what skills are office administration employers looking for?

Administrative professionals can be found in a variety of business settings, but are employed for office-related tasks.

For the most part, they are required to ensure that all clerical work and customer handling is performed to the highest standards of professionalism. 

They are also usually the first point of contact between clients and businesses, so must be flawless and effective communicators.

Office administrator jobs: commonly desired skills.

The idea of office administration is a rather broad one and a number of candidates can find themselves working on an administrative level, depending on the nature of the role.

This is why it is important to tailor a CV and covering letter to meet the specific needs of the position itself, rather than providing a general, well-rounded approach. However, the following skills are what administration employers typically seek:

Communication skills.

Office administrators will be required to have proven written and oral communication skills.

This is because, not only will they be the first point of contact between the business and the general public, but will also be required to carry out clerical tasks that involve exceptional levels of written communication.

Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure will need to be polished to the highest standards when it comes to office administration.

Filing / paper management.

Office administration staff will also need to show their ability to manage business correspondence. Filing, sorting, and general organisation skills are essential for office administrators.

In addition to this, administration staff will also need the ability to organise their own professional priorities on the fly, too. No two days are the same in an administration setting and will require staff to carry out different tasks at different times.

Bookkeeping.

General office procedures are necessary for administrative staff, but many positions will require administration personnel to be familiar with bookkeeping.

It is rare that this is done by hand nowadays, but there are several different computer applications that can be used to manage financial transactions, including Quicken, Excel, and Turbo Tax.

This sort of knowledge can either be demonstrated through previous experience or through acquired qualifications from leading providers.

Typing.

Since ICT is essential for administrative staff in today's era, so too is the ability to type. Many positions don't denote a specific speed, but general opinion believes this to be around 50 words per minute (wpm) with 100% accuracy – slightly above the global average of 39 wpm.

There is no prescribed method of typing, but those who need to increase their speed may find touch-typing through the “home row” method to be appropriate for their needs, as it is the most widely taught method of typing and is available in different software tutorials.

Equipment handling.

Administrative staff may be called upon to do some light to moderate lifting, so should not see this as an opportunity to avoid laborious tasks. Fortunately, this is rather limited to tasks such as bringing reams of paper to a copy machine or printer.

Customer service skills.

Having excellent customer service and an orientation towards such traits is necessary for success as an administration worker. As candidates will be customer facing many times, they will need to carry themselves with both professionalism and have a pleasant demeanour. 

Research skills.

Administration workers will need to have special talents in research and data analysis in order to compile reports and harvest research material for other workers within their department.

This will need to be accompanied by exceptional levels of attention to detail, so as to be acquiring the right types of materials for their co-workers.

Self-motivation.

Administration personnel rarely have management working directly above them and monitoring their every move. However, any loss of drive or motivation will be immediately visible to them in terms of the quality of the work being received.

Administration workers will therefore need to be complete self-starters; to know what needs to be done and complete their tasks accordingly.

Flexibility.

Administration rarely has two similar days. While personnel can be sure of working a relatively static schedule within typical business hours, there may be occasions where working outside of the conventional schedule will be required.

Personnel will have to adapt to these needs as they arise.

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