How To Succeed and Advance in the Administrative Field

Important Do's and Dont's

Maybe you are a newly hired, amateur administrative assistant or office clerk in a new career field or maybe you just need a refresher in how to succeed in your dull office atmosphere. Maybe promotions or reviews are coming up and you need some easy and guaranteed tools on how to prove yourself to your boss. Here are some great social and work skills that will get you recognized:

  1. Dress professionally: Truth of the matter is that people do judge others by the way they look. When you are working in an administrative environment, you are expected to dress the part. You will meet a lot of clients and/or vendors, and looking professional, well put-together, sophisticated and sharp will send the message you take pride in representing the company. If you look like you put time and attention into the way you dress, you will attract a lot more attention than the shabby employee who insists on wearing dull and creased clothing. Now, you don't have to waste a bunch of money in work clothing. You just need to spice up your wardrobe a little bit so as not to appear boring. Draw attention the right way by looking professional and not outrageous. You want to look well-prepared for your imminent promotion!
  2. Separate work from personal life: The number one issue directors and managers hate and will complain about is the childish rumors and intermingling of their employees. There is nothing wrong with going out for drinks after work with a couple of friends from work. But remember, if you are willing to involve work folks in your personal life, leave them out of your working day. There is nothing more uncomfortable and unprofessional than bringing a personal fight with a co-worker, or a recent break-up with a colleague you dated into the work field. Your boss will look down on this behavior as it signifies less focus on your work, and he will also judge you as not being professional enough to separate work from your personal life.

    Be aware, however, that this does not mean being standoffish or unfriendly to your co-workers; you should be able to socialize in a manner that allows you to cultivate a professional, yet easygoing and friendly work environment. There is nothing wrong with sharing pictures of your child's birthday party, talking about your recent vacation, or just simply talking about everyday activities. Just cut out the rumors of the colleague that is sleeping with your next door neighbor, or how wasted Joe Doe got last night and that's why he called in sick. Remaining distant from immature intermingling will gain the respect of your higher-ups and will make you stand out.

  3. Go beyond your work description: You definitely don't want to be stepped all over, or be taken advantage of; however, if you want to impress your boss, throw yourself into projects that allow you to be an extra help. Most people in the work field perform to satisfy their job expectations but will not go any further than that. Come up with ideas on how to make your work environment more efficient, help a colleague with a project if you have extra time, do research on an important topic that could help your company, take the initiative to start a project on your own, clean up or label items in the copy room efficiently so that everyone can easily locate office materials, set up a new filing system or ask your boss if he/she needs help or support on a specific assignment. If it is something that may get you in trouble, ask first. The initiative alone will impress your boss as someone who takes the lead and steps outside her boundaries. Care and dedication to your job is one of the most important skills you can possess.
  4. Own up to your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes; it's inevitable. It will show you as someone with ethical skills and good morals if you own up to your goof-ups. Don't cover things up by blaming others or shifting attention to something else. Apologize if needed, and work on fixing your mess.
  5. Keep your cool. If you work in a fast-paced office, you are most likely prone to interacting with hostile clients, unruly customers, or difficult colleagues. Your boss will be impressed by your ability to stay calm and focused in any difficult situation. Good social and communication skills are always a plus for any company you work for. Being cool and collected--even with those pesky customers who refuse to use common sense--will gain admiration from higher-ups as they will trust you to be focused and serene in any situation. Staying calm and keeping positive during stressful situations not only will allow you to navigate through them easily, but will allow you to keep having a good day. Sometimes it takes one bad morning, which might have been resolved well, to drag on to the afternoon, bringing a dark cloud over your head. Do not let things get to you.

With these skills, you are destined to stand out and progress to your desired position.


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