In 2002, U.S. companies employed more than 4.1 million administrative assistants and secretaries, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor. While the increasing automation of offices has slowed growth in this field, there has been a paradigm shift in the role of an effective 21st century administrative professional. The three core competencies required to be successful in this field are:
Computer Expertise- According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the most important skill employers look for in administrative professionals is computer expertise. The rapid and constant development of electronic equipment and labor saving software makes it necessary for administrative professionals to remain current and adaptable. The ability to create spreadsheets, databases and
People Skills-Even though administrative professionals need to be technically competent; they must not neglect the people skills aspect of their job. Often times an Administrative assistant is an extension of the company or individual brand. They represent their bosses in meetings, train and supervise others, and will probably find themselves working closely with other employees. Tact, patience, and the ability to communicate with others will always be necessary.
Organizational Ability- With tasks ranging from the management of information (such as paper and electronic files) to researching projects to planning meetings or special events, administrative professionals must be able to manage time, information and people.