Administrative Professionals Week (April 20-26) is a great opportunity for organisations to recognize their admins for all of the effort they put into keeping operations running smoothly.  An Administrative Assistant plays a very important role within an organisation, they’re the “go-to” person to solve problems, answer questions and get things done. Their job involves a variety of diverse responsibilities that keep them on their toes at all times. The position can often be very detail oriented and require managing many job duties simultaneously, especially if they are an assistant to more than one person.

Being an administrative assistant is a unique position and it takes a unique set of skills to achieve long term success. It isn’t easy and isn’t always fun, but, with the right tools, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.


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 Communication Skills

This goes beyond being able to greet visitors and clients professionally. The best administrative assistants know how to manage personalities: you have to be able to work effectively with every type of person in your office.



One of the things that make all the difference in the world to customers is knowing that the person they are dealing with is smiling.  Even if you are on the phone they manage to “hear” your smile so do not think that because they can’t see you that they don’t know whether you are smiling or not.  A smile makes you infinitely more approachable and suggests that you are trustworthy.


 Being ethical

This is one of the skills that everyone must develop in the business world but the administrative professional that has a strong work ethic will go far.  They will stand out in the minds of their superiors and they will be promoted before others.


 Staff Management

Administrators may be called upon to manage the clerical staff within a company. Using interpersonal skills, they motivate, inspire and manage a team of clerical workers successfully. Staffing duties often require them to interview and select clerical staff for the company. Their interviewing skills and personal insights help them to pick the right people for open jobs.


 Time Management Skills

These skills are necessary to ensure that tasks are completed on time and that stress is reduced in the process. These individuals must be able to create prioritized task lists and stay focused on the job at hand. He or she must also be able to switch tasks quickly as the needs of the office change, and perhaps even work on multiple tasks at once if there are conflicting deadlines. Sometimes these individuals will be responsible for doling out duties to other members of the administrative team and then supervising to ensure that they are completed correctly as well as on time.


 Interpersonal skills

Administrative assistants should be able to interact with all kinds of people tactfully and without rubbing them the wrong way. It also helps to have a pleasing personality and an approachable “aura”.


 Think one step ahead.

If you’ve been paying attention at work, you’ll have a good idea what processes your boss and the company use throughout their workflow. For instance, if your boss consistently looks for certain details on a specific report, make those details easier to find.


 Listening Skills

If you can listen and retain information the first time it’s given to you, then you’re already a valuable asset as an administrative assistant. Why? Because a good listener saves your boss time, and that makes them happy.


Network outside the company.

The admin joins networking groups for lunch or dinner. Networking isn’t only for business but can be used to grow new relationships in your personal life. There are tons of great books on networking and how to start conversations with new people. This will be one of your most valuable assets.



The only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs 




Being organized is critical. Assistants need the skills to take messages, set appointments, follow up on email, organize meetings, coordinate calendars and deal with last-minute issues. The assistants may be handling these tasks for more than one person in more than one location.


 Technology Skills

An administrative assistant should be familiar with using either a Mac or Windows-based computer, if not both. It is impossible to be an administrative assistant without having to use one or more office suite programs. These include programs such as spreadsheets, word processors and database programs. Office software programs are constantly being updated. Technology can move at lightning speed at times, and is important to set aside some time to update training for programs that are used frequently. Technology can enhance administrative assistant duties and make the job more efficient.



Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. – Theodore Roosevelt



The job of an administrative assistant may be considered easy. But when one takes into consideration the volume of assignments administrative assistants are responsible for, along with the various personnel they support, and then one can appreciate how crucial administrative assistants are to a successful company. Never underestimate the importance of the Administrative Assistant role in a company. While the job requirements may vary widely from place to place, a good Administrative Assistant can use the above tips to adapt, perform exceptionally, and become an invaluable resource in any environment.


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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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