An organized, multi-tasking business administrator is invaluable to any workplace — and many companies would fall apart without one. What are the specialized skills employers are looking for in a job candidate? Is it just about having a good business sense, a knack for answering emails quickly or managing financial accounts? Not in today’s business world. These days, an administrator needs to be able to juggle a dozen projects at any time. Here we outline 14 of the most vital administrative skills a would-be employee needs, and give tips on how to improve your own skillset.
1. Communication Skills
Can you answer emails, telephone calls and face-to-face enquiries in a polite and efficient manner? Can you give feedback to employees and colleagues in a tone that is both constructive and non-accusatory however poorly they may have completed a task? If so, you’re well on the way to being a positive, master communicator — a skill that is highly valued in today’s workplace.
2. Technology Skills
Microsoft Office skills
Microsoft Office programs like Word and Excel are the cornerstone of any modern office. So if you aren’t familiar with how they work, find an online course or take a class at a local library to brush up on your skills. Once your Microsoft Office is fluent, day-to-day work will be so much easier.
Database management skills
Being able to organize data in a clear way is a key business administrative skill. From working with spreadsheets to managing an offline filing system, your life will be easier once you’ve got a database system worked out. Improve your skills online, or once again enquire at your local library for relevant books and training courses they may hold on-site.
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3. Attention to Detail
Being detail-oriented, and executing all tasks in a efficient way is another highly desired business skill. It’s the fine details, like how your boss prefers her documents and paperwork prepared and organized, or what time you need to send out the daily mail that will help you get recognized as a star employee.
4. Written Skills
We may live in a digital world, but it’s still super important to have a good grasp of the written word. If you can compose emails, text messages, social media posts and other written communication quickly and effectively, your company will value you even more than they already do. Brush up on your skills with an online course, or by practicing at home.
5. Time Management
This is a must-have quality that most employers are looking for in job candidates! Maximize this skillset by writing a list of all the tasks you need to do in a day and allocating a time value to each. For example: sorting through and replying to all the morning emails: 60 minutes. Booking meeting rooms and food for today’s lunch meetings: 30 minutes. Once you’ve allocated a time value to each task, you’ll have a kind of ‘map’ of your day’s work. Then keep an eye on the clock and go through each task in turn. You should finish on time and even have a moment or two to spare!
6. Problem Solving
Go the extra mile and not only recognize a problem, but put forth a solution. Problems crop up from time to time, and if you can bring provide solution to the problem you’re well on your way to proving yourself a capable employee. For example, if an employee doesn’t turn up for work, don’t just tell the boss he or she is absent. Go into the meeting with a list of three other staff members whose availability you have already checked, and the boss will appreciate your resourcefulness.
7. Supervising, Delegation & Team Working
We might like to do everything ourselves, but this isn’t always possible. Follow the lead of great managers and learn to delegate. Allocate specific jobs to team members who you know are experienced and can get the job done. It’s also vital to know you can ask for help when you need it. Trying to do everything on your own can lead to a feeling of isolation, stress and panic — not qualities any employer wants to see in his or her team.
8. Organizational skills
Businesses need to stay organized to run as effectively as possible. Max your organizational capacities by practicing at home. Spend a day off organizing your house; making lists of things that need doing and labeling them in order of priority — such as cleaning, grocery shopping, bill paying, maintenance, etc. Once you’ve worked out how to improve your skills by practicing on yourself, you can go into work ready to deploy these organizational skills to the benefit of your boss. They will certainly be pleased!
9. General Administrative Skills
From filing and tidying to record-keeping and receipt management, there are lots of small skills needed to make you a brilliant administrator. As a business administrator a lot of tasks will go into your day, you’ll be more motivated to work at improving your skills on a daily basis if you take things one at a time.
10. Customer Service
Customer service skills are vital to any customer-facing business, and even to those where you don’t meet the customers personally. If a letter comes into the office from a customer and needs a reply, be ready to give one that lets the customer know he or she is right — and valued.
11. Planning and Research Skills
When you’re asked to organize the office Christmas party, in July, you’ll need to roll out your A-list organizational skills. Because although the event is six months away, you’ll need to devise a timeline to make sure everything gets done at the right moment, making you ready for the big day when it eventually arrives. Research skills are also very important in today’s information age. The internet is awash with information on absolutely everything, but can you distinguish between fake news, mindless chatter on social media and the content that really matters? Practise by researching a couple of topics that interest you personally, and seeing if you can find the truth of the matter by identifying reliable websites and news outlets.
This is a key skill that all employers like to see in their staff! If you can dig deep and find new solutions to existing problems, then your value on the team will sky-rocket. You’re probably already resourceful in your own life — when it comes to parenting or budgeting, it’s hard not to be. So see if you can apply this resourcefulness to work too.
13. Budget Management
Another vital skill that employers need on the team. The ability to manage money — from petty cash to huge budgets for events and salaries — is hugely important in the workplace. Keep detailed notes of all money that flows in or out of your work account, and keep a paper trail. When it comes to cash, it’s important to be able to prove where things went, and that you were authorized to pay for something at all.
14. Social Media Management
Social media has never been more vital to business, so this skill could not be more important. Hone your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat skills by following a bunch of influential and well-followed millennials, and get ready to learn from the next generation. They know the difference between a winning hashtag and one that won’t generate any interest at all!
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Why You Need These Business Administration Skills
We’ve thrown 14 key skills at you, but there are reasons you need to acquire these skills, including:
To Change Your Job
If ever you want to change your job, you’ll need a winning CV that lists all these skills. But more importantly, you’ll need to be able to show at the interview stage that you possess all of these in-demand skills.
To Get a Promotion
If you’re aceing all the administrative challenges that come your way, you may end up first in line for a promotion. This can mean more money, more responsibility and less actual administration duties on your plate. So improve your business skills now and it might help you move away from the elements of your job you don’t totally love in future years.
To Get a First Job
If you’re looking for your first business administration job gaining these qualities can really help you stand out from other job candidates. If you want to provide better income for your family a business administrator role could be a way to do it. So, don’t get depressed at the idea of practicing your skills; instead, think of it as a step on the way to a brighter future.
Tips on How to Acquire or Improve Your Skills
1. Find a Mentor
If you have a senior colleague who’s a whizz at administration, ask him or her if they can mentor you. In exchange for 30 minutes and one cup of coffee per week, you may pick up some invaluable, money-can’t-buy tips that will really help you to progress. It’s certainly worth an ask, anyway!
2. Continue Education: Get a Degree or MBA
A Bachelor’s in Business Administration or an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) can really help you to develop these key skills. UoPeople offers an affordable, and flexible solution to earning your business degree. The degrees are 100% online and so flexible you even study around your busy schedule, at a time that suits you best. Find out more by clicking here.
3. Offer to Take on Leadership Roles or Extra Projects
From organizing a charity sports-day to mentoring a younger colleague yourself oftentimes just giving back a bit of time or knowledge can help you improve your own skills. When you sit down to explain something to a new employee, you might realize just how much you already know.
4. Practice on Your Own After Hours
As explained above, practicing some of these skills on your own at home can be a great, safe way to get the edge on your day job. Re-organize your closet, or your finances, or your fridge! Whatever it is, try a new technique and if it works then take it into the workplace the next day.