Top 5 Skills Required For Support Roles

Written by on June 23, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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communication-trouble-007Recruitment for administrative and support roles differ from other types of recruitment in terms of the required candidate skills.

We asked experts who work in the recruitment of Personal Assistants, Receptionists, Secretaries and HR Personnel to gain information and then created a list of the essential skills and attributes you need to demonstrate in these positions.

1. Organisational skills: Assistant roles are usually varied and involve a lot of multi-tasking. You often need to be your boss’s memory; the one handling their calendar, scheduling appointments, taking calls, and doing other duties which require care and accuracy.

To create symmetry out of chaos, organisation has to become your best friend. Your ability to prioritise, manage your time wisely and meet deadlines will be the critical measure of your performance.

Personal Assistants and Secretaries should also be able to distinguish and handle high-priority items and set aside unimportant ones. This is a critical attribute, not only because you avoid irritating your employer, but also because you add value to their business by saving them precious time.

2. Professionalism: HR and Secretarial Professionals are often described as the ‘eyes and ears of a company’.

Because of their unique overview of the organisation, they need to exhibit discretion and be trustworthy. Their strong professional ethics are also translated into compliance with the company’s policies and procedures.

3. PC literacy: Whether a Personal Assistant, a Secretary or an HR Assistant, you will be expected to prove working knowledge of industry standard software packages. You need to be familiar with database management, desktop publishing and spreads sheets, to say the least.

Perhaps the most tech-savvy among the administrative positions is that of an Executive Assistant.

Those professionals carry out their duties with every conceivable piece of office equipment, from computers and fax machines to troubleshooting machinery.

The ever changing nature of technology requires them to be comfortable adapting to new equipment and learn fast.


4. Communication skills: This is a broad term which covers verbal and written communication. Administration professionals communicate with others constantly, setting up appointments and carrying out other business-related tasks. They need to be clear, concise, and focused to avoid misunderstandings.

That’s easier said than done as it requires a high degree of mental endurance and intellectual stamina. Their interpersonal skills are constantly tested; they are expected to collaborate with staff at all corporate levels and establish successful working relationships.

Being able to tailor your message for the audience and listening without interrupting is a good start to achieve that.

In the best working relationships Assistants go one step further; they see themselves as partners to their executives and strive to accomplish mutual goals. Those employees have the best shot at improving their skills and advancing in their job.

5. Ability to cope with pressure:  Assistants need to exhibit a high degree of emotional intelligence (EI) at work. You will often collaborate closely with Executives who are highly exposed to stress and difficult to work with.

To avoid conflict, you need to ‘read’ them fast, anticipate their needs and keep your composure when you smell tension. A degree of flexibility and thinking on your own feet is also required to quickly get into ‘recovery mode’ when problems arise.

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  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

Katerina Kardamaki is a Marketing Enthusiast with experience in Recruitment. She blogs about marketing and recruitment topics. For PA jobs and Secretarial Jobs please visit Spotlight Secretarial

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