Clerical Skills Required in the 21st-Century Workplace

The job of clerical staff is to ensure that offices run efficiently and smoothly. Clerical staff have to carry out day-to-day administrative duties: they answer calls, send faxes, and file documents, amongst other tasks.

Although strong administrative and clerical skills are required of clerical staff, almost everyone who works in an office does some administrative tasks. Thus, administrative and clerical skills are required from all kinds of employees.

Categories of Clerical Jobs

The major categories of clerical jobs can be described as administrative assistants, secretaries, and office clerks. Administrative assistants are more advanced clerical staff as they perform duties such as managing projects, and the role requires a college degree. On the other hand, office secretaries and clerks carry out basic clerical tasks and are not involved in managerial duties.

Important Clerical Skills

Candidates seeking clerical and administrative roles should possess core administrative skills. The core and supplementary skills are highlighted below.

Computer skills: Computer skills are critical to the role of administrative and clerical staff in all kinds of workplaces. Typing and data entry skills are always required of clerical staff. Clerical staff should also be very familiar with Microsoft Office.

Attention to detail: Clerical and administrative staff should be “behind the scenes” of office operations and be able to track all necessary details. It is important that administrative and clerical staff stay on top of the situation at all times and prevent lapses. Components of this essential clerical and administrative skill include active listening, planning, diligence, and problem-solving.

Communication skills: Good clerical staff can be differentiated from their counterparts based on their oral and written communication skills. This is because clerical staff are required to communicate effectively with colleagues, subordinates, superiors, clients, and customers. Components of communication skills include proofreading, email, customer service, and faxing.

Numeracy: Administrative and clerical staff should know numbers and have at least basic mathematical skills. In some organizations, the roles of clerical and administrative staff include bookkeeping and accounting. Mathematical skills will be particularly handy for performing such roles.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills are essential administrative and clerical skills because clerical and administrative staff are routinely required to solve issues ranging from customer service issues to technical issues. They should be able to offer solutions to different issues they encountered, even when under pressure.

Organization skills: Strong organizational skills are required of clerical staff because they are critical to their roles. Clerical and administrative staff are in charge of ensuring that offices run smoothly, make strong organization skills essential. Components of organization skills required of clerical and administrative staff are delegation, assessment, filling, and planning.

Resourcefulness: Because they are the go-to person at offices, it is important that clerical and administrative staff are resourceful. They should be goal-oriented and capable of critical thinking and multitasking.

Essential soft skills for administrative and clerical staff: Essential soft skills for clerical and administrative staff include teamwork, creativity, flexibility, and adaptability.


We have highlighted essential skills for clerical and administrative staff. Persons looking to occupy such roles should acquire and improve the highlighted skills and adapt their resumes accordingly. Once a resume is updated and ready feel free to look through job openings at:


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