Important Skills for Administrative Jobs

Administrative Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Administrative assistant on phone
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Job candidates with strong administrative skills are in high demand for jobs in virtually every industry. Professionals in administrative positions must be able to handle many moving parts and challenging situations at once. They help maintain a smoothly run office while supporting the efforts of their supervisors and stakeholders alike. Develop extraordinary administrative skills to open yourself up for raises and promotions.

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.

Types of Administrative Skills

© The Balance, 2018

Below is a list of the crucial 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

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
  • Communication
  • Correspondence
  • Customer Service
  • Directing Clients
  • Editing
  • Email
  • Filing
  • Greeting Clients
  • Greeting Employees
  • Greeting Visitors
  • Interpersonal
  • Listening
  • Oral Communication
  • Presentation
  • Public Relations
  • Public Speaking
  • Receptionist
  • Stenography
  • Teamwork
  • Writing
  • Written Communication

Technology

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 skill required for administrative employees:

  • Computer
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Document Management
  • Faxing
  • Internet
  • Maintaining Office Records
  • Microsoft Office
  • Office Equipment
  • Ordering Office Supplies
  • Order Processing
  • Outlook
  • QuickBooks
  • Record Keeping
  • Research
  • Running Office Machines
  • Software
  • Spreadsheets
  • Time & Billing
  • Transcription
  • Typing
  • Typing from Dictation
  • Videoconference Preparation
  • Voicemail
  • Word Processing

Organization

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 efficiently.

Here are organizational skills needed for administrative jobs:

  • Accuracy
  • Appointment Setting
  • Attention to Detail
  • Billing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Calendar & Docketing
  • Clerical
  • Efficiency
  • Filing
  • Inventory
  • Legal Familiarity
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Office Administration
  • Office Management
  • Sorting and Delivering Mail
  • Time Management
  • Travel Arrangements

Planning

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:

  • Analytical
  • Communicating
  • Evaluating
  • Event Coordination
  • Goal Setting
  • Implementing Actions
  • Making Appointments
  • Meeting Planning
  • Monitoring Actions
  • Organized
  • Predicting
  • Prioritizing

Problem-Solving 

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:

  • Assertive
  • Client Relations
  • Collaborative
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Employee Relations
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Implementing
  • Issue Resolution
  • Mediation
  • Office Coordination
  • Research
  • Supervising
  • Team Working
  • Training
  • Troubleshooting

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.

  • Dynamic
  • Equipment Handling
  • Filing
  • Flexibility
  • Maintain Focus
  • Organizational
  • Patient
  • Pleasant
  • Professionalism
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-Motivation
  • 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.