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5 Skills Administrative Assistants Need to Succeed

5 Skills Administrative Assistants Need to Succeed

Administrative Assistants run the office. Can you imagine a manager having to maintain their duties and ensure protocols are communicated with the team, meetings are scheduled, and that projects stay on track? That’s a job in itself, hence why we have administrative assistants.

While some may think “Administrative Assistant” is a fancy term for secretary, this role is responsible for more than answering phones and picking up their boss’ dry cleaning. They ensure the office runs smoothly and even help with some of their boss’ work.

Interested in being or hiring one? Check out these necessary skills.

Time management

Since multitasking is a must and the world of business moves so fast, it’s essential to have strong time management skills. This means understanding how long a task will take, planning when you’ll complete it, and allotting time for the unexpected rush job.


The most essential skill an administrative assistant needs is organization. This is a job where you can’t get around multitasking. Between maintaining schedules, ensuring meetings run smoothly, projects are completed on time, and accomplishing all of your other tasks, an effective organization system is needed.

Knowing exactly where something is or how to find something saves everyone time. In fact, Americans spend 2.5 days per year looking for lost items!

Beyond knowing where your stapler is, be sure you have a filing system that works, a calendar that’s up-to-date, and contact information for internal personnel and external vendors and customers.

And speaking of vendors, it’s most likely your job to find the right vendor, including a corporate lunch caterer. Before researching, compile a list of questions you need answered and organize a system for tracking the responses from multiple companies.


The world is fast moving and in order to adapt to changes, problem solving is a necessity. Anticipate problems by having a solution for everything from scheduling to internal conflicts to what to do when the unexpected arises.


Administrative assistants keep the office flowing by distributing paperwork, meeting requests, and more to the necessary parties. Poor communication costs the average corporation of 100,000+ employees $62.4 million per year!

While you may feel like you’re belaboring a point, outline all the necessary details in written and oral communication. When speaking with someone, always follow up with an email to repeat what was said and agreed upon- and so you have a written record.

Be sure to talk slowly and listen. And when it comes to writing, always be sure your grammar and spelling are accurate.

Communication also includes knowing and asking about employees’ contact information, work schedules, and even their dietary needs. With many office celebrations revolving around food, this will come in handy!

Technology adept

Technology has shifted from typewriters to computers, and as a result, the administrative assistants of today need to use way more tools than the secretaries of yesterday. Be sure you know the technology (computers, software, and other tools) inside and out, and ask for training when necessary. Oftentimes the companies who manufacture the technology have free online seminars.

Administrative Assistant is an essential role in a company. Be sure your skills are sharp for the job!

Meet Rootasters:

Meg is a dreamer, entrepreneur, and homesteader based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She loves her cats, feasting, and road trips in her green VW Bug. 


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