HARD VS SOFT SKILLS


This blog will help you determine if you have what it takes to succeed as an admin professional, and also helps to plan on what to highlight in a potential job interview. The list is not exhaustive but covers the common expected soft and hard skills.

Soft Skills – they are aspects of yourself that are not formally learned but you develop overtime as a result of your previous or current work experience, or experience in school. There are techniques associated with “learning” these skills, but you do not gain a formal qualification to earn these skills.

Below are soft skills commonly expected of a PA:

  • Flexibility – you can juggle a wide variety of tasks, you can adjust easily to different types of situations

  • Pro-activity – being one-step ahead of the game, this helps you control feelings of overwhelm, if you can do things in advance of the expected deadlines then it will leave you with more room to attend to other activities

  • Being a good listener – the ability to actually “get it” when people tell you things, even if it means you have to take more effort in understanding what they are telling you

  • Being a good team player – you are able to get along with your workmates and work well in small or big team environments

  • Organised – being able to put things in order, and do things in a logical and organised way

  • Time Management – being able to prioritise tasks and activities in keeping with deadline

  • Communication – being able to communicate well in verbal and written modes, being clear with your statements and being clear when giving and receiving instructions

  • Interpersonal skills – your ability to get along with your co-workers and your customers, most importantly with the boss or person you are supporting

Hard skills – are skills that are more formally taught in a formal learning environment such as a school or training facility, and you are often formally assessed for the attainment of those skills. Some level of light or informal training will also help you in attaining these skills.

Below are Hard Skills commonly expected of a PA:

  • Operate office equipment/technology - this includes a photocopying machine, laminating machine, shredder, video conferencing machine or virtual conferencing, computer, answering machine, transcription/voice recording machine, etc.

  • Use of Relevant Computing Software – MS Office Suite of programs that include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Outlook and on occasion QuickBooks, Xero, Photoshop, or a video editing software, including transcription software.

  • Internet Savvy – you may be required to research on the internet, or do online transactions, so being familiar with what are currently used in your industry or sector is also key

  • Minute –taking skills – some businesses invest in getting PAs in a minute-taking course to ensure they accurately capture business proceedings and can also generate good documentation from these business meetings

  • Project Management – on occasion, PAs are assigned to coordinate or manage projects and a course on project management is useful in situations like this