If you’re an administrative professional and one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2014 includes landing a new job, you’ve come to the right place at the right time! Why? As Shana Cohen, Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources staffing divisions, points out, “An increasing number of employers are putting greater importance on administrative professionals possessing a set of traits and abilities that were not considered as important in the past. Today’s job market is competitive and there is a lot of talent for employers to choose from, so to be considered for a job, it’s absolutely necessary to be prepared to show that you possess these skills.”
The following list includes the 3 abilities/attributes that Shana believes will take precedence in 2014:
Strong Technical Skills:
“Technical skills, specifically in Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, are becoming increasingly important and some of our clients are even implementing tests in these programs to gauge proficiency,” advises Shana. As a result, for Excel, it’s a good idea to learn how to incorporate data into a document, format spreadsheets, and compile information for the people you will be responsible for supporting. For PowerPoint, the abilities to synthesize data, reconstruct information, and then incorporate that into a presentation is a very valuable skill set that employers are looking for.
“At The Execu|Search Group, we have also observed that an increasing number of our smaller clients that consist of 60 employees or less are looking for administrative staff with experience in QuickBooks,” explains Shana. “Assistants and Admins who have a background in QuickBooks can be extremely helpful in the assistance of light bookkeeping, the reconciliation of bills, internal accounting (accounts receivables), payroll, and general office management.” If you are interested in learning more about QuickBooks, there are a variety of training classes you can choose from.
Solid Writing Skills:
Candidates who have been responsible for doing a lot of writing in their career have recently become more appealing to employers. Many employers are looking for candidates who can assume responsibilities in business correspondence and memo writing. As a result, when interviewing for jobs, be prepared to take writing tests that evaluate general communication skills, grammar, and punctuation. It might also be a good idea to compile a portfolio of relevant writing samples and bring them to the interview, so if the hiring manager requests that you send them some samples, you are already prepared.
Exhibiting a positive attitude speaks to the ability to adapt to change in addition to a “nothing is beneath me” mentality. When tailoring your resume to the job you are applying for, it’s important to come across as someone who is going to roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to get the job done well – including the more menial tasks. “This also involves having a team player mindset where you are willing to back up other administrative staff when they are in need,” adds Shana. “Anyone who appears too rigid or set in their ways will most likely be passed on for a more flexible candidate. Therefore, find places in your resume and opportunities during the interview to give examples of times where you were able to rise to a challenge by learning a new skill or adapting to change and successfully work as part of a team.”
If you can demonstrate that you possess these skills and attributes, or at least a willingness to learn, 2014 looks like it will be a great year for your job search – good luck!