Essential Software Skills for Administrative Assistants

Do you think a career as an administrative assistant is right for you? Do you know your proficiency level in the most common computer programs like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint? Knowing your skill levels will help you sell yourself in your next interview. Here are some things you should know about basic, intermediate, and advanced skill levels.

Outlook and Email

Most companies, though not all, use a form of Microsoft Outlook for email. For basic positions, you’ll need to know how to send and reply to emails and how to sort information into folders and find information using the search function. Learning how to use the calendar feature will also be necessary for more advanced roles.


Basic Word skills will be enough to get you started for entry-level office positions. Creating files, basic formatting, typing, and saving will be sufficient. As you advance in your skills, you’ll learn things like tables, merge functions, templates, and more. When you reach higher levels of the position, you may need to format large documents, use footnotes and endnotes, and create indexes.


While excel is most often associated with accounting, it’s undoubtedly a skill any office employee should have. Basic Excel is mostly data entry. You will likely be working with premade spreadsheets. Once you learn more, you will be responsible for setting up the spreadsheets, organizing them, and using formulas.


PowerPoint is a fun tool used for presentations within an office setting. Learning the program can be an exciting part of your administrative job. Basic PowerPoint means you can create slides, present, and print them. Sound and animation can take your skills to the next level. Advanced skills involve using web links, presenting online, and maybe some small-scale video production.

Soft Skills

Don’t forget that your competency in these hard skills isn’t the only important factor in landing your next job. You also want to demonstrate soft skills like communication and organization. If you’re from another industry, figure out your transferable skills, such as customer service, and specifically talk about your previous accomplishments.

Are you ready to find a great administrative assistant position? Contact NRI Staffing to learn more today.


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