It’s Administrative Professionals Day. This is a day to recognize and thank the individuals in administrative roles. Administrative professional roles include executive secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, data entry personnel, and a long list of related job titles. To all, I commend you.

I worked as a secretary many years ago. I quickly learned that it is a job that requires a wide range of skills. Of course the hard skills like computer savviness, basic math knowledge, and proper grammar and communications skills are a must, but these skills are equally balanced in importance with soft skills like organization and time management, having the ability to remain calm and unflappable under pressure, and always being ready with a smile, a greeting and an answer to a wide range of questions; all critical skills while working at an intense level of speed and accuracy.

The administrative professional role today is much different than the secretary position I held many years ago. Based on the recently released Manpower 2016 report on Today’s Administrative Professionals the role has expanded as employers’ needs and expectations have evolved. With the expanded expectations come challenges in finding the quality talent needed to fill the critical administrative professional roles of today.

In the 2016 report on Today’s Administrative Professionals, employers were asked what skills were in most demand. The respondents indicated the following skills are lacking in today’s administrative professionals:

  1. Self-motivation/independence. With managers’ assuming more responsibilities and managing a higher number of people, they need people who are able to manage their own work load and are driven to complete tasks on time.
  2. Ability to multi-task. Managing multiple projects or tasks at once has always been a critical skill for almost all administrative roles. However, this is especially true in today’s work environment where administrative professionals are taking on more responsibilities like budgeting, event management, and Internet research and market analysis, to name a few.
  3. Written communication skills. The ability to clearly and concisely relay information continues to be important to the job. In today’s work environment information is shared constantly over email, instant message, social media, texting, presentations, and internal company communication platforms. The ability to judge the appropriate medium, timing, and message itself is at an all-time high.
  4. Microsoft Office Skills. The more knowledge one possesses on how to maneuver and manipulate information in the various Microsoft applications is truly to one’s advantage. This knowledge adds efficiency and ease to one’s daily tasks.
  5. Technical/computer skills. The computer is the lifeline to the administrative professional’s daily activities. The know-how to learn and operate any type of computer/technical equipment from the copier to setting up video conferences truly makes for being an instrumental office contributor.

As an administrative professional job seeker, if you possess these skills, your job prospects should be strong. Based on the report, employers are planning to hire administrative professionals in 2016. Now is the time to highlight and/or build on these key skills to succeed in the job search and take your career to the next level. Are there other skills you see as being critical to today’s administrative professionals?

Check out more insights from employers on administrative professionals, including their hiring projections for 2016, in the Manpower 2016 report on Today’s Administrative Professionals.

Nancy Manley

About Nancy Manley


Nancy enjoys helping people find a job that makes them feel complete. She thrives on sharing information that helps candidates become successful employees and engaged workers.