'How Can I Upgrade My Administrative Skills?'

You're ready to take your administrative skills to the next level, but you aren't sure how to get there.

Taking the following steps can put you on the right path:

Pursue training

Investigate your company's offerings. Even if your firm doesn't provide access to internal training programs, it may offer tuition reimbursement for external options. Just be sure to research professional development opportunities carefully so you can select the most effective ones. You want to be able to make a persuasive case to your boss as to how a particular training program will improve your administrative skills, on-the-job performance and contributions to the firm.

Choose a mentor

Find someone whose strengths are in the area you wish to improve and ask if he or she will assist you. If your employer doesn't have an in-house mentoring program, look for individuals inside or outside the organization whose administrative skills you admire.

Take on new challenges

If you feel stagnant in your present role, ask your manager about ways you can assume more difficult assignments. Most supervisors will welcome interest from staff in adding greater value to the team. Showing motivation and ambition also may help you stand out as a candidate for promotion.

Help a nonprofit

If you can't do more at your employer, consider possibilities outside the office, such as through charitable organizations. These groups may be receptive to your interest in supporting them, and you might find mentors who can help you expand your abilities and knowledge. By volunteering on committees or for leadership roles, you can develop administrative skills that not only benefit the organization but also are applicable to your paid job.

Join industry associations

Become active in organizations like the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Participate in committees, attend seminars and other educational events, and talk with your fellow administrative professionals at meetings.

Volunteer for diverse projects

Pay attention when you're in meetings and people seek assistance with an initiative. This may be your opportunity to expand your skill set by getting involved in other areas of the department or company. Also take note if your boss or colleagues seem overloaded with projects and you can help.

It is up to you to maintain your marketability. Carefully evaluate any weaknesses in your set of administrative skills and commit to making improvements. Also stay on top of trends by reading industry research such as the OfficeTeam Salary Guide that discuss developments in the administrative field. You'll help ensure you're staying ahead of the curve rather than scrambling to keep up.