Administrative assistants are so much more than “assistants.” Even though many people tend to think that it is an easy job or in some instances a less important role since the job does not require one to have multiple academic and professional certificates to qualify for employment. However, they are the glue that holds everything together in the organization, totally invaluable and irreplaceable, the right skills and attitude can lead you to become an administrative assistant. In this article I am going to share the important details so one can develop their administrative assistant skills. I will also share my best tips for handling duties as an administrative assistant. So let us get to it.
Working as an administrative assistant will require the use of different technology software and hardware such as spreadsheets, databases, word processing and graphic presentation software etc. For hardware the job requires the use of printers, scanners, photocopiers, fax machines and the laptop or desktop machine therefore to develop technology skills, an administrative assistant can enroll into a basic computer literacy program at their local college or even online. YouTube also provides video tutorials that can help out in developing these technology skills. The course and video tutorials will help in gaining proficiency in Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher as well as proficiency in the use of different office equipment.
Administrative assistants need to speak to other staff members and visitors who visit the business as well as compose letters, emails, and social media posts using correct grammar and spelling. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are very important in this role because strong communication skills foster team work and creative connections with clients. As a result to develop writing skills an administrative assistant should practice writing regularly and ask friends or colleagues to review their written pieces. It is important for an administrative assistant to learn to write using a business tone therefore they must expand their vocabulary, master their English spellings, read regularly and improve their grammar. If they cannot learn on their own, then finding someone to teach them will be the best option.
Verbal communication skills can be developed by always taking chances to be part of the conversation, hence to have good verbal communication skills one needs to learn to be an active listener. It is important for an administrative assistant to adapt their communication style so as to suit the situation as they usually interact with different kinds of people everyday. Interpersonal skills are part of communication skills that are required to effectively function as an administrative assistant because this helps in building rapports. Joining groups like Toastmasters will also help in developing strong verbal communication skills.
Thinking on your feet and juggling many duties simultaneously is part of the everyday work of an administrative assistant, this therefore means that they need to be highly organized in effectively managing the filing system, tracking incoming calls and sending outgoing correspondence. Administrative assistants rely on organizational skills to keep schedules straight while multitasking on a variety of clerical duties. In order to develop this skill learning and always practicing to be proactive instead of being reactive to situations will be essential. Prepare for the day in advance by being proactive through making a list of things one needs to do each day so as to help you to not forget anything and a schedule giving each task a prescribed time to do each one. Organizing the work area also helps so that everything needed to do the job efficiently can be easily located.
Time Management Skills
Administrative assistants are efficient time managers who value punctuality, however time management is a skill that takes time to develop and is different for each person. Each administrative assistant should find what works for them,therefore to develop this skill it is important to learn to prioritize tasks, to schedule tasks, set up deadlines and to not procrastinate. The use of an electronic calendar also helps. When unforeseen issues arise administrative assistants readjust priorities accordingly.
Attention to Detail
It is vital that all tasks administrative assistants undertake be completed to a high standard without errors. This skill will be called on when proofreading the drafts of reports and letters one is asked to type. To develop attention to detail skills, being organized is important. Limiting distractions and learning to detach yourself from what is happening in your surrounding work environment also helps to stay focused and not miss any errors or mistakes. Taking regular breaks to refresh the mind and to recharge also helps as a well rested mind is crucial in having strong attention to detail skills.
The above are some but not all of the activities that one can do to develop their administrative assistant skills. The following now are the tips for handling administrative assistant duties.
As an administrative Assistant is responsible for not only keeping yourself organized, but also keeping the office organised it is imperative that being organised be mentioned again and again in regards to handling administrative assistant duties. Device a fool proof system to handle your calendars, emails, meetings and managing mails.
Situations change and suddenly other tasks become a top priority. It is crucial to be adaptable as an administrative assistant. Being adaptable is key to striking a balance in this busy role. Get to know your team, be flexible and stay on top of the details.
The role of an administrative assistant is to make the job of your team members easier. Therefore, your willingness to take on different kinds of tasks will make you an assert to the company. Go above and beyond showing up on time and being ready to work. Aim to be the person the team can count on for special projects, random questions and meeting deadlines.
Being an administrative assistant especially in a fast paced environment can be stressful. It is however important to remain professional even when faced with daunting to do lists or rude clients. Being the calm in the chaos will help keep your company or department on track.
Visualise Daily Accomplishments
Starting the day with the end in mind helps you to keep focused on the tasks you want to accomplish for the day. Making a list of these tasks before the day starts helps you to keep track of them. Revise the list as the day progresses and make sure each task is in the right place. Always set targets for yourself in order to review your performance and make adjustments where it is needed.
Being Tech savvy
Being an administrative assistant and working with technology sort of goes hand in hand. Being able to work with different software and office equipment will help in handling the duties more easily, effectively and efficiently.
To sum up, it can be noted that the administrative assistant role is not an easy job. In order to excel at this role one must have developed a variety of skills related to the duties of the job. These skills are also the cornerstone that help in handling administrative assistant duties