7 must-have administrative skills you need to up your game

By Robert Half on 4 May 2019

Administrative professionals play a key part in holding a team together and a lot of organisations would fall apart without them.

Professionals who hold well-developed administrative skills help to ensure the organisation runs efficiently, and constitute a crucial factor in the management of projects and growth initiatives.

Roles such as office manager, customer service officer and human resources administrator need specific skills to ensure they can support staff and meet the team’s needs. The Robert Half Salary Guide assists in establishing not just what administrative staff should be paid, but also what skills are necessary for the job.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ administrative role. Companies are always looking for administrative professionals who fit in specifically with their unique corporate goals and culture. Nevertheless, there are a number of must-have skills that are at the top of the list for most companies.

In recognition of Administrative Professionals' Day, here are the most sought-after administrative skills for any top candidate in this field. Having a good handle on the following administrative skills will not only enable you to perform your duties efficiently and effectively but will aid in developing your career, making you a more desirable candidate for employers.

1. Microsoft Office

A strong background in all Microsoft Office programs is crucial for those in administrative roles. Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook form the basis of many business communications and processes.

The amount of experience in each program that is required for a role will depend largely on the level of the position. For example, an entry-level Administration Assistant may only be required to update existing documents and create basic reports, while an Office Manager might need to create new projects, procedures and templates. Overall, knowledge of Microsoft is therefore the most important criterion in the recruitment of administrative employees.

2. Communication skills

Communication is a longstanding must-have skill for those in administrative roles. All types of communication are vital for this type of professional: oral communication for meetings and phone calls, writing capability for correspondence that needs to be sent internally and externally, and strong listening skills to follow instructions.

It's important for any administrative professional that they can communicate with various parties, such as clients, suppliers, colleagues and senior management which makes well-developed communication skills an absolute must-have competency.

3. The ability to work autonomously

In addition to being able to show initiative, the ability to work autonomously is well regarded in roles that provide business support.

These positions often require a professional who can process and analyse information, as well as take a series of instructions and create efficient actions. If support staff have to go back and make corrections where they went wrong, or struggle to complete tasks in the given time, they may end up slowing down the entire project.

Want to know more about the administration sector in 2019?
Download the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for hiring trends and insights.

4. Database management

The ability to manage databases is a highly desired skill. Of course, the database of choice will depend on the programs the business uses.

Employers will look for someone who is confident in their own ability and who isn’t afraid to pass this on to other staff members. Making sure data is being collected and managed in the central data management system will be a priority for many.

5. Enterprise Resource Planning

New technology has changed the way we work on a daily basis, and exploring technology is definitely key to moving forward within a business. A creation of this technological change, is Enterprise resource planning (ERP). This is a common business process management software that provides one central repository for all information to improve the flow of data across a business.

Administrative professionals may be expected to be familiar with ERP software to develop custom report cards. Common ERP software for businesses include financial and payroll software such as Oracle, SAP and Pronto.

6. Social media management

Businesses are now heavily reliant on communicating with their customers, and those customers are generally found online. It is therefore becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a social media presence in order to connect and engage with audiences on a personal level. Common social media programs for businesses include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

This role typically falls to administrative support employees, who can help turn what was once a faceless company logo on a website into a series of conversations via social media. These methods of communication can help foster the business’s public image, create a voice its customers can relate to and enable creating connections with potential clients.

7. A strong results focus

At the core of every support role within an organisation is a number of results that need to be achieved at any given time. Unlike other roles, the effectiveness of support roles cannot always be measured in terms of investment and there are other ways to prove employee value.

As companies value tangible results, it is important to be able to present output and outcomes so employers have a clear view of the added value of the administrative employee at hand.

Do you have the administrative skills to boost your career potential?

These are the must-have administrative skills that an organisation requires from its administrative support staff in today’s market. So if you want to stay ahead of the game and make sure you are ticking the right boxes, embrace these skills and ensure you state your value.

Companies are looking for admin staff who have an immediate impact on business productivity. Candidates who already have relevant experience, especially in the appropriate industry, therefore have an advantage in the selection process.

Skills are a form of currency in the working world and by identifying the most in demand administrative skills, you will be able to dedicate yourself to homing each of these skill sets thereby increasing the chances of getting hired and succeeding in your position.

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