10 Key Secretarial Skills To Use in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Offices typically need administrative professionals to keep it organized, efficient and productive. Using secretarial skills is a key way to ensure a company runs smoothly. You can use secretarial skills throughout the workday to complete administrative and clerical duties and to manage your tasks effectively. In this article, we review the different types of secretarial skills to have and why they're important.

Related: Top Clerical Skills to Feature on a Resume

Why is having secretarial skills important?

It's important to have secretarial skills because they help an organization operate smoothly by professionally handling important organizational and administrative tasks. Secretarial skills allow you to handle a wide range of responsibilities, from scheduling appointments to taking meeting notes to organizing essential company files.

Related: 12 Essential Secretary Duties

Top secretarial skills

Top secretarial skills that are beneficial for administrative professionals to use in the workplace include:

1. Verbal and written communication

Professionals often use verbal and written communication in an office to complete numerous tasks, such as emailing clients or employees, answering phone calls and greeting guests if working at the front of the office. Being able to clearly communicate with others allows you to relay important messages or correspondence between executives, customers and employees.

Related: 10 Communication Skills for Career Success

2. Computer and technical skills

You can complete a majority of administrative duties on a computer using the company's applications or software systems. You must also know how to use other basic pieces of office equipment, like printers or scanners, to regularly make copies for executives or employees or to print off essential materials to file for later use and reference.

Administrative professionals must also use devices provided by the company, which could be desktops, laptops or tablets. Many executives prefer employees to use scheduling platforms to ensure all of their appointments and tasks are in one easily accessible location. To improve your technical skills and stand out to employers, several software and application systems offer online tutorials for you to take and feature on your resume.

3. Typing and note-taking

Many administrative professionals must take notes during meetings. You should have impressive note-taking skills in order to quickly write down essential information and takeaways to relay to employees and executives. Quick typing skills can help you efficiently take notes during the meeting and write them into a clear, structured and clean email format for others to view and reference. Knowing shorthand can also help you keep up with conversation and prevent you from missing any key talking points during the meeting.

4. Organization

As an administrative professional, a key responsibility may be to keep all files, company information and documents sorted and organized. This allows yourself and other employees to quickly retrieve them and keeps the documents stored safely to prevent important company data from leaking.

You may be responsible for storing different forms of company information, like electronic databases or paper files. Consider building an organizational system and detailing it in a folder or file so others can use it to quickly find the particular files they're searching for.

Related: Administrative Skills: Definition and Examples for Your Career

5. Problem solving and critical thinking

Executives may expect you to make critical company decisions efficiently. There may also be certain challenges the organization may undergo that requires quick and logical solutions. You must use your problem solving and critical thinking abilities to come up with innovative strategies that can improve the company's performance and solve any company issues.

6. Attention to detail

Some executives may ask administrative professionals to review or proofread documents for them. You must have impressive attention to detail to spot any errors or inconsistencies in these materials before they're sent to clients, stakeholders or the public. There may be other tasks you're expected to complete quickly throughout the day that require you to detect any issues or errors, like making travel arrangements or scheduling appointments.

7. Customer service abilities

Executives may ask you to reach out to customers on their behalf to answer questions, schedule meetings or relay important information. You must have a professional, patient and courteous attitude when working with customers to ensure they maintain a positive relationship with the company. Remember to smile when the customers enter the office or approach your desk. Remain positive when speaking with them, even if they're complaining or expressing concerns.

8. Flexibility and adaptability

The office can be a fast-paced environment, so you'll need to remain adaptable and able to function properly during high-pressure situations. Executives may have appointments or meetings to attend or tasks due at the last minute that they'll expect you to finish, causing you to pause your current assignments and focus on new ones. You must be adaptable to the changing atmosphere and adjust your schedule accordingly to ensure you don't fall behind or become overwhelming with the unexpected changes.

9. Time-management and multitasking

Executives may assign several tasks and projects at once that you're expected to submit within tight deadlines. Consider adopting a task management system to effectively organize your assignments and their due dates to prioritize them accordingly. This can prevent you from forgetting to complete any tasks or falling behind on important projects.

There may also be days where you're assigned several projects that you must submit around the same time. When this occurs, executives may expect you to use your multitasking skills to complete these items while working on other assignments. This may especially occur if you're completing several responsibilities for many executives or employees at once.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition and Examples

10. Presentation and public speaking

You may be responsible for building presentations for executives, which requires knowledge of different presentation platforms and of key company information. Use your presentation and research skills to gather company information, data, statistics and graphics to build informational and valuable presentations for employees, clients or stakeholders to view and learn from.

Employers may ask you speak to audiences during meetings or events, so strong public speaking abilities can help you deliver compelling and engaging presentations.

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