In Canada, administrative assistants need to have a variety of transferable skills in order to keep their competitive edge so that they can get the jobs they want. Some of those skills might be the ability to do Internet research, putting together spreadsheets and reports, and building databases. They will need to use tools like Excel, Word, and Access.
There are many competent people in Canada that are applying for administrative assistant jobs though so those who wish to find employment at their job of choice will need to be competitive. How? Here are a few tips:
Develop Your Management Skills
Management skills can be transferred from job to job so it is important to develop as many as possible. Some of the management skills that you can work on include team management, time management, project management, prioritization management, and organizational management. Having these skills will be a big benefit to you but having documentation that shows you have these skills will go even further.
Strengthen Your Leadership Skills
If you are a leader you will be able to get higher paying jobs and you will be more promotable. As a leader you need to be able to negotiate and think strategically. You can join organizations and associations to learn leadership skills or you can volunteer for organizations and lead a team.
Improve Your Communications Skills
Written and oral communication skills are valued in almost any field but they are especially important for the administrative assistant who is the first and likely the last face that visitors see when they come to the office. Each day the admin assistant needs to send emails and put together reports and memos that will require great writing skills. They will be responsible for answering the phones and relaying messages to co-workers and oral communication skills will ensure that these messages are relayed accurately.
If you want to be successful in your job as an admin assistant, make it a priority to know as much as possible about the company that you work for (or the company you want to work for). Try to understand what the various roles are in the company, what advances the company is making, and who is making the decisions. The more you know, the more you will be able to contribute to your job. Understand the latest trends in your industry and the most recent news and you will be able to contribute towards conversations.
Update Your Computer Skills
While tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access may be a staple in your toolkit there are many other computer skills that you can learn to add value to your job. You can learn computer languages like HTML, CSS, Java, and more. You can learn to use accounting software or Photoshop. You never know when these skills are going to come in handy!
Dress Professionally and Smile
Remember that you should always dress for the position you want to have. Find someone in the company (or someone in a position that you want to be in) that is successful and emulate their manner of dress. And above all, bring a great attitude to everything you do. Never whine. Don’t participate in office gossip. Smile. Offer help when you can. All of these things can help you be seen as a person that others want to be around and that they want to keep around.
And that is how you keep your competitive edge as an administrative assistant!