Administrative assistants are the central characters of any successful business. Great administrative assistants have a good combination of soft skills, such as communication, organization and professionalism, and technical skills relevant to their industry and specific role. Becoming an incomparable administrative assistant requires honing these skills and constantly improving.
Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential to being a great administrative assistant. Often, the administrative assistant is the central point of contact between clients, vendors, managers, employees and outside visitors. She must be able to communicate and relay messages between parties using clear, professional language to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. She is also usually responsible for creating meeting agendas, emails, letters and presentations; therefore, excellent writing skills are a must.
Organization skills are incredibly important to any administrative assistant, regardless of industry. Admin support staff are tasked with keeping schedules together, maintaining calendars, scheduling meetings, and managing funds and supplies. Being able to remember important dates and details requires administrative assistants to be able to multitask and keep detailed notes and reminders.
Most administrative assistants have a strong knowledge of software for spreadsheets, presentations, word processing and email. Other useful knowledge includes bookkeeping software, phone systems, video conferencing, social media and mobile device management, as well as being able to operate and troubleshoot office machinery, such as fax and copy machines, printers, and scanners. Constantly updating your technological knowledge as trends come and go is important to becoming more valuable within your company.
It is important for admin support staff to be able to understand common terminology used within their respective industries. Being able to communicate effectively with co-workers and supervisors allows you to be a part of meetings and brainstorming sessions in more than a support capacity. Staying ahead of industry trends also allows you to look for ways to provide new ideas to your management to proactively help your company stay ahead of the game.
There is no typical day in the life of an administrative assistant. While there are the usual daily or weekly tasks to complete, the admin must also be prepared for curve balls such as last-minute meetings, urgent travel needs, reorganization or other changing situations. A valuable administrative assistant can roll with the punches and perform her duties calmly and professionally in highly dynamic situations.
Being an indispensable administrative assistant requires constantly learning new things and growing in the role. Make it a priority to learn key functions of other jobs in your company; this enriches your knowledge of your company and industry, as well as enables you to provide assistance to anyone who needs you.
Becoming an indispensable administrative assistant not only helps usher your growth within your company, but it also helps you maintain job security. The more your skills and abilities improve, the more responsibility and trust your superior places on you. While technical skills are incredibly important to a successful administrative assistant, so too are great people skills.
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