The Top 3 Skills That Make Administrative Assistants Stand Out

Administrative professionals are always asking us what it takes to really stand out in the workplace. After all, it’s a competitive market out there! If you really want to make a name for yourself and get ahead, it takes more than just skimming the surface. You have to dive deep within yourself to develop that “World Class” status that executives are looking for in their assistants.

For those who want to shine brighter and get recognized (and rewarded) for your contributions, consider these key strategies.

Shift Your Paradigm
First, you have to change how you see yourself in your role. A “paradigm” is simply a mindset, but it plays an important role in how you show up in the workplace.

If you think of yourself as an assistant, that’s perfectly fine. But in order to really stand out, you need to upgrade your mental image of who you are and what you do. You must begin seeing yourself as a strategic partner—a business ally for the executive(s) you support.

This subtle shift in thinking will filter through your actions and behaviors. It will boost your confidence and your professional presence. It will positively change the relationship you have with your leaders, and ultimately, it will help you establish a powerful new position in the executive “inner circle.”

Refine Your Communication
A savvy communicator knows how to get noticed and get their point across. This is one area where everyone always has more room to improve.

In order to really stand out, you must continuously hone your ability to communicate your point of view tactfully. You need to practice delivering tough messages in a way that other people can actually hear them. And you need to adapt your natural communication style to meet others where they are.

Learning to communicate at the executive level is absolutely essential for success and it’s extremely rare. When you have this kind of mastery, you gain a deeper level of respect.

Hone Your Professional Trademark
When Joan presents training, she always receives similar feedback: People think she is “poised, polished and professional.”

These three words are what people think when they hear Joan’s name—it’s her professional trademark, you might say. Do you know why? Because that’s who she is, and she has consciously chosen this as her personal brand.

Do you have a something you are known for? Have you made the conscious choice to embody specific characteristics and traits as your brand? Or are you letting your professional reputation be shaped unintentionally?

How others perceive you is such an important and underutilized tool for administrative professionals. Defining your distinct professional trademark—and learning how to leverage that in the workplace—will help you shape how others see you.

As you can see, these skills go beyond the basics. They are strategies that only a few employ, and those who do reap the rewards. There is much to learn regarding advanced skills for assistants. To truly stand out requires a sincere dedication to your career path and an investment in your personal growth.

These are just a few of the topics we cover in the World Class Assistant™ Certification and Professional Designation program. This “high-end boot camp” is the only curriculum-based designation specifically for administrative professionals on the market. It’s designed to help you stand out and develop the master-level skills you need to become World Class.



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9 thoughts on “The Top 3 Skills That Make Administrative Assistants Stand Out”

  1. I too love all the information but I am not really sure how to go about making the changes. Some ideas I get but others I just don’t see the path very well. My communication skills are sometimes horrible. I stumble trying to find the right words to say or even remembering what I need to convey at all can be a challenge.

  2. One of the trickiest issues in the office today is the definition of Business Professional attire. I believe the outer presentation of yourself is key in any position.

  3. Hone your trademark is really important. Every great company has a trademark, so why not you. For example, Levi Strauss has the little red tag on the pocket of their jeans. It is very hidden; however, that small mark makes them stand out over all brands. Much like our brand, we mark who we are. I once had my speech professor call me “Professional Brenda.” I questioned why he called me that and he remarked that I always wear a suit to class. Because of the way I dressed, I was always poised, polished and ready to give a speech. Plus, the class took me more seriously.

    I say own your brand and be ready for that elevator speech.

    Brenda Mason

  4. I find it difficult to communicate effectively when needed; I tend to mumble because I don’t feel that I will be taken seriously or that what I have to say is considered important – frustrated when I try to speak and see management just focusing on their tablets and/or smart phones while they are “listening” to you; I get the feeling that they think what I’m saying is not important

  5. These articles are so useful! I would need help recognizing my own errors. I am very good at proofreading work from others, but no matter how many times I review sometimes I just can’t pick them all out and it’s usually the errors that everyone remembers that I seem to pass by.

    1. Monique, maybe you can pretend your work is someone else’s work? Of course, spell check and watch your punctuation. If you have a pal at work, ask them to look your document over.

  6. Thank you for this article. I continuously work on my communication skills but find it at times difficult. English is my second language and with no university education I feel I am lacking in some aspects. What would you recommend I do to hone my skills further? I also work for an executive who has superior communication skills and I really admire how he has mastered it. Thank you

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