In many ways administrative professionals make the work world go round. They’re pivotal in supporting teams and keeping organisations on track.

Every major organisation relies on administrative professionals, so if you’ve chosen this career path there’s lots of opportunity to advance. This could include internally or across to another organisation or even sector.

Are you ready? If an opportunity presented itself today, do you have the skills needed to get that dream position?

Whether you work in the public or private or not-for-profit sector, and regardless of the industry you’re in, administrative professionals require key skills in today’s job market.

At face2face we fill administrative professional positions all the time. If you want to stay ahead of the game and be ready to showcase your stand-out skills, have a look at this list of essentials we’ve prepared.

Communication skills

Communication is vital in today’s work world. This includes oral and written communication skills and the ability to be clear and accurate when dealing with multiple stakeholders (internal and external). As an administrative professional, you’ll no doubt work with colleagues, team members and management. You’ll also likely work with outside suppliers and providers.

Strong communications are essential when on the phone, organising meetings, workshops and conferences. It’s also essential when giving instructions and placing orders. When you communicate at work you’re representing your company. Correct grammar and consistency is therefore important with written material.

Working in teams

Working productively in team environments is a key strength. This involves collaborating and cooperating with others to achieve goals, deadlines and priorities.

Being a strong and flexible team player is a big plus when applying for administrative positions. Employers appreciate team members who are motivating and energetic.

Working independently

Another attribute is the ability to work independently and with limited supervision, to achieve tasks on time without compromising on quality. This involves processing and analysing information, taking instructions, and executing them well.

Working independently doesn’t mean you never ask for clarification or escalate important issues to more senior levels when required, but it does mean getting on with the job on your own where possible. This way you contribute to projects, but don’t slow them down.

Time management

Administrative professionals continually deal with multiple priorities, which can shift suddenly and unexpectedly. Effective time management skills are essential to handling this with flair.

Strong administrative professionals are adept at triaging heavy workloads and juggling competing priorities to drive projects forward. They excel at ensuring deadlines are met for smooth operations. They’re results-focused and deadline driven.

Resourceful and proactive

Great administrative professionals are resourceful. They think on their feet and adapt well to changing priorities. They think creatively about challenges and apply sound judgement when developing solutions and making decisions. Adaptability is key.

Administrative professionals are also proactive. They anticipate needs and complete tasks without being asked or reminded. They take initiative to improve organisational efficiency and effectiveness. Creative problem-solving is a strength.

Detail oriented

Paying attention to detail is a major priority with administration work. There’s often so much to think about, whether managing meetings with multiple players, organising caterers, ordering supplies, returning phone calls or monitoring progress so nothing falls through the cracks.

Strong administrative professionals understand that the “devil is in the detail”.

Information technology

The best administrative professionals leverage their IT knowledge to work at maximum capacity. Working confidently with programs like Microsoft Office is important since Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook are fundamentals for many organisations. Without IT skills you won’t be able to quickly create and update documents and reports. You also won’t be able to track projects, flag upcoming deadlines or work with contact lists.

The type and level of IT skills you need will depend on your position, but the more confident you are in learning new programs, the more valuable you’ll be.

Database management

Many administrative positions require database management expertise. The ability to collect and manage data (accurately and on time) is a highly desired skill. The type of database will depend on the nature of the business. Another asset is therefore the ability to learn new systems quickly.

Do you have the admin skills needed to boost your career potential?

If not, learn more:

How to flag issues in the workplace

Eight skills employers look for

Seven ways to upskill for the future