Whether you’re considering a career in office administration or already managing a busy office, your success relies in large part on your skills. Which skills are most important? Which ones should you develop or sharpen? The University of Kent in the United Kingdom evaluated major surveys on the most desirable employee skill sets and concluded that employers look for strength in the following: Verbal communicationTeamworkCommercial awareness Analysis / investigation Initiative / self-motivationDriveWritten communication Planning and organizingFlexibilityTime management While these skills are desirable of employees in general, they’re also highly desirable in office administrators who are often tasked with a wide range of job duties.
For example, office administrators routinely deal with everything from greeting visitors, coordinating office moves, ordering equipment and supplies, and administering business insurance to negotiating contracts, submitting bids, bookkeeping, establishing office policies, managing employees, outsourcing projects, training employees, establishing phone and customer service procedures, writing and editing newsletters, generating and analyzing reports, making presentations, and much more.
In addition, office administrators commonly troubleshoot technical equipment, use a myriad of software and technologies, and assist in making technology buying decisions. Due to the varied nature of the job role, office administration professionals need three types of skills: conceptual (problem-solving), interpersonal (people), and technical skills. Conceptual Skills Conceptual skills include the ability to identify, prevent, and solve problems as well as to work without close supervision.
This category of skills is among the most important skill sets for office administrators. Effective administrators are able to see the big picture and understand how small changes can affect the organization as a whole. Conceptual skills include sound reasoning and judgment, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Interpersonal Skills Interpersonal skills are also vital. After all, an office is made up of the people within the office’s walls – and in many cases, remote workers.
Interpersonal skills include: oral and written communication skills, active listening skills, and the ability to be fair. Office administrators often serve as the bridge between employees and senior management. Technical Skills from fixing paper jams in the copy machine, troubleshooting PBX systems, and setting up new employees on the computer network to using a host of business productivity software such as Microsoft Excel, Intuit QuickBooks, and Crystal Reports, modern office administrators need a solid set of technical skills.
It’s not enough for office administrators to know their way around a laptop; they must feel comfortable with an ever-growing range of technologies. In fact, many office administrators are now tasked with updating company blogs and Facebook pages and managing various social media profiles. Modern offices require competent office professionals with strong conceptual, interpersonal, and technical skills. In order to become a more effective office administrator, focus on sharpening and adding skills to these three skill sets. Though there are three skill sets, the type of training you need can be narrowed down into two categories: business soft skills training and business technical training (often called desktop computer training).
Soft skills training covers areas such as communications, negotiations, time management, active listening, and critical thinking; technical training covers specific technologies such as Microsoft Office software tutorials.