Successful businesses rely heavily on top-notch administrative professionals. A shrewd administrative assistant is the wizard behind the company curtain, the one who keeps the office running efficiently. In addition, skilled office professionals are constantly on the lookout for innovations to benefit the company.
The best administrative professionals aren't just supporting players. They add value in ways that make them critical to an organization's success.
What does it take to be the kind of administrative assistant businesses can't do without? Here are five must-have qualities of an in-demand administrative professional.
Wondering how your salary offer stacks up against the competition? Check out Robert Half's Salary Guide for the latest administrative compensation trends.
Be an industry insider
Knowing the three T's of the industry — terminology, trends and technology — and being able to articulate them on your receptionist resume means, as a potential new hire, you will begin to contribute immediately. A savvy administrative professional is not only familiar with these concepts, but also knows how to use them to full advantage.
- Terminology — Knowing the language of a particular business sector means an administrative assistant new to the company can keep up with and contribute to conversations in the workplace right from the start.
- Trends — Today's administrative professionals should be knowledgeable about industrywide trends. They should also be thinking proactively about how these trends could potentially impact the company.
- Technology — Employers prefer administrative professionals who are not only tech-savvy but also well-versed in the company's most-used technology. They look for individuals who proactively stay up to date through training so they can exploit these tools.
MS Office expert, skill in social media and tech
Knowing how to use Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel is a given for any administrative assistant. Knowing how to run virtual meetings, organize newsletters and create PowerPoint presentations puts you a cut above the rest. Managers also value assistants who know how to use accounting, payroll and HR applications.
An administrative assistant with a working knowledge of the ins and outs of social media is a huge asset for an employer. Small and midsize companies, in particular, sometimes need help managing a Facebook page or Twitter feed and may not have the resources to hire a social media specialist. Your knowledge of social media can help the company build its online presence, which is essential to staying in the game in today's market.
The best administrative professionals aren't just supporting players. They add value in a way that makes them critical to an organization's success.
Effective written and verbal talents
Good communication skills are crucial for a successful administrative assistant career. Most often, you're the first point of contact for clients, customers and vendors. You may also be the go-to person internally. The ability to communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively both verbally and in writing is a key skill hiring managers seek when evaluating top administrative professionals. Artful articulation helps you get results.
Perceptive about saving money
Companies are always on the lookout for an administrative assistant who can find ways to save money and help the business become more efficient. You're on the front lines every day — overseeing day-to-day operations, selecting vendors and negotiating contracts — putting you in the perfect position to look for opportunities to cut expenses. Proposing cost-cutting solutions to those within the company is a good way to make yourself indispensable to the organization.
Adept at displaying grace under pressure
Managers appreciate an administrative assistant who can think on his or her feet. Every day, new situations arise in the office requiring quick decisions and immediate action. Stretching your administrative capabilities beyond your job description to tackle the unexpected shows you're well-positioned to handle the complexities of today's workplace. You effectively communicate with colleagues and clients in an even tone, exemplifying emotional intelligence in the office.
Robert Half conducts exclusive research and offers free resources you can use to advance your career.