To keep up with an ever-changing workplace, administrative professionals are given a wide range of responsibilities. These office professionals may specialize in a number of fields, from legal, medical, and education professions to government or technological fields. Administrative skills will vary among different industries as well as different geographical locations.
While it’s not always required, many administrative professionals are certified or hold degrees in business, administration, office systems technology, or related programs. All of these positions will generally require at least a high school diploma upon entry. In addition, it is often helpful to have experience or education within a particular field. For instance, those working in a legal setting might find it beneficial to have administrative skills related to paralegal studies.
Office professionals in technological industries may find it useful to possess additional math, science, or computer skills. Most government jobs will generally require the completion of a civil service exam as well. Continuing education, workshops, and professional organizations are other excellent ways to acquire further knowledge and administrative skills.
Although their duties may vary from field to field and place to place, most office professionals will still share a similar set of abilities. One of these includes having strong organization skills. Administrative professionals must have the ability to multitask and make use of time management skills. Administrative workers are known to juggle numerous tasks and clients in addition to meeting deadlines. These professionals must not only provide general office procedures but also support staff; perform scheduling; handle purchases; train others; and interact with clients, vendors, and the general public.
In addition, office workers' administrative skills must include exceptional communication, both written and oral. Not only are they responsible for the prompt, efficient handling of all calls, they must also regularly check voicemail and email messages, forwarding them to the appropriate parties. Strong writing, researching, and grammar skills are also important for the proper handling of written correspondence in and out of the office. Administrative professionals are essentially the lifeline of the office.
Having knowledge of basic business etiquette guidelines and practicing discretion with sensitive content and materials are additional administrative skills necessary within an office setting. Another vital aspect of the job includes technological skills. Office professionals must have strong computer and keyboarding skills. They must also stay informed of technological changes in various software systems like word processing, spreadsheets, and databases, and maintain adequate Internet skills. Records management is essential as well.
The maintenance of records includes filing procedures that entail both electronic and hand filing. In the midst of all this, administrative workers are often required to maintain paperwork and supplies as well as distribute mail and packages. In addition, the equipment within the office, such as fax machines, copiers, and printers, must be checked and maintained throughout the day. Administrative skills require lifelong education and training in order to keep up with changing technologies and worldwide demands.