SKILLS: THE MOST-WANTED LIST

Survey Shows Executives Seek Project Management, Technical Expertise in Support Staff

MENLO PARK, CA -- Tomorrow's administrative professional will need to juggle multiple projects and master new technologies, suggests a new survey of executives. When asked in which areas their assistants could most use skills enhancement, 28 percent of respondents said project management while 27 percent cited technology skills as the first priority.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies. OfficeTeam developed the poll for "Jumpstart Your Career," a monthlong webcast/chat series providing professional development tips in recognition of Administrative Professionals Week, April 22-28. The second part of the series, "Skills: The Most-Wanted List," will air April 11 at 7 p.m. EDT at www.officeteamcareerclub.com.

Executives were asked, "In which of the following areas do you think your assistant's skills could most use enhancement?" Their responses:

Project management 28%
Software/technology skills 27%
Organizational skills 12%
Business writing 11%
Internet research skills 10%
Communication skills 8%
Don't know/no answer 4%
100%

 

"As executives spend more time working away from the office, they depend on their assistants to take the lead on projects ranging from organizing staff orientations to tracking department budgets," said Liz Hubler, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Today's employers also strongly value tech-savvy administrative professionals who can troubleshoot minor technical problems and help train others."

Hubler points out that professional development should be a top priority for support staff. "In today's business environment, acquiring new skills isn't an option - it's mandatory for those who want to advance their careers," she said. "Rather than depending on their employers to provide training, administrative workers should actively build their own expertise. Fortunately, there are numerous options available to help people enhance their talent and marketability."

Hubler offered the following skills enhancement tips:

  • Learn online. A comprehensive range of courses is available via the Internet, enabling you to develop a new skill at your convenience and in the comfort of your own home.
     
  • Be a teacher. By instructing others on the skills you've learned, you'll reinforce your knowledge and strengthen your leadership abilities.
     
  • Find a mentor. Seek out someone you admire to serve as a role model. A mentor can be particularly helpful when it comes to improving your "soft skills," such as diplomacy, persuasiveness and problem solving.
     
  • Participate in company programs. Many firms provide skills-enhancement programs or subsidize outside training. Take full advantage of these offerings, and let your employer know - and see - the positive effect they have on your job performance.
     
  • Volunteer. Offer your assistance on new projects, both at work and within your professional or social organizations. Planning a fundraiser or organizing a company outing can help you improve your skills while increasing your visibility. 

OfficeTeam has over 285 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.


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