Why are effective communication skills vital for admin roles?

By Robert Half 4 October 2019

Admin roles are the cogs that keep a company turning. They maintain the day-to-day processes of a business, liaising with clients and internal staff, and other crucial tasks.

An administrative role requires an array of skills: time management, problem-solving, critical thinking and, above all, effective communication skills. The ability to convey information to people accurately and clearly is a crucial quality for administrative roles.

Why are communication skills so important for an administrative role?

Effective communication skills are important for virtually every job, but particularly so for admin roles.

Here are a few reasons why the ability to communicate (and your ability to demonstrate your competency) is essential when applying for an admin position.

Effective communication skills are about listening as much as communicating

Communication is a two-way street. While you must be able to convey information clearly, you should be able to digest information too.

Take a Receptionist job, for instance. A key duty is acting as the first point of contact between visitors and the rest of the business. Consequently, it is up to the receptionist to listen to the visitor, identify their needs, and either resolve their issue or direct them to the correct point of contact.

Without effective verbal and listening skills, these tasks cannot be completed to a satisfactory standard.

Communication must be tailored according to the person you’re addressing

As you’d expect, when it comes to communication, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely lands. It’s essential to tailor your communication style to individual people and circumstances.

In an admin position, you’ll often liaise with a variety of people, such as managers, support staff, CEOs, external vendors, clients, and so on.

To speak to a variety of different people effectively, you need to be able to assess the situation, read non-verbal cues and body language, and adapt your behaviour and speech to suit the person you’re conversing with.

Hiring managers will be looking for evidence of your effective communication skills in line with the requirements and duties listed on the job description, to ensure that you are genuinely a fit for the role. It’s essential that you display them clearly in your resume, cover letter and the job interview to prove your worth and potential.

How to display your communication skills when applying for an admin role

You have two main opportunities to display your communication skills when applying for your next administrative role: in your resume and cover letter and during your interview.

Initial application phase: resumes and cover letters

An effective way of displaying your communication skills for an admin role in your resume and cover letter is by referring back to the requirements and duties listed on the job description and mirroring them on your documents.

To do this, read through the job description and highlight the keywords and phrases that refer to communication skills. In an admin role, this may include:

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong listening skills
  • Charismatic and well-presented

Extract the keywords and inject them naturally throughout your resume and cover letter. By sprinkling the hiring manager’s language and relevant terminology, you make it clear that you’re a good match for the role.

But don’t stop there. When listing your communication skills and related achievements, bolster each trait with an active verb and metrics to make your competencies more tangible.

For example, did you simply “keep a record of customer interaction” or did you “develop a new process and database for holding 2k+ customer interaction records?"

Did you “delegate customer enquiries to specific teams” or did you “assess and delegate up to 60 customer enquiries per day with 100% accuracy?"

Final application phase: job interview

In an interview for an admin role, expect your interviewer to assess your communication skills by asking a selection of questions about how you communicate, prompting you to evaluate your competency. Also, expect them to assess your ability to communicate first-hand through the delivery of your responses.

The hiring manager will often look out for concrete examples of the following:

  • Listening skills
  • Confidence
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Empathy
  • Brevity
  • Friendliness

When preparing for your admin role interview, take the time to review some common interview questions (along with typical administration interview questions) and prepare your responses. Examples include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Do you prefer to work on your own or as part of a team?
  • How do you deal with working under pressure?
  • Why should we hire you for this role?

Practice your responses in front of a mirror so you can assess your non-verbal communication. Also, consider recording yourself, so you can hear what you sound like, for example, you might like to check your pacing, amount of “ums” or “ers”, and diction.

Remember: admin roles often require precision, so speak succinctly. Try to avoid the flaws that pepper natural speech, because professional circumstances will often require you to get points across extremely quickly.

Effective communication skills are an important trait for any job. But for those in administrative roles, the ability to communicate effectively is especially important, and thus your ability to display your skills confidently during a job application could determine your success.

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