7 qualities employers look for in an administrative assistant.


I’ve worked with many business owners and many of them are looking for great support staff. They are looking for people who are organized, efficient and can effectively handle multiple facets of a business. If you prove yourself, there are incentives and bonus opportunities available in these positions and there is also room for growth in these companies. These business owners may have some disorganization issues, but they are looking for an assistant who can handle the day to day operations in an organized and efficient manner that will take the pressure off of them so they can focus on their workload.

Instead of talking to the business owners today, I want to talk to all of the support staff out there or anybody that is looking for a position as a support person. There are definitely job opportunities in Rhode Island if you are looking for administrative positions.

“When you are in an administrative position and really any position for that matter, time management skills are very important.”

Here are 7 qualities employers look for in an administrative assistant:

Goes above and beyond.  Sometimes you will be asked to follow through with tasks that you might not think are in your job description as a support person. Maybe your employer wants you to make dinner reservations, or purchase tickets online, or they give you an easy task that you think they could do themselves. Make it your job to assist your employer in any way that will make their job easier. You are there to support them. Go above and beyond, go the extra mile and do what it takes to assist your employer.

Treats the business as if it were their own. Take pride in your work. If this were your own business, how would you work? Why would you work any less for your employer?  Give this job 150% and you will be noticed for your hard work and dedication.

Impeccable time management skills.  When you are in an administrative position and really any position for that matter, time management skills are very important. If you must, keep a time management grid until you get acclimated to this new skill set. Don’t bounce around from task to task. If you have a project you are working on, set a time limit and don’t check your emails during that time. Let others know you are working on a project and not to disturb you. Limit the social conversations in the office if you are crunched for time. Take the time to evaluate how you function and how you utilize your time.

Streamlines processes and procedures. Once you start working in the office, if you notice that the office is disorganized, or there isn’t a flow to the office, take the initiative and think about how you can make the office more efficient and productive. Sometimes there are disorganized people in the office who can’t vision how an office could have a better flow. If you are organized and have the drive, take it upon yourself to make changes.  Any situation I find myself in, I always ask myself if there is a simpler, more efficient way to tackle a task. Start developing ways to streamline procedures. Don’t make a task more complicated than it has to be.

Streamlines work spaces. Keep office desks streamlined and organized. Physical disorganization is a distraction and causes unwanted stress. When a workspace is disorganized, information gets lost and efficiency is hampered. When management is looking for a file, you should be able to place your hand on it immediately, pass it off and go about your day.  When clients visit your office, they don’t want to see a disorganized workspace. It doesn’t present well.  Opinions will be formed about how you function as a company.

Expands their skill set. Challenge yourself and grow within your position. Depending on the type of office you are in, are you able to jump into somebody’s seat if they are on leave or out sick for the day? Make yourself expendable and flexible to be able to jump in if somebody needs coverage.

Offers superior customer service. In the majority of offices, the administrative assistant is the first person you deal with in an office setting. Whether it’s on the phone or in person, the administrative assistant sets the tone of how the office functions on a whole. You don’t want the customer to have a bad experience on their first visit or phone call. Make it an experience that they will never forget.

An organized, efficient, and hard-working assistant is a valuable asset in any company. Take pride in your work and brush up on the skills above and you’ll find yourself in a very rewarding position. You’ll also develop skills that you can take with you throughout your career.

Kristin MacRae

Organizing & Efficiency Expert

Owner, Organizing In RI, LLC

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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