Become a Top Notch AA With These Skills

Julie Shenkman
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Administrative assistants do much more than take phone messages, organize files and schedule appointments. These hardworking professionals exist throughout nearly every industry to support the individuals in their organization and act as a liaison between employees and clients. There are several job skills that administrative assistants should master to be more successful.

Time Management

Successful administrative assistants must use their time efficiently and effectively in order to complete all of their necessary assignments within the given time frames. Exceptional time management skills let administrative professionals meet deadlines, keep up with long-term due dates and manage daily distractions, including phone calls and emails.


Administrative assistants work with employees from within the corporation, while also serving as the first line of contact for partners, customers, clients and vendors. A good administrative assistant should communicate clearly and professionally, whether over the phone, through written communication, via email or in person.


It's important for an administrative professional to be organized in all aspects of her job. Administrative assistants must keep track of important company documents, schedule and confirm meetings for superiors, and respond to correspondence coming into the office. Keeping an organized workload lets a successful administrative assistant prioritize her duties and multitask to complete all of her work on time.


Administrative assistants must be on time for meetings and willing to come in early or stay late when the need arises. Because superiors are often out of the office, an administrative assistant should be able to complete her duties with little or no supervision. Administrative professionals may handle human resources paperwork, financial information or sensitive business documents, so it's vital that they maintain a high degree of confidentiality.


Administrative assistants must complete their everyday, routine office duties while still handling any urgent situations or needs that arise in the office. No two workdays are the same for administrative professionals, as last-minute requests and unexpected situations often occur. An exceptional administrative professional is flexible, handling these occurrences without letting them interfere with the other duties in her workday.

Technological Know-How

Many offices rely on administrative assistants to handle routine office procedures, such as refilling printer paper or replacing toner cartridges. Administrative professionals should also possess excellent typing skills and be well-versed in Microsoft Office software, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. It also helps to be familiar with Adobe Photoshop and accounting software, such as QuickBooks. Some administrative assistants even manage their organization's social media presence, including Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

Administrative assistants fill positions in a wide range of industries, so it's important to possess all the necessary job skills to be a well-rounded employee and succeed in your career. Honing these skills gives you the competitive edge when climbing the corporate ladder or looking for new and exciting job opportunities.

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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Calvin thanks for your comment. It is hard to say for sure what the issue might be. Is your resume current? Are you just including relevant information on your resume? Are you trying to keep the information to the past ten years? Are you including a cover letter - one that is geared towards how the company will benefit from hiring you? Are you applying to realistic positions - ones that are inline with your experience and skills? Are you networking? Are you looking for an attending career events in your area? Have you thought about using a temp agency or a recruiter? Are you talking up your situation with family and friends? Have you considered adding new skills to your portfolio? Between jobs is a great time to update your current skills and learn something new - whether on your own or through your local community college. These are just some of the questions that you need to ask yourself. Are you really doing all that you can to find a new position?

  • Calvin Williams
    Calvin Williams

    I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I have quite a bit of experience. We are talking over 25 years in the business. I don't think im asking for too much. money. Is it possible the issue is age discrimination?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Calvin thanks for your comment. Are you not finding any positions on our site? Have you tried getting in touch with a recruiter or maybe go through a temp agency. We here at Beyond are not recruiters nor are we an agency. We post jobs for you to review and submit your application. We wish you all the best.

  • Calvin Williams
    Calvin Williams

    Hi Julie, do you any pull in Palmdale or Lancaster California I desperately need employment

  • Miriam D.
    Miriam D.

    we are service, communication and support...

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Dawn, as I responded previously, have you tried going through a temp agency? How about finding a good recruiter? You can sit down with them and discuss your resume and your qualifications and get some feedback from them. It's not always all about education. And, I know you probably don't want to hear this, but your age is going to be a factor. It's great that you are volunteering at your local library. Make sure to include that on your resume. Make sure, also, that you keep up your skills level in the software that you used. If you were using obsolete software such as Microsoft Office 2003, it would be worth it to find someone who has an updated program and make sure that you know all of the changes. If you go through a temp agency, they will more than likely test you on your skills and knowledge so you need to be prepared. And, one more thing, have you considered looking for a certificate program for administrative assistants? This would be much cheaper than considering a college degree and it might be enough to boost your resume into the right hands.

  • Dawn Mock
    Dawn Mock

    Hello Nancy, I am also 44. I was laid off, after 6 years, from my Administrative Assistant II position at the end of October. I have revamped my resume and cover letter numerous times. I have registered with more job positioning sites, my phone is 'blown up' from 0300-Noon. I recently picked a volunteer position at my local library. I have certificates from online courses, to keep up to speed. I have the talent and experience. I think the problem is, I don't have the degree to back what I already know. Now, life has hit me from many directions and I have more to do than I know what to do. I have to get out of here and back to what I fought to keep and now miss very much. I was an at-home-mom for many years; been there did that. I loved being part of the work force. I want back in, without asking, paper or plastic.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Julie since you are a relative newby in the AA world, have you tried to go through a temp agency? That is usually a good way to get your foot in the door and to prove your skills - even though you don't have the experience. Another way, if you can afford to do it, is to try volunteer opportunities where you can start using some of the skills that you learned in school. It's tough to break into a new career - especially when you have to consider age as being a factor along with no experience.

  • Julie Phelps
    Julie Phelps

    The problem I am having with finding an administrative job is that I do not have any experience! I have worked Retail my entire life, and wanted a career change, so I went back to school after being out of high school for 25 years. I received an Associate's Degree in Business Administration Human Resources. I am feeling like that because I do not have any office experience, that I am not getting hired! HELP!!! Any suggestions? What can I do to change this?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    It is truly unfortunate that our society is the way it is and that they think that we are "old" when we turn 40 or 45 let alone when we reach 60. @Marlene in your volunteer settings, have you asked if there are any positions open? Maybe a part-time admin position at your church or the school? What about a place like Goodwill? They always seem to be hiring and they truly do not seem to discriminate based upon age. @Carolyn there really is no standard advice for your situation. Try to make yourself as young as possible on your application for the position. Try to only include the past ten years or so of your work history. Research the company ahead of time if you can. See if you can find out what the demographics are. Sometimes you can find the information on LinkedIn, Indeed, GlassDoor or other like sites. You might even be able to view some photos of current employees and then make your decision if you still want to apply. If I don't see a mixture of age groups, then it might not be for me. Sorry that I don't have a pat answer for your question. All you can do is keep on sending out those applications. Your time will come.

  • Marlene B.
    Marlene B.

    I feel the same way"aged-out." I am a very young 59 year old with ample work experience but feel no one wants to hire me because I will be 60 years old this year and also I have been a stay-at-home mother raising my boys. I have always worked as a volunteer in my church, local schools, and food bank. I need help getting back to work.

  • Carolyn H.
    Carolyn H.

    When seeking an AA position what can be done to avoid being considered aged out? Please address how one may land a job or at least an interview when the workforce views age as a negative?

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Gloria please let me know what you want to learn so that I can try to assist you. Thanks.

  • Gloria H.
    Gloria H.

    where would I go to learn further

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