As an administrative professional, you know that each role has a unique set of demands, and it can be difficult to keep your skills up to par. As a result, job seekers in the administrative field may feel as though they can learn on the job rather than proactively keeping their skills up to par. “Admin skills are often tested during an interview process, so it is crucial that job seekers invest in building their own skill set to open up more career opportunities for themselves,” says Tessa Ganassi, a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. “If you don’t put in the effort ahead of time, you can severely limit your potential opportunities in the job market.”
These more advanced technical skills can definitely give you a competitive edge in the job market, but you do need to put in the effort to brush up your skills. “Knowing your weaknesses and taking action on them are two different things,” advises Jaimee Cascione Santiago, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. “It is important that you invest in yourself by taking the time to learn something that can change your career path.”
To boost your marketability as an administrative professional, be sure that you have command of these advanced technical admin skills:
While many professionals have gone through school preparing PowerPoint presentations, keep in mind that software has evolved over the years. As a result, if you haven’t used it recently, you may need a refresher to ensure you can produce a professional-looking presentation. “Although many job seekers feel comfortable editing a PowerPoint presentation, they often don’t feel comfortable creating one from scratch,” says Tessa. “If you have created PowerPoint presentations in a professional setting, be sure to add some of those files to your portfolio. When doing so, be sure that you only save non-confidential information.”
You should be also prepared to use your PowerPoint skills during the interview process. Why? If it is important to your interviewer, they may ask you to create a sample presentation as a part of the interview.
Among the complex functionalities in Excel, Jaimee says that these are the most requested by employers:
- Pivot Tables
Not only can these admin skills help businesses increase efficiency and productivity, but professionals who are competent in these areas will have more room for growth within an organization. “When you use these skills on a regular basis, you’ll also gain a better understanding of what a company can take away from the data,” says Jaimee. “As many organizations require these skills for higher level executive assistant roles, you could open up more doors in your career.”
Video conferencing tools
Since video conferencing enables teams to connect face-to-face from any location, more companies are investing in this technology. As an assistant, you may not only be required to participate in these meetings, but also set them up for the team you are supporting. Therefore, you should be comfortable using popular video conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts, Blue Jeans, Zoom, and Go To Meeting. “Your initial interview may even be a video interview to evaluate your proficiency in this technology,” says Jaimee. “As a result, you should know the ins and outs of the program you are using prior to the meeting.”
While you may have used Excel for expenses in the past, employers will often specifically request that you have experience with QuickBooks or Concur instead. “In addition to online resources that can help you learn these programs, you could even track your own expenses to get in the habit of using the tools in the program,” suggests Tessa.
Typing speed is an often overlooked technical skill given today’s digital culture, and as a result, many admins may assume that employers aren’t concerned about your typing speed anymore. However, typing speed and accuracy are still incredibly important to a functioning business. “The standard typing speed requested is about 60+ words per minute,” says Jaimee. “If you’re unsure of what your typing speed is, you can take a test to find out. Additionally, if you discover that you’re below the acceptable number, you can utilize these same online tests to continue practicing.”
If any of these admin skills feel unfamiliar to you, Jaimee suggests utilizing online tools to help you learn. “Not only are there sites like Lynda.com where you can pick up any skill, but there are also free resources like YouTube tutorials and online forums that can assist you,” she says.
For professionals who really want a competitive edge, it is also important that you can show employers that you have the advanced admin skills in your application. “On your resume, you should be specific about the programs you are using to complete projects,” advises Tessa. “Rather than only listing MS Office Suite as a skill, for example, write out Excel (Pivot Tables) and explain how you used it. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, having exposure to as well as the confidence to use these technical skills can help set you apart from your competition.”