Daljeet Kaur Lal Jan 25, 2024
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Top skills for success at every level as a secretary

To handle the day-to-day administration and manage the tasks efficiently, every company requires secretarial support. Secretarial or administrative support is indeed necessary to keep an office running smoothly and organised. The skills and knowledge of a secretary are vast. There is so much that they need to achieve success at every level. An entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level secretary needs different skill sets depending on their position.

It's essential to have the right skills and the personality needed for each level of work. A successful secretary will always carry out administrative tasks and clerical tasks efficiently and effectively no matter what their rank or position in an office. Hence, we will elaborately discuss the top skills that a secretary needs to be flourishing at every level.

What does a Secretary do?

A secretary, in general, is responsible for supporting various activities in a business. They often take care of the administrative tasks that include taking meeting notes, scheduling appointments, organizing events, or making travel arrangements. One of the essential skills a secretary requires is their ability to be quick on their feet and multitask.

An entry-level secretary will typically carry out administrative and clerical tasks such as filing papers or answering phone calls as an assistant. You take on charges related to everyday correspondence, scheduling, and essential office support. The mid-level secretaries are usually more specialized in one aspect of the work environment, carrying out tasks related to their area of expertise. At this level, you can take on an administrative secretary job. 

The senior-level secretaries uphold the position of an administrative superior who must excel in the skills of a secretary and go above and beyond. It requires you to take your secretarial career to the next level.

Why is having a skilled secretary critical in an office environment?

Secretarial skills are indispensable in any organization, and they help the company run smoother. From scheduling meetings to taking notes during them, your secretarial abilities can make you an invaluable asset for a business.

A secretary is required to help administer tasks with their time management, multitasking, and prioritising skills. The standard duties of an office assistant are to arrange appointments, manage conference room reservations, handle the mail that comes into the company and distribute it throughout the organization, etc.

Top Secretarial Skills at every level

A good secretary contains various skills and abilities to work efficiently. They need to excel in both hard skills and soft skills to succeed in every secretarial role. The skills required to be a secretary are given below:

  • Clear Verbal and Written Communication
  • Computer and Technological Skills
  • Organisational Skills
  • Time Management
  • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
  • Attention To Detail
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Proactive Approach
  • Sense of Discretion
  • Presentation and Professionalism

1.Clear Verbal and Written Communication

It is crucial to have strong verbal and written communication skills to communicate with coworkers, bosses, clients and customers. There are many ways that a secretarial position requires this skill set, including answering telephones, typing correspondence for various employees within the company or outside of it, taking dictation from superiors or extracting information from others verbally.

Clear communication is the most critical skill required to be an efficient secretary. Precise and friendly communication along with phone manners can help you deliver messages.

2.Computer and Technological Skills 

Computer skills are essential for any job, but especially so in a secretarial position. For example, a secretary needs to know how to search databases and the internet effectively without wasting time by typing words into Google or Bing that would be more useful if they were phrased as questions instead of just one word.

It is also necessary to have familiarity with spreadsheets, presentations and documents. Finally, technological skills include your versatility in using office devices, software, and applications that brush up memos, make appointments, schedules events, and processes emails. If you find yourself in an entanglement, upgrade your technical skills through Secretarial Skills Training.

3.Organisational Skills

An adequate secretary needs the skills to organise work effectively. They need excellent organisational skills as they are often responsible for managing tasks efficiently. As they come across piles of paperwork, databases, and meetings, you need to master organisational skills to keep track of assignments.

By keeping named files, sorted documents, electronic databases, alert memos for scheduling, and software to deal with retrieving frenzy, you can keep everything under control and organised.

4.Time Management

An essential skill for any secretary is to be able to manage their time effectively. This means organizing tasks, scheduling appointments and meetings, prioritizing tasks, following up on outstanding items promptly, and setting clear deadlines for themselves to meet consistently.

As you work smarter, you can track how long each task takes and learn to optimise time efficiently and prioritize each activity. Prioritising and optimisation are essential to excel in time management. 

5.Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

As a secretary, you will be responsible for keeping executives on schedule and ensuring communication with clients is as smooth as possible. You may also have to help the company in new ways when it faces problems that require quick solutions.

Secretaries need excellent problem-solving skills to anticipate any challenges that might arise at work or outside of it and take action quickly and logically with innovative strategies for improvement when required.

6.Attention To Detail

Attention to detail is an essential element for success as a secretary because mistakes can lead to missed deadlines or lost information. The most crucial skill that secretaries need to succeed at all levels throughout their career is the attention span. It takes an incredible amount of patience and focuses on keeping up with one's work and remaining organized enough to help others when necessary.

You must have impressive attention to detail and a quick eye for spotting any errors or inconsistencies in these materials before they're sent out to clients, stakeholders, or the public. In addition, there may be other tasks you'll need to complete quickly throughout the day that requires you to spot issues like making travel arrangements or scheduling appointments.

7.Flexibility and Adaptability

Secretaries need to have flexibility and adaptability. Quickly changing midstream can be critical, but it also means that the person must learn new skills fast. While working in a fast-paced environment, you need to think on your feet and be accustomed to the pressure changes.

As for good secretary skills, you need to adapt to the dynamic environment and adjust your schedule to prioritize new tasks when necessary. It would be best if you also learned how to work at a not overwhelming pace and ensure that you don't fall behind.

8.Proactive Approach

As a secretary, it’s vital to take an active approach in the workplace. A proactive attitude will help you foster new relationships and create positive changes for your employer's company culture. Be flexible with your time when needed and take the initiative to improve workflow.

Senior-level secretaries know that anticipating problems and taking the opportunity to address them head-on can save loads of time. Proper workflow development in this career field requires proactive systems, which might take more time upfront but will significantly aid with project execution later on down the line.

9.Sense of Discretion

As a secretary, you will often be privy to sensitive information. It is crucial for your job that you maintain confidentiality and protect this information from the wrong eyes. You will need a sense of discretion to maintain confidentiality. 

If someone asks to see something or wants more detailed answers about an issue, it is always best to defer questions back up the chain of command or say no with as little information given as possible. Ensure appropriate levels in place if an employee needs access to certain items on your desk and surroundings. 

10.Presentation and Professionalism

To be good at presentation and professionalism, the first impression you make on a potential employer. For example, you don't want your boss or colleagues to think you're unprofessional because of how you dress.

No matter the level you are working at, a secretary in the face of an office. It would help if you attained certain qualities like politeness and respect while encountering clients and employees to embrace the skill of professionalism.

The Career Path of a Secretary

A secretary is a professional who performs administrative and clerical tasks to manage work for the employer. The duties of secretaries vary depending on their level in an organization, but typically they are responsible for drafting correspondence, taking dictation, making travel arrangements, managing calendars and appointments.

The career path of a secretary has a lot of room for growth through the years. It can evolve to become an executive administrator, office manager, administrative coordinator, or other senior administrative roles.

In time, you can develop your skills in organisation, time management, and critical thinking and climb up the ladder of success. You can also lean onto careers in project management and human resource with adequate skills and abilities.

In Conclusion

To become successful in secretarial work, you need to have an excellent grasp of office skills. The secretary is responsible for carrying out several administrative and clerical tasks that can be time-consuming and demanding. This means it’s essential to manage their jobs efficiently and stay organized in this fast-paced environment.

Daljeet Kaur Lal is an HR Trainer who has extensive work experience of over 11 years. She is now working with Edoxi Training Institute, Dubai. She develops and executes various HR training programs to ensure that employees have the skills and knowledge to meet the organization's objectives.

She is passionate about learning new things. She enjoys spending her free time reading favourite books and listening to all-time favourite melodies in English and Hindi. She is also keenly involved in Adventurous activities and loves to travel a lot.