As a modern-day secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator, you will have to take on a wide range of duties and responsibilities. One minute you’re making sure the boss is prepared for his meeting, assist in planning meetings, do research and draft presentations and the next you’re sorting through all the never-ending email and fielding phone calls. Given that broad job description, one of the most valuable assets a secretary or business support professional can have is the ability to think on their feet.
Ask almost any senior executive about their secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator, and most would say they wouldn’t be able to live without him or her.
Whether you are the secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator for one person or for an entire office, you will need to be able to provide efficient administrative support under minimal supervision.
As a super secretary/ administrator, it’s important to understand everything that’s expected from you in the role, seek out opportunities to go above and beyond and continuously upskill, keeping up with new software and technology, honing organisational skills and increasing overall knowledge related to the industry that you are in.
Here are 5 of the key skills you need to master if you want to become a super secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator:
1. Time Management
Working on several projects means a lot of multi-tasking. This requires the ability to manage your own time and ensure that you are able to deliver on timelines.
Good time management skills will help you to plan your tasks and activities in such a way that you are able to meet your deadlines while still maintaining a high level of productivity.
2. Computer Skills/ IT Literacy
Since most of your work will be done on a computer, knowledge of software such as Microsoft Office Suite, Outlook, Adobe Programs and typing skills is required. A bonus would be knowing about other softwares that help with the job day to day.
Good computer skills will help you to perform your daily tasks quickly and more efficiently. Advanced computer skills may also count in your favour when it comes to applying for a job.
Related: The Almighty Microsoft Excel
3. Communication/ Interpersonal Skills
As a professional secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator, you will be in constant communication with others, either in person, or via telephone. You therefore need to know how to communicate clearly, professionally, and politely — regardless of whether you are dealing with a visitor, a client, a colleague, your boss, or a service provider.
Having professional, clear and effective communication skills not only ensure nothing gets “lost in translation”, but also gives a strong impression of the boss and the company
4. Writing Skills
Secretaries/ personal assistants/ administrators are often asked to take minutes at meetings — so if you want to become a professional secretary, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with taking accurate notes, either by making use of shorthand, or by transcribing audio recordings.
In addition, you are also required to draft proposals, reports and emails. Therefore, a good business writing skill is mandatory if you want to be a successful secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator.
Work isn’t always a bed of roses. Especially when you’re in one of the world’s toughest job. There will be challenging times when you think that things are beyond your control.
Emotional resilience is one’s ability to cope and adapt these stressful situations and difficulties. In the modern business world where organizations go through rapid changes, emotional resilience is a huge asset for individuals.
Secretarial and business support work is demanding and requires someone who can wear multiple hats and multitask well. A good secretary/ personal assistant/ administrator has a variety of qualities – both hard and soft skills that help them succeed in a role. These qualities can be learned and developed with a little bit of dedication.