When you’re looking for a job, you may come across available positions that require certain basic office skills from aspiring candidates. These skills are what many hiring managers look for from job seekers.
These are clerical skills. They’re needed for many roles in almost every industry. Whether you’re planning to become an executive assistant or a certified public accountant, you’ll need these skills if you want to succeed in the corporate world.
What are Clerical Skills?
Clerical skills are abilities that enable you to perform office-related duties. Nearly every office employee uses these skills every day regardless of their job title in the organization. Some positions, however, demand more clerical work than others. Employees, such as administrative assistants and bank clerks, will use their clerical skills more often to complete their work properly.
Even if you’re not targeting the position of a clerk or administrative employee, you should still pick up a few clerical skills along the way. Hiring managers want to bring on board candidates that have the basic skills necessary to keep the office productive.
What are Examples of Clerical Skills?
Clerical skills come in two forms: soft and hard skills.
Soft skills are qualities categorized as a habit or personality trait. On the other hand, hard skills are technical knowledge that employees learn, develop and hone through hands-on experience and training.
Here are examples of clerical skills that will help you become more effective on the job, make your resume look good and boost your employability:
When you’re working in the office, you’ll likely meet and talk to other people within and outside your department regularly. Verbal communication skills allow you to carry on conversations with people and help you foster stronger relationships with others.
Communication skills also involve writing emails to employees, clients and vendors. What you’re writing should be easy to understand, contain minimal to zero grammatical and spelling mistakes and have a professional tone. Written communication also entails the use of word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, to complete office-related documents like presentations, corporate memos, organizational charts and other informative company material.
Public Interaction Skills
This is required for positions that require regular face-to-face conversations with customers. A few clerical jobs that require this skill include bank tellers, receptionists and messengers.
Public interaction also refers to interacting with customers over the phone. Call center agents, for instance, need this skill to effectively respond to the concerns of customers and solve their problems.
Attention to Detail (Detail-Oriented Skills)
This clerical skill gives you the ability to identify errors in your work before submitting it. Bosses value an individual’s incredible attention to detail and may look for this skill on a resume. By staying detail-oriented, you make sure that the tasks you submit are high quality and consistent.
Attention to detail is crucial in many jobs. Take office accountants as an example. Their job is to prepare financial statements and present the data to their bosses or clients. Having detail-oriented skills is critical in this role, as one wrong or inaccurate detail could cause major financial headaches.
This goes beyond using the power button on a PC and knowing what commands to input using the keyboard. Computer skills enable you to work on and complete a wide range of tasks, such as entering data on a spreadsheet and creating slides for an upcoming client presentation. Basic knowledge of other computer software, such as corporate messaging platforms and task management systems, also helps you to stay productive and collaborate with your colleagues in the office.
Besides knowing how to use computer programs, clerical employees should have good typing skills using the keyboard. A fast typing skill allows you to encode information more quickly and process paperwork faster.
Hiring managers don’t have a hard and fast rule on the ideal typing speed and accuracy, but you should try to hit about 60 words per minute (wpm) with a near-perfect accuracy rating. A few job titles that require excellent typing skills include data encoders, medical transcriptionists and chat support representatives.
Clerical employees sometimes face challenges that require them to use their problem solving skills. Effective problem solving develops your resiliency. Using this skill regularly will help you better cope and adapt when a major and unexpected challenge emerges.
This skill is highly valued in companies because it helps you stay productive and efficient. When you’re organized, you can successfully schedule your work day, easily reach out to the appropriate personnel for information and coordinate the flow of documents and other paperwork around the office.
Organizational skills are also vital when storing documents for archiving and safekeeping. Keeping both printed and digital documents filed and stored properly will help you find and retrieve these documents more quickly. It also reduces the likelihood of information from becoming lost or stolen, as you’re taking steps to keep them in a safe location.
This ability lets you juggle several tasks, such as working on deadlines and managing relationships with clients, without any major problem. Multi-tasking will help you take care of and complete assignments more efficiently.
Time Management Skills
The ability to prioritize your tasks is a skill that many hiring managers want in a job seeker. By knowing how to manage your time wisely at work, you can meet deadlines and deliver quality work at the same time.
How to List Clerical Skills on Your Resume
When you effectively enumerate your clerical skills, you can stand out from a sea of candidates who are applying for the same open position.
These skills are also baseline requirements for some job roles, such as receptionists and data encoders. Although you could pick up clerical skills by learning them on the job, some companies prefer to hire someone who already carries the relevant skills. This way, businesses won’t have to invest time and money training new hires for these skills.
Here are a few tips you could follow when you’re working on your clerical skills on your resume:
- Move the most relevant skills up your list and put the least relevant ones toward the end. If you’re applying for the medical transcriptionist position, you’ll want to highlight your data entry, typing and computer skills on the first page of your resume.
- List all your relevant hard skills. If you’re after a job title in the banking industry, for instance, add the specific finance software you use to get tasks done.
- Enumerate your computer skills in detail. Simply stating “proficient in Microsoft Office” isn’t enough. You need to list down the specific programs you’re using, such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Then, describe how these programs help you complete a deliverable.
- Describe your soft or transferable skills. Show how your time management and organizational skills have helped you finish a particular clerical task.
How to Improve Your Clerical Skills
Simply listing the skills isn’t enough. You have to constantly improve and update them to stay on top of your game. Even if you are the most seasoned clerical worker out there, you need to remember that there’s always room for improvement.
Here are ways to sharpen your current clerical skills:
Find a Mentor
Although many believe that mentors are important, only 37 percent of Americans have one, according to a survey published in HR Dive. If you want to improve your clerical skills, you’ll need a mentor to help you on your journey. This individual can help you expand your skills and serve as your role model in achieving your career goals.
Get a mentor who will push you to hone your skills and help develop your career. If you want to become successful in e-mail writing, for instance, you need a mentor who does more than just proofread your work. This person has to point out the common grammatical or spelling mistakes you’re making along with areas for improvement.
Practice Every Day
Practice, as they say, makes perfect. You have to allocate time for practice if you want to be better at a particular skill. If you want to become a better virtual assistant, for instance, you need to hone your communication, data entry, typing and organizational skills. When you’re looking for the right hobby, consider developing your skills.
Enroll in Short Courses
Use your free time to look for short courses that will help you level up your skills. The internet has tons of free courses to grow whatever skill you choose.
Ask People to Objectively Assess Your Skills
If you’re not sure how well you’re progressing at a particular clerical skill, don’t hesitate to turn to trusted colleagues for assessment. Look for someone who can provide an unbiased evaluation of your skills and suggest ways to improve your work.
Learning and improving clerical skills will help you succeed in your career. By having and developing the right skills, you can easily ace the job tests required for the position and impress your future employers.