Job candidates with strong administrative skills are in high demand for jobs in virtually every industry.
People with these skills help maintain a smoothly run office while supporting the efforts of their supervisors and stakeholders alike. Without them, a company can quickly turn chaotic, hindering productivity and resulting in unhappy employees. Individuals in administrative positions must be able to handle many moving parts and challenging situations at once.
If you're looking to open yourself up for raises and promotions, it's wise to develop extraordinary administrative skills.
What Are Administrative Skills?
Administrative skills are those related to running a business or keeping an office organized, and are needed for a variety of jobs, ranging from office assistants to secretaries to office managers.
Employees in nearly every industry and company need strong administrative skills. These skills are highly transferable, meaning that the same abilities used at a company specializing in real estate will be relevant and needed at a tech company, too.
People with administrative skills offer the support that enables companies to succeed at their core mission, whether it's serving clients or selling widgets. Technical skills, such as an ability to use programs such as Microsoft Office, are important in administrative jobs. But so too are soft skills, such as communication and organizational abilities.
Types of Administrative Skills
Take a look at the following list of the important administrative skills that most employers seek in candidates. It also includes sublists of related administrative skills.
Develop these skills and emphasize them in job applications, resumes, cover letters, and interviews. Showing that you have the specific skills the company is seeking will help you get hired and promoted.
Communication is a critical administrative soft skill. Administrative employees often have to interact with employers, staff, and clients, either in person or on the phone. It is important that they speak clearly and loudly, maintaining a positive tone.
Being a good communicator also means being a good listener. You need to listen carefully to managers, other employees, and clients’ questions and concerns.
Written communication skills are also extremely important. Most administrative positions involve a lot of writing. Administrative employees are often asked to write a variety of documents, including memos for their employers, copy for the company website, or email messages for staff or clients. They must be able to write clearly, accurately, and professionally.
Other communication tasks and skills include:
- Answering Telephones
- Business Correspondence
- Calling Clients
- Client Relations
- Customer Service
- Directing Clients
- Greeting Clients
- Greeting Employees
- Greeting Visitors
- Oral Communication
- Public Relations
- Public Speaking
- Written Communication
Administrative employees have to operate a variety of technological tools, ranging from the Microsoft Office Suite to WordPress to online scheduling programs. They also have to use, and often maintain, office equipment such as faxes, scanners, and printers.
Here is a list of other tech knowledge or skills required for administrative employees:
- Desktop Publishing
- Document Management
- Maintaining Office Records
- Microsoft Office
- Office Equipment
- Ordering Office Supplies
- Order Processing
- Record Keeping
- Running Office Machines
- Time & Billing
- Typing from Dictation
- Videoconference Preparation
- Word Processing
Administrative jobs of all kinds require strong organizational skills to juggle many tasks. Administrative support staff have to manage various calendars, schedule appointments, and keep the office running efficiently.
Here are organizational skills needed for administrative jobs:
- Appointment Setting
- Attention to Detail
- Calendar & Docketing
- Legal Familiarity
- Office Administration
- Office Management
- Sorting and Delivering Mail
- Time Management
- Travel Arrangements
Another important administrative skill is being able to plan and schedule things in advance. This might mean managing someone’s appointments, creating a plan for when employees are sick, or developing office procedural systems. An administrator needs to be able to plan ahead and prepare for any potential office issues.
Here are other planning-related skills administrative jobs require:
- Event Coordination
- Goal Setting
- Implementing Actions
- Making Appointments
- Meeting Planning
- Monitoring Actions
Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are important for any administrative position. Administrators are often the go-to person that staff and clients seek out for help with questions or problems. They must be able to hear a variety of problems and solve them using critical thinking.
Here are the problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed:
- Client Relations
- Critical Thinking
- Decision Making
- Employee Relations
- Issue Resolution
- Office Coordination
- Team Working
More Administrative Skills
Here are additional administrative skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications, and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.
- Equipment Handling
- Maintain Focus
- Strategic Planning
- Take Initiative
- Written Communication
Review Resume and Cover Letter Samples
Review examples of a resume and cover letter for an administrative position.
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME: Include the terms most closely related to the job in your resume, especially in the description of your work history.
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS IN YOUR COVER LETTER: Incorporate your administrative skills into your cover letter. Include one or two skills, and give specific examples of instances when you demonstrated these traits at work.
USE SKILL WORDS DURING JOB INTERVIEWS: You can also use these words in your job interviews. Be prepared to give examples of how you've used each of these skills when you're responding to administrative interview questions.