Secretarial and business support candidates are finding that building on existing skills can give them a distinct edge during their job search.
There's no question that secretarial and business support staff are expected to be multi-skilled workers who can think on their feet and adapt to any job put before them.
Secretaries, PAs and business support staff are increasingly becoming all things to all departments, assuming responsibility for more tasks and adopting new skills along the way.
While recruitment in the sector remains strong during 2011, competition is high and candidates need to demonstrate a combination of skills – from sector specific to technical and organisational – in order to clinch their preferred job.
Adapting to a changing environment
Candidates who develop their IT and communications skills are also in demand for audio and visual presentation duties, typing, writing, problem solving and public relations roles.
Particular IT skills that appeal include proficiency with the traditional Microsoft Office programs, as well the ability to add value with more creative expertise. A proven track record of output with packages like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator can help you stand out from the crowd.
Shorthand is always a sought-after skill in the secretarial and business support market, but if you haven’t developed this it’s key to master speedwriting for effective minute taking.
The ability to communicate in more than one language is particularly useful as employers value employees who are able to demonstrate language skills.
Here are some key tips on how to broaden your skill set and keep your existing expertise fresh and relevant:
- Explore and learn new IT skills – competence in the Microsoft Office suite (Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook etc) is always an advantage. Investigate training options to familiarise yourself with some of the more creative packages.
- Anticipate what skills your employer will need in the months ahead – where is their business going ? What do you need to get up to speed with?
- Build on existing qualifications with part-time courses to increase your value to your current or potential employer – languages, creative, written work.
- Study job advertisements and research the market to find out what potential employers are currently looking for.
- Teach yourself new skills online and demonstrate your knowledge and increased value to your company or potential employer.
- If your language skills are a little rusty, make a point to brush up on them to ensure fluency. Perhaps even investigate mastering a new language as a challenge?
For more advice on increasing your secretarial or business support skill set, please get in touch with your local Page Personnel Secretarial and Business Support team.