Got the skills to star in an office admin role?

Posted in Candidates

Posted by Ali Willox
Published on 24 July, 2018

Got the skills to star in an office admin or support role?

Office admin: two incredibly boring words that don’t even begin to sum up the diversity of duties, or depth of responsibility, the profession offers. You are the oil that silently keeps the office cogs turning. Your role is vital. In return you can expect valuable business experience and - with the right company - a decent salary and opportunities for progression.

Think it’s all Excel spreadsheets and answering the phone? Think again.

Office admin - what’s that then?

  • Office junior
  • Administration
  • Receptionist
  • Secretary
  • Personal Assistant (PA)
  • Buying Assistant
  • Office Manager
  • Marketing Administrator/Assistant
  • Human Resources Administrator/Assistant
  • Customer Services Assistant

What qualifications do you need?

A solid set of GCSEs and A Levels (or equivalent) is a plus. But specific qualifications are way less important than your personality and soft skills.

Can you be a bit more specific?

You need to be confident, friendly and gritty

Most admin roles involve interacting with many different people. Colleagues, clients, cleaners and more. You need to be breezy with them all - no matter how long your to-do list is. On top of that you should be able to manage your own workload. That kind of freedom can be a lot of fun, but you need enough self-trust to get through the sticky patches without losing faith.

A tip-top first impression

As an office manager or receptionist you will often be the first person to greet anyone who visits your business. Whether it’s the director of a big new client, or the guy who has come to fix the water cooler, the reputation of the company is very much in your hands. You need to know the value of eye contact and a smile.

Good with words, comfortable with numbers

While it’s not necessary to show the same finesse with the written word as Keates or Shakespeare, you do need to avoid grammar gaffes and dodgy spellings. (You will be sending a lot of emails.) And if your role involves anything to do with accounts, invoicing or payment runs, you will obviously need to be at home with numbers too.

You know your way around Microsoft Office

In today’s world, “good with computers” could mean anything. Let’s just say you will be comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite and a willing learner of unfamiliar software - capable of making keyboards combust with the speed of your typing when necessary.

You are an organiser and planner

Nothing gets past you and your detail-orientated mindset. Office admin roles often require the ability to plan for the long-term, without losing focus on your daily duties. It’s not easy. But if you have the necessary skills, you will become a valued member of any team.

You take problems in your stride

While it’s only the perfect PA that’s required to know what their boss needs before being asked, all office and business admin roles require problem-solving skills. You will often be juggling multiple tasks, fighting fires (not literally) and solving future problems before they occur. Out of petty cash? Boss double booked? Air conditioning needs servicing? Be ready to jump in and take the necessary action to make it yesterday’s problem.

In short?

  • Confident, friendly and organised
  • Love solving problems and a careful planner
  • Familiar with Microsoft Office

Sounds like you? Read on!

What should you mention at interview?

The opening moments of your interview are precious, especially as your job will require the ability to make good first impressions. Beyond that you should aim to show evidence that you have demonstrated the qualities listed above - either in your previous jobs or through your education and hobbies. Loyalty is important too. If you’ve shown it, shout about it. Otherwise be prepared to explain any areas of your CV that suggest you have a tendency to hurry towards the exit door.

Office admin jobs in Exeter and the South West

Skills like yours are in demand. More and more businesses are moving to the West Country - and they need people like you to keep their offices shipshape. Here at Cathedral Appointments we recruit for some of the best office admin roles in the South West including Exeter, Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.


Recruitment Consultant - Office Division

Ali joined Cathedral Appointments in 2017 after working in the USA for 18 months. With a customer focused approach and a strong sales background, Ali works alongside Katie on the Office Division and has built up strong relationships with a number of the SW's leading employers. She is probably the most fittest (and competitive) member of the CathApps team.

More posts

Got the skills to star in an office admin role?

About cookies

We use cookies on this site to help improve user experience and deliver services. By using this site you consent to the use of cookies.