Skill Set Demands, What Employers Really Want!

Vivien from IAM’s trusted partner cornerstone42, let us know what employers are increasingly asking her when looking for new administrative assistants. 

The honest truth – what managers want vary. This depends on many elements including the organisation, culture and the hiring manager. What a big melting pot this is. 

Many hiring managers talk about the operational role of an administrative assistant, hiring managers want someone who is highly organised, who is able to multi task and able to effectively deal with a high volume of workload and responsibilities. I am noticing a slight change of tide regarding managers who want to use their assistants more effectively and actually want to take their time to work on recruiting the right person. 

What administrative assistants need to realise is the role is changing and additional responsibilities like project and event management, financial and budget management as well as recruitment is becoming an integral part of the role. 

Regardless of the sector, managers are looking for someone who is highly organised who helps them to succeed and contributes to the success of the business and team. 

If you are striving to work as a senior level, working strategically is key; this is what managers are asking for. What do I mean by that? It is important that you work with your manager to identify what their long term goals and objectives are and how you are going to help them achieve them; the commercial side of the business. 

If you are working for a start-up or a small medium enterprise interests you, these organisations either know or are starting to understand the value and importance of social media. This responsibility is being delegated to administrative assistants. Employers are taking a keen interest on whether the individual uses social media for personal use or has managed social platforms for a business. If you shy away from social media I would highly recommend you take a look at your favourite brands or people and take note on how they run their social platforms. 

Although the role has evolved so much, the fundamentals are still required which is a high proficiency in MS Outlook, Word, PowerPoint Excel and PowerPoint with strong organisational and communication skills. 

We must not underestimate that most hiring managers value a high level of personal integrity, trust, the ability to handle confidential information and to be discreet. 

The can-do attitude and a problem solver is important to any organisation. You will find this is a favourite interview question “Tell me when you had to deal with a problem and what was the outcome”. Implementing systems – this can sometimes take time and the initiative to take forward, organisations are frequently looking for ways to be more effective. When recruiting someone new there is a hope that the new hire will bring fresh and innovative ideas into the workplace and implement them. 

Another skill that I am frequently asked for is the ability to make a sound judgement as well as showing resilience, resourcefulness and the tenacity especially when there has been a setback. It is very important in the role as an administrative assistant to be able to bounce back and get back to business when thing do not plan out. 

There are many skills and capabilities that is being demanded by potential employers, including strong communication skills, as we know assistants are the focal point, the first point of contact their managers or executives. 

As administrative assistants it is our responsibility to keep up to date with the changes and requirements of potential organisations. Continue to learn, develop and learn from others and an eye on what is going on in the profession. Even if you are not actively looking do not have your head in the sand – always be aware of what is “hot” and what is “not” in your profession. 

IAM members are eligible for a free CV appraisal (50% for a follow up service if wanted) and free initial mentoring service (15% for the next level of service).   

Keep your eyes pealed for more pieces regarding skill set trends for administrative professionals whom vary in different levels of  responsibility. 


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