Clerical Skills: Examples and How to List Them on Resume
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 18 December 2022
Published 9 August 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Clerical skills are important for employees and help them to execute administrative tasks in the workplace. Irrespective of your job description, you're likely to perform clerical duties and use administrative skills to execute tasks. That makes it important for you to develop your clerical abilities to attract interest from employers. In this article, we explain what clerical skills are, give examples of these skills and provide tips for highlighting them on a resume.
What are clerical skills?
Clerical skills are skill sets that improve an individual's ability to run an office efficiently. Examples of clerical abilities include answering calls, sorting documents and scheduling appointments.
Clerical abilities are critical to promoting effective administration. Both managers and regular employees can use these skills, as they're likely to encounter administrative tasks during their day-to-day operations. For this reason, many hiring managers look out for mentions of clerk skills on resumes before selecting candidates.
What are examples of clerical skills?
Here are common clerical abilities that hiring managers want to see on resumes:
Every hiring manager understands the importance of basic computer skills, especially knowledge of Microsoft Suite programs. There are Microsoft programs for creating documents (Word), spreadsheets (Excel) and presentations (PowerPoint). Knowing how to use these programs may make your job easier and increase your productivity at work.
Typing is another useful clerical skill potential employees can develop. If you work in an administrative role, it may require creating various documents, including reports and memos. Good typing skills are necessary to succeed in such roles, so you can develop them before applying for those positions.
Other examples of related computer skills include:
Use of email and calendars
Knowledge of database management
Experience with scheduling software
Social media management
Organisation refers to the group of abilities that help individuals create structure and order in the office. Organisation is a highly sought-after skill in companies, as it promotes higher efficiency and reduces downtime.
Well-organised employees can prioritise tasks, manage long-term projects, adhere to schedules and complete tasks ahead of deadlines. Here are some key organisational skills to develop:
Critical thinking is the ability to evaluate issues at the workplace and provide effective solutions to manage the situation. Managers want new hires to have well-honed critical thinking skills because it increases their ability to deal with unplanned circumstances. Examples of critical thinking abilities include:
Ability to identify problems
Ability to observe and draw insights from observations
Ability to create detailed strategies to manage problems
Ability to analyse situations and highlight the most appropriate course of action
Communication is one of the most important clerical abilities considered by hiring managers. Communication skills are necessary for sharing information with colleagues, managers and clients.
You can be knowledgeable in the art of communicating via verbal and nonverbal methods. Verbal communication may include talking with prospective and current clients over the phone or taking part in videoconferences. Nonverbal communication may involve writing memos, employee newsletters and other informational documents.
Related: 4 Types of Communication
Like every other employee, you have only eight hours in a day to work. As administrative positions have even more responsibilities than regular positions, knowing how to manage your time effectively is important.
Proper time management involves delineating tasks into smaller subtasks to reduce the time and effort required to complete them. You may also know how to prioritise tasks, delegate responsibilities and manage distractions at work. With good time management skills, you'd be able to get more done within the same timeframe. It also means that you can deliver high-quality work while sticking to deadlines and maintaining high productivity levels.
Flexibility is an important skill that all employees ideally have. However, flexibility is more important for administrative positions that often present new challenges daily. To perform in such capacities, you are flexible enough to adapt to new situations and handle unplanned changes calmly.
Key indicators of flexibility include managing stress in challenging situations, openness to learning new concepts and the ability to analyse situations rationally. Employees with these abilities can approach challenging situations with a positive mindset, making them valuable assets to organisations.
Most clerical or administrative positions require employees to have basic mathematical skills. That is important since companies may crunch a lot of numbers and track several data points.
You can perform basic mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, percentages, conversions of fractions and decimals and calculation of percentages. It's also advisable to get familiar with the software used to organise numerical information, such as expenses and production figures.
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is the ability to focus on the specifics and avoid errors. Administrative roles require attention to detail because of the sensitive nature of the tasks. Mistakes could cost the company a lot, so administrative personnel focus on evaluating details and eliminating errors.
Highlighting your attention to detail skills on a resume can increase interest in your application. That is because it suggests that managers can trust you to deliver top-quality work free from errors.
Filing is an inescapable part of many clerical jobs, so learn how to do it before applying to open positions. Even if you're applying for non-clerical roles, employers still expect you to file and organise documents.
Proper filing helps keep workplaces organised and makes it easier for employees to access information. And since most clerical roles are dedicated to keeping offices organised, learning this skill is necessary.
Clerical positions require the ability to approach problematic situations with calmness and develop solutions. In your day-to-day experience as a clerk or administrative personnel, you may likely handle challenging situations. Good problem-solving skills are crucial for managing these situations effectively and preventing them from worsening.
Key indicators of problem-solving ability include:
Ability to remain calm under pressure
Ability to evaluate customer complaints and provide support
Working in a clerical position requires being resourceful and being able to handle different tasks. Your colleagues or superiors can rely on you to provide help when they need it. That means you learn how to perform different tasks at work and hone your ability to manage several tasks simultaneously.
A good indicator of resourcefulness is the ability to research and find information. Managers may need someone to find a piece of data or information either online or offline. Good research skills increase the likelihood that you may deliver and provide effective help in that scenario.
Bookkeeping and accounting
Not every clerical position demands bookkeeping and accounting skills. However, you can still develop those abilities. Knowing how to handle financial spreadsheets increases your stock and gives you an edge over other candidates.
Data entry is a very important skill for clerical and administrative positions. For example, you may input large data into computers, especially when recording customer data or transferring data to databases. These call for a knowledge of data entry and familiarity with common data entry tools.
How do you list clerical abilities on a resume?
If you want to highlight clerical abilities on your resume, list specific skills and provide evidence to back them up. The following are two common ways to list administrative skills on your resume:
List clerical abilities in the resume skills section
The skills section details your strengths and abilities that make you suitable for a specific position. Highlighting your clerical abilities in this category is a good way to attract attention to them during the hiring process.
A good tip for listing administrative skills in the skills section is to include skills relevant to the position. An executive assistant position would likely require the ability to use scheduling software, so including “familiarity with scheduling software” on your resume is advisable.
Example of clerical abilities in the resume skills section:
Attention to detail
Basic bookkeeping and accounting
Familiarity with scheduling software
Ability to use database management software
Include clerical abilities in the employment history section
The employment history section is where you list your past jobs and what you achieved there. In this section, you can discuss the projects you executed using the clerical abilities listed in your resume skills section.
Highlighting your administrative skills on the resume employment history section is important because it proves your ability to hiring managers. It may also give you a competitive edge in the hiring process.
Example of clerical abilities on resume employment history section:
Blue Ocean Bank
May 2019–December 2020
Scheduled appointments and arranged meetings with clients and suppliers
Filed documents and transferred old files to digital formats
Recorded financial transactions and entered data into online databases as instructed
Created spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel based on information provided by the manager
Researched and sourced data for presentations using internal and external sources
Organised office workspaces and kept the work area neat
The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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