch. The learning curve for new technology, especially given the wide variety of productivity tools available, can be steep, so tech savvy assistants who can advise and instruct managers on the best practices and most efficient uses of these tools are in an enviable position.

The administrative assistant skills necessary to succeed in today's workplace reflect the new roles that assistants are stepping into in many organizations. Each company has different needs and uses for technology, and an effective assistant can help pinpoint the ways in which technical tools or concepts can most efficiently meet those needs. Thus, one of the most valuable administrative assistant skills an employee can have is the ability to be a proactive problem solver.

For those who have filled an administrative role for a long time, adapting to the new requirements for job longevity can be challenging. Some assistants resist change for as long as possible, but most find that once they've made the transition and successfully implemented new systems and tools, their work lives are the better for it. From social media, cloud computing and graphics to presentation building and editing, the critical administrative assistant skills in the modern business world allow motivated employees, regardless of their rank within the organization, to flex their creativity in more ways than ever before.

This, of course, opens up many more options in terms of future employment. Work experience and level of comfort with current technology are important to prospective employers in almost every industry. Candidates with professional experience plus good computer and technical skills typically have much better job prospects than those without a working knowledge of at least some systems and processes.

Many of the administrative assistant skills required in the past are no longer necessary. Those skills need to be upgraded to meet the demands of a tech savvy workplace. A successful administrative assistant understands that knowing the most effective uses for technology in her particular industry is the best way to not just remain employed, but to excel in today's workplace.


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    I worked as an Admin for many years. Back then, secretarial skills were the norm - typing, filing, using office machines, using a PBX, handling travel and expense claims and so on. But today things have changed. Today's Admin needs to know all about social media - sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ to name a few. They need to be able to learn new software programs quickly and to be able to train others on its use. They need to be tech savvy when it comes to mobile devices and how they work. Today's world operates at a much faster pace than it did even 5 years ago and Admin Assistants need to be able to keep up with the challenges.

  • Vera O.
    Vera O.

    Since every work environment is different, the skills required would be specific to one's own work environment. Every admin should be able to determine what skills are required in order for them to advance within their field of employment.


    great article but more info on what skills are being referred to would help.

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