Administrative assistants are tasked with handling a variety of tasks, projects, and challenges, and they are usually asked to handle these myriad tasks all at the same time. The role of an admin is never boring, as they are usually juggling several balls at the same time. They keep their departments running smoothly and support managers and business leaders while handling their own list of tasks and responsibilities. In order to be successful in this fast-paced environment, the administrative assistant of today must have a variety of technical and soft skills that extend far beyond the clerical realm.
Technology is Becoming More Important to the Job
Administrative assistants work with a variety of software programs in their daily work lives. They must know everything from word processing to databases and spreadsheets to presentation software. Those professionals who have achieved certifications or who have branched out to learn additional skills like basic graphic design for newsletter layouts and website CMS programs will be much more marketable to potential employers.
Administrative Assistants Work With Levels of Employees
Whether an administrative assistant works for a single manager or business leader, or they work with a team, they will likely be tasked with communicating their department’s progress with other business leaders and employees. They must be able to “speak the language” of employees at all levels, knowing the nuances of emailing and speaking with C-level executives and quickly shifting gears – and tone – with entry-level team members.
Having strong communication skills is necessary for all administrative assistants, and those who can demonstrate their ability to act as a strong intermediary between different departments will be more marketable to potential employers.
The Virtual Reality of the Modern Office
There was a time when administrative assistants worked under the watchful eye of their immediate supervisor. Now, thanks to the rise in telecommuting and virtual work, many administrative assistants see their bosses and other team members a few times a month – if at all. This means that admins must be self-starters who can work in a loosely supervised environment. They must also have the capacity to log in to work systems from home, in the event that they are needed at off hours.
The Complexities of Office Politics
Administrative assistants are in a unique position in the office. Middle and entry-level employees view them as “one of the gang” and high-level managers and leaders treat them as trusted members of their own teams. This often puts admins smack in the middle of office politics. They may be enlisted by their team to present ideas or questions to the boss, and conversely, leaders may dispatch them to deliver news or changes to the team.
As such, administrative assistants must be able to walk a fine line – maintaining the confidentiality expected of them by leaders, avoiding office gossip, but keeping the lines of communication open with team members. They often have to negotiate on behalf of one side or the other, and they must know how to navigate tricky political situations. These skills are not easy to learn and it takes time, experience, and likely a few missteps before administrative assistants become skilled at this unique balancing act.
Project Management is Must
Increasingly, administrative assistants are tasked with managing projects of all sizes from start to finish. This means having the ability to meet project objectives, solve problems quickly and efficiently, manage time and priorities, coordinating workflow, and keep communication flowing freely – all while keeping a line on their other responsibilities and projects, without missing a beat. Some administrative professionals seek out project management training and certification to make themselves more marketable, and to showcase their skills to their current employer.
The role of the administrative assistant is constantly evolving, and companies are looking to their administrative staff to handle more and more each day. If you are an administrative professional in the Miami area looking for new and exciting opportunities to grow your career, contact a recruiter at CERS today. We work with some of the most dynamic companies in the region who are looking for well-rounded admins just like you. We look forward to working with you to help you achieve your career goals.