Top 10 skills needed for an office admin job


It’s a role that we see advertised a lot across the country but is it really something that anyone can do?

Some people will remain in administration their entire life, refining their skills and others use it as a stepping stone to move up the ranks to management or leadership positions but what does it really take to be a good office administrator?


What are the skills needed?


Office roles make up the foundation of corporations worldwide. Senior management, sales departments and marketing sectors have their place but office roles support the whole business.

So what do you need to succeed in an office role?


  • Computer skills


This might seem like an obvious choice but it’s one thing getting a GCSE in IT but can you use it day in, day out?

Start by making sure you are comfortable navigating your way around email, preferably Outlook. You certainly don’t need to be familiar with every single function on the programme but an understanding of when to use carbon copy (cc), blind copy (bc), high importance etc might be a good place to start.

Microsoft Office (other products are available) is arguably the most used package within the workplace. Word documents, spreadsheets and maybe the odd Powerpoint presentation are useful things to be familiar with using so make sure you are comfortable navigating around those.



  • Communication skills


Written and oral communication is one of the most vital skills needed when working in an office administrator position. There is nothing worse than answering the phone in a busy office, taking half a message and then passing it over to the relevant person. Not only does it create more work trying to piece the message together but if the importance of the message isn’t relayed, not returning the call quick enough or speaking to the right person could impact the business.

Perhaps try practising taking messages from friends, family members either face to face or on the phone and try relaying the message in a clear and concise way.


  • Organisational skills


The humble notepad… overlooked by some but a best friend for taking notes, numbers, or random pieces of information. If you’re not a notepad person, we suggest you learn to love it if you want a busy office administrator role!

The company may have a filing system or set up that they would prefer you to use but if not, strong filing, labelling if application and colour codes are great methods to use and demonstrate.


  • Multitasking 


This might not be something that is natural for you but perhaps you can either practice it, or highlight it at an interview as a potential area of improvement so if you are offered a role, you are not given a 1 million and one tasks to do at once and you get too overwhelmed.



  • Attention to detail


Spellings, production of company documents and noticing non-verbal cues are all great things to be mindful of in an administrator position. Often you may be asked to construct a letter or email and ensuring names and information are spelt correctly will not only help with efficiency but will increase your performance as an administrator.

Practising active listening or adapting things such as your dress code or what you might say to a colleague are brilliant alternative ways to display attention to detail. It might be something at the time that doesn’t get recognised and noticed, but potentially a couple of weeks later be something that can add value to an idea.


  • Typing skills 


Touch typing and words per minute (wpm) can be terms that you will often see in a job advert and this can be something quite daunting. Some clients and interviews may even invite you in for a typing ‘test’ just to see the level you are at. If you know how many words per minute you can type there is no harm mentioning it in a covering letter or on your CV.

If you are a two index finger typist then you may want to practice before applying for a purely admin based roles. There are plenty of free websites that offer training and advice, or simply opening a word document up and practising that way can also help enhance skills.


  • Show initiative 


This can be the smallest of actions, whether it’s researching the people you’re going to meet prior to an interview or by suggesting if you were offered the position you could come in before your start date to shadow, learn and be with the team. Actions like that will not only show you want to join a company but it will also reflect positively in annual reviews or if promotions are available.


  •  Be proactive 


Being proactive and showing initiative can appear to the same thing but there are ways of being proactive before you’ve even had an interview. Ways in which you could be proactive prior to a face to face meeting could be;

-making a note of your availability for interview and holiday dates that could affect a start date

– adding references

– explaining any special requirements or circumstances to avoid any awkward conversations at interview stage

– highlighting salary requirements


  • Telephone manner


It might sound stupid but the way in which you answer the phone can really set the mood of a call. If the office phone is ringing and you have no idea who is on the other end you want to make sure that you are clear and positive.

Every member of staff here at Elite will answer the main phone with the same greeting ‘Good morning Elite Staffing Solutions (name) speaking…’ That way the person knows the company they’ve rang (in case they’ve called the wrong number) and the person that they’re speaking to. Ensure you are sincere when responding to queries and make sure you speak loud and clear when talking.


  • A can do attitude


When you see the title office administrator, assume the role does not stop at purely just helping with the administration. Putting yourself forward for things outside of your job description shows you are a true team player and will help to develop relationships with colleagues and trust with your employer.

Even if it’s collecting the milk on the way into work, posting a card for a colleague or offering to help support a colleague is becoming snowed under with work are always great things to do if you’re on top of all  your work.


Special tip from Elite Staffing Solutions


If your passion is to get into a specialised sector, get some work experience or knowledge under your belt.

Certain industries will use jargon and bespoke computer systems so an understanding on what these might be and maybe even reading up about them will show an employer how serious you are.

Investing in personal development is also something else you can look at although it can often come with a small price tag. Be sure to read up on course suitability and the confirmed qualification you will walk away with, but self-funded study is again something we see a lot of and can the difference.


There are other skills that of course will lend themselves well to an Office Administrator job but in our experience these are the top 10 that we would recommend reading into if you are looking to pursue a career in administration.

If you’re ready to apply for your next office role we’re here to find your perfect job. We are experts in recruitment and are here to help you polish your skills and get you where you want to be. Get in touch today, we can’t wait to help!