Top Office Assistant Skills With Examples

List of Office Assistant Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

Image shows a woman at a computer, with a calendar behind her. Text reads: "Office assistant skills: Friendliness, organization skills, written communication skills, verbal communication skills, technology skills "

Maddy Price / The Balance

Office assistant positions can be found in all industries, and share a large set of skills. Office assistants are sometimes known as secretaries or administrative assistants, but what they do is assist in the functioning of an office.

Whether the office belongs to a law firm, a medical practice, an educational institution, or a corporation, the needs are similar: somebody has to file records, maintain schedules, and take care of routine communication on behalf of the people who use the office.

 Some office assistants work remotely. Virtual assistants typically work from home, performing tasks that an administrative assistant or secretary would normally do.

Office Assistant Job Responsibilities

While office assistant positions are generally similar to each other, the job is still variable—it just varies from day to day, rather than from office to office. Today you might act as a receptionist, tomorrow might require repairing the printer, and the day after that, you’ll have to transfer the entire filing cabinet to the cloud. You’ll need a very broad skill set to succeed.

Office assistants are among the great unsung heroes of the business world, because when you do your job right, nobody notices—the office appears to run itself. But some people enjoy the fast-paced yet flexible work, the feeling of being at the heart of everything. A good secretary can find work almost anywhere, in any kind of organization.

Top Office Assistant Skills

Here are some of the top skills employers look for when hiring office staff.

Verbal Communication Skills

Communication is a critical soft skill for an office assistant. You will have to interact with your supervisor, fellow office staff, the professionals you assist, and possibly clients or people in other offices of the same organization. You all work as a team, and you are its main communication hub.

You’ll need to be cheerful, helpful, well-informed, articulate, and a good listener every day.

  • Answer Phones
  • Client Relations
  • Communication
  • Forwarding Phone Calls
  • Message Taking
  • Routing Phone Calls
  • Switchboard
  • Telephone
  • Verbal Communication

Written Communication Skills

Most office assistants write a lot. They might write memos, fill out forms, or draft letters or emails. Some create content for the company website or edit text for others. Clear, professional written communication is a must.

  • Correspondence
  • Email
  • Mail
  • Mailings
  • Typing
  • Word Processing
  • Written Communication

Friendliness

An office assistant might be the first person a client sees upon entering the office. If the office’s primary occupant happens to be out at the moment, the office assistant might be the only person the visitor interacts with. You must be ready to greet every visitor with a smile and a kind word and to help them with whatever they need so far as you are able. So, good interpersonal skills are a necessity.

  • Customer Service
  • Directing Visitors
  • Flexible
  • Friendly
  • Greet Guests
  • Interpersonal
  • Positive Attitude
  • Reliability
  • Welcome Visitors

Technology Skills

In the old days, secretaries did a lot of typing. Times have changed and so has technology, but office assistants can still expect to spend plenty of time in front of a keyboard. Instead of a typewriter, you’ll have to know your way around a variety of software applications. Knowing how to do some light tech support and how to fix a recalcitrant printer doesn’t hurt, either.

  • Computer
  • Google Docs
  • Google Drive
  • Google Forms
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Slides
  • Gmail
  • Internet
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Powerpint
  • QuickBooks
  • Slack
  • Technology
  • Video Conferencing
  • Zoom

Organization

Office assistants must be extremely organized to effectively juggle their many tasks. You’ll need to help keep other people organized, too, from maintaining calendars to keeping the office orderly.

  • Administrative Support
  • Appointments
  • Billing
  • Calendars
  • Clerical
  • Data Entry
  • Delivering Mail
  • Electronic Filing
  • Expense Reports
  • Filing
  • Front Desk Operations
  • Money Handling
  • Office Duties
  • Office Equipment
  • Office Supply Inventory
  • Office Supplies
  • Office Support
  • Organization
  • Paperwork
  • Shipping

Problem Solving Skills

Problem solving, or critical thinking skills, are important for any office assistant, as you’ll often be the person others come to with questions or issues.

  • Coordinate Office Activities
  • Meetings
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Respond to Inquiries
  • Scheduling
  • Screening and Directing Calls
  • Spreadsheets
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Travel Arrangements

Resume and Cover Letter Examples

Review resume and cover letter examples, and get templates to download, for a variety of office positions:

How to Showcase Your Skills

  • The names of these skills function as keywords, so use as many as you can when writing your resume.
  • You can use these same keywords in your cover letter. Focus specifically on the ones your prospective employer cares about most.
  • Make sure you have at least one example of a time you demonstrated skills from each category ready to share with interviewers.

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