Tips on Staying Ahead in a Changing Workplace

The office workplace is changing rapidly. Administrative professionals are being given greater responsibilities. What can professionals do to adapt to these changes and maximize their value to their employers? International Association of Administrative Professionals® (IAAP®) offers seven tips:

  • Become a computer software expert. Demonstrate your mastery of "office suite" software packages which typically include word processing, spreadsheet, database, presentations, and scheduling software. Learn to navigate the Internet, and gather information via the World Wide Web to further your organization's goals and to serve customers' needs. Become a "Web Master" or a Web content provider for your employer.
  • Actively pursue continuing education. Attend business-related workshops and seminars or pursue a college degree program. Polish your written and verbal communications skills.
  • Learn how to plan conferences and meetings. Make the meetings well organized and user friendly through good room and site selection, meeting arrangements, and audio-visuals. Understand audio- and video-conferencing. Become adept at presentation software such as Microsoft's PowerPoint.
  • Be a good teacher and leader. Many administrative professionals are training and supervising other staff. IAAP offers many opportunities to practice organizational leadership roles.
  • Become a communications hub for your workplace. Clients and vendors often judge the character of a business by the quality and efficiency of its administrative support staff. Customer service skills are critically important. Interpersonal skills (tact, diplomacy, negotiation) are also essential.
  • Be an adept organizer and "Information Manager." Utilize computerized data as well as paper office records to provide information needed by managers. Today's administrative staff increasingly conduct research and help manage projects from conception to completion.
  • Get involved in selecting and maintaining office equipment. Stay abreast of the types of available office equipment and what is most suited to your organization. Seek out appropriate vendors. Learn to oversee equipment purchases, evaluate office supply needs, and schedule maintenance.