Nearly every successful business relies on a skilled administrative assistant or group of administrative assistants to maintain the workflow and increase productivity. Today's administrative assistant doesn't merely play a secretarial role, says OfficeTeam executive director Robert Half. "They add value in a way that makes them critical to an organization's success." What are the specific qualities that make an exceptional administrative assistant?
1. Know the Industry
No matter what business your company falls into, you must know the inner workings of that industry to be an effective assistant. Knowing industry terminology is important since you must be able to effectively communicate with superiors, co-workers and vendors. Staying abreast of industry trends makes it easier for you to come up with ideas that help your company grow and maintain its competitive edge. Being well-versed in the latest industry technology as well as the technology your company most commonly uses ensures you remain a critical member of the team.
2. Technical Savvy
The average administrative assistant knows his way around Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. However, knowing how to use additional technology gives you an advantage. Being able to create and conduct virtual meetings and phone conferences, having the ability to create effective PowerPoint presentations and using email marketing tools are all incredibly effective ways to power through your duties. Knowing how to utilize payroll applications and accounting software also adds value to your role and ultimately saves your company money otherwise spent on a separate accounting assistant.
3. Communication Skills
Any good administrative assistant knows the value of having excellent communication skills. Administrative assistants are typically the primary liaison between company executives, clients, employees, vendors and customers, and as such, they must be able to communicate clearly and professionally in writing and verbally.
4. Increasing the Bottom Line
Businesses are always looking for ways to increase profits while minimizing expenses. An exceptional administrative assistant should always come up with new ways to help their company accomplish this feat. Pay attention to the day-to-day operations, business relationships and contracts you come across, pinpoint solutions that can cut costs and present them to upper management.
A great administrative assistant is able to think creatively and react quickly in unexpected situations. Today's workplace presents a number of possible sticky situations. Being able to roll with the punches and stretch beyond your supportive functions makes you an essential part of your company's team.
These five qualities make the difference between an average administrative assistant and an exceptional one. It is an administrative professional's job to not only lend support to upper executives, but to also help increase overall productivity while finding new ways to benefit the company and improve its operations. With the right combination of technical savvy and interpersonal skills, a good administrative assistant can remain a key player in any company within any industry.
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