Administrative professionals have come a long way from the days when they were only expected to be able to type, make coffee and perhaps take shorthand. As of 2015, administrative professionals are a vital part of any executive team and must be in command of a whole array of must-have skills. While project management skills are at the top of the list, many other skills make an administrative professional an in-demand employee.
Project Management Skills
Depending on the industry, administrative professionals are increasingly being asked to take on the roles and responsibilities that used to be assigned to middle managers, many of whose positions have been eliminated in the past several years. As a result, project management skills are increasingly must-have skills for administrative professionals, who now should be prepared to manage teams of employees as they work together on projects. They may also have to create presentations, including the content and the multimedia aspects. As administrative professionals take over project management duties, they must make sure that their own work aligns with the company or department's overall goals.
Increasingly, administrative professionals must leverage their social skills to stay competitive in their careers. New must-have skills include the ability to interact with vendors and clients. A key must-have skill is that of listening; while it may be an old-school skill, it becomes vital when an administrative professional is representing her company, working with clients or understanding what her boss really wants to achieve. In addition, as administrative professionals increasingly take on project management responsibilities, they must be able to share information clearly and crisply, both in written and oral form.
While it's long been the case that the administrative professionals were the ones expected to understand how to change the paper in the copy machine, the technological demands on an administrative professional have increased greatly in the past decade. Administrative professionals are now expected to handle all sorts of IT, including calendaring programs, their company's proprietary software, social media, cloud computing options, video conferencing, mobile apps and far more. Not only must they be supremely competent using cutting-edge hardware and software, they must be able to train others on how to use new technology. Administrative professionals should stay on top of changes in their field, attending professional development seminars, webinars and other training whenever possible.
As the needs of business continue to change and administrative professionals take on increasing responsibilities in the areas of project management, IT and communications, the range of associated must-have skills also keeps expanding. As administrative professionals up their game to meet the changing needs of their companies, they end up making themselves more valuable and employable for the future as well.
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