Important Job Skills for Office Managers

Office manager at work station
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 Thomas Barwick /  Stone / Getty Images Plus

 

Often confused with a secretary or administrative assistant, office managers in many companies operate at a very high level with one of the most challenging jobs in the entire building. Office managers typically lead and work closely with other department heads to build a healthy work environment.

Those looking to hire an office manager are going to be selective. If you desire this type of work, you can dramatically improve your chances of getting hired by knowing which of your skills and experiences to highlight during the application and interview process.

What Skills Do You Need to Be an Office Manager?

Office managers take responsibility for making sure the entire office or complex of offices runs smoothly. This could include duties such as managing and supervising one or several administrative assistants. Office managers usually do not need specialized education, but they do need plenty of relevant experience and well-developed skill sets in both administrative and management roles.

Not all office manager positions require exactly the same skill set. Much depends on how many office assistants you must supervise, how many people use the office you'll manage, and what kinds of software and other systems your employer uses.

Types of Office Manager Skills

Administrative

As an office manager, you'll be responsible for completing several administrative tasks. These include hiring and firing employees, conducting performance evaluations, training new employees, and supervising others. Approving formal requisitions, conducting general business operations and maintaining paperwork and personnel records may fall into your jurisdiction as well.

Analytical

Part of your role will be to find ways to do your job better. If you can identify inefficiencies in how your office runs and provide solutions, you may be able to save your employer a lot of money and save your colleagues a lot of aggravation.

A great office manager will continually ask herself, regarding all processes, practices, and procedures, “Does this make sense? Is this the best we can do?” It is recommended to include a list of analytic skills on your resume.

Attention to Detail 

As the office manager, the buck stops with you. You will be responsible for ordering the correct office supplies in a timely way, for maintaining records accurately and in an organized manner, and for keeping track of the needs and issues of everyone else in the office. If you do your job well, the office will seem to run itself. If you get some details wrong, other people may be unable to fully do their jobs.

  • Recordkeeping
  • Detail-oriented
  • Intuition
  • Proactivity
  • Accuracy
  • Identifying Systemic Issues

Communication

Like office assistants, you will often be one of the first people visitors see, and you may at times be the only one they see if one of the professionals working in your office happens to be out. You must act as an effective receptionist while simultaneously carrying out your other duties.

You may also be the primary point of contact among various people who use the office and possibly between your office and others within the same organization. You may have to practice conflict resolution and delegate work. All of that adds up to a lot of communication, both written and verbal, all of which must be accurate, efficient, friendly, and professional at all times.

  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Reception
  • Phone Etiquette
  • Approachable
  • Active Listening

Computer

It's important that office managers have a wide range of computer skills. The specifics will depend on your employer but usually involve data entry, spreadsheets, and general IT tasks.

Managing offices can involve a tremendous amount of responsibility. Office managers generally work at the apex of an organization, with their hands in every aspect of the company. If this central role appeals to you, continue to review the skills list to see if this could be a career for you.

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Operating Systems
  • Data Entry
  • Digital Calendars
  • Email Management
  • KPI Software
  • Software Troubleshooting
  • File Sharing

Finance

Your responsibilities may include bookkeeping, invoicing, budgeting, and accounting. You may also be required to handle payroll, petty cash, and QuickBooks entries. Quarterly and semiannual reports may fall into your range of duties as well. At the very least, if your office handles money at all, you’ll be ultimately responsible for making sure it's handled well.

  • Bookkeeping
  • Budgeting
  • Accounting Software
  • Financial Statements
  • Invoices
  • Compliance
  • Integrity

Leadership

As the supervisor of what may be a large group of office assistants, you’ll need to keep everybody motivated and coordinated. You’ll have to make teamwork happen. Your job will include setting a standard for everyone else’s work and making sure those standards are met. Leading often means helping other people to grow in their careers, and to help people self-start and communicate well with one another.

  • Coordination
  • Setting and Managing Expectations
  • Teamwork
  • Collaboration
  • Motivation
  • Guidance
  • Management
  • Interpersonal Skills

More Office Manager Skills

  • Auditing
  • Benchmarking
  • Integration
  • Billing
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Transcription
  • Formality
  • Bearing
  • Process of Packaging and Sending Legal Documents
  • Note Taking
  • Memory
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • Time Management
  • Prioritization
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Social Media Management
  • Proofreading
  • Revising
  • Drafting
  • Proper Use of Search Engines
  • Report Writing
  • Develop and Maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Deadlines
  • Multilingual
  • Professionalism
  • Customer Service
  • Resilience

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: Use the names of your relevant skills as keywords in your resume, so the hiring supervisor can clearly see that you have what they’re looking for.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Make sure that your letter identifies your core competencies using some of the skills listed above.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: When you prepare for your interview, come up with at least one specific example of a time you use your most relevant skills.