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Five must-have skills when applying for secretarial roles

When looking for a new secretarial job, it can be tempting to put skills on your resume that you don’t have. Although this may secure you an interview, it will soon become apparent that you don’t have the required skills if you have misrepresented your qualifications and experience. Avoid embarrassment and increase your chances of securing that role by knowing what skills you must have in a general secretarial role.

Adaptable organisational skills

Your role as a secretary is vital to keeping things running smoothly for your boss, or for several members of staff. Being organised is vital for knowing how to prioritise tasks and being able to switch things around should circumstances change.

Diary management

Not only will you be capable of entering events and appointments into several different diaries, you will be expected to remember regular events, or at the very least be able to access them quickly. You will need to be extremely accurate as any wrong entries or mistakes about who meetings are with, or when they are taking place can be very damaging to a business.

Excellent PC skills

Computer skills, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, are invaluable in a secretarial role. It is important to take specific courses in PC skills so that you are able to deal with all eventualities This could be something as random as knowing How To Find Duplicate Records In Excel 2003, or as regular as sending out merging mail.

Typing skills

Accurate and speedy typing is essential as a secretary, and you will probably need to be adept at audio typing, in addition to copy typing. It is much easier to dictate a letter and have your secretary type it up, than write it in longhand, or dictate notes. As an audio-typist you will need to be adept at deciphering accents and colloquialisms, to ensure you know precisely what is being said.


Although digital dictation is preferred in contemporary workplaces, you may still need to know shorthand to take accurate notes during meetings.

Relevant experience

Don’t be tempted to exaggerate your experience. If you hope to be a successful secretary you will need plenty of experience, which you can gain by beginning at a lower level and asking to shadow other secretaries. When applying for a job you believe you would be able to do with a little more training, don’t give up. On application, express how training, coupled with your current qualifications and experience will make you the ideal candidate for the job.

Know the business

Although many aspects of secretarial work remain the same no matter what industry you work with, there can be huge differences in some areas. You should always be aware of the nuances of a business and how certain tasks are carried out. Not only does this mean you can continue with systems smoothly,  but it also gives you the opportunity to pick up on any methods that are outdated and could be improved.

Roger Walker

Roger is a writer, online marketer and part-time graphics designer with a background in Finance. His real passion, however, lies in helping his clients.

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