10 Qualities Every Great Administrative Assistant Should Have

As an administrative assistant, you are a critical bridge between your bosses and your co-workers. In addition, the support you supply to management requires serious skills. To succeed and advance, focus on sharpening the skills most valued by top executives. Without them, you’ll shortchange yourself and potentially miss out on important opportunities.

Unfortunately, when it comes to admins, there is a misconception in the business world that “anyone can do that job.” However, any boss that has had a bad assistant knows that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Top 10 Qualities You Should Possess as an Administrative Assistant: 

  1. Adaptability: The ability to adapt to any situation on the fly is critical. You need to be able to think quickly and efficiently no matter what comes up.
  2. Be a problem solver: Along with being adaptable, you have to be able to handle difficult situations. Solving minor problems without taking them to your boss will take a load off of their plate and make you shine.
  3. Radiate professionalism: It’s important your outward appearance and attitude reflect your administrative skills. This means you must stick to the dress code and watch your body language – slouching in meetings is forbidden! Furthermore, address everyone with a firm handshake and make eye contact. Fair or not, you represent your boss and department with every interaction, but  if you project professionalism, you’ll get it returned more often than not.
  4. Be outgoing: As an administrative assistant, you’ll meet professionals from every level of the company, as well as important clients. Make sure to give everyone a great first impression of you and the business you represent.
  5. Have exceptional organizational skills: You must be able to multitask … keep everything organized … and find anything your boss needs at a moment’s notice. You can’t do any of this without first-class organization skills. In addition, being organized will keep your work on track so you’re never behind schedule.
  6. Master time management: Being organized goes a long way to helping you with time management. However, you’re not just managing your time — you’re managing your boss’s time too. On the plus side, making sure your boss’s day runs smoothly usually coincides with your stress level plummeting.
  7. Have strong written and oral communication skills: You’ll write many documents, from e-mails to company-wide memos, and you need to communicate clearly and succinctly. In addition, you’ll speak with many people on a daily basis, so make sure your phone etiquette is excellent.
  8. Know your business: Because you’ll communicate with professionals throughout your company and industry, make sure you know your industry-specific terms. You’ll understand your work better and be able to connect more clearly with your colleagues, outside vendors and clients.
  9. Diplomacy rules: Administrative assistants often get unwittingly sucked into the dark side of office politics and gossip. Co-workers often think that if they complain to you about a work situation, you’ll automatically pass it on to your boss. Make sure not to discuss personal matters with co-workers or participate in gossip.
  10. Honor confidentiality: At some point, you will handle sensitive information and it is essential that you keep it 100 percent confidential. Oftentimes, federal law mandates your silence on most issues, but more importantly for your career, you absolutely must be someone your boss and co-workers trust.

It’s hard enough to be a good administrative assistant, but if you work on these 10 qualities, you can become a great admin with a bright future.


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