The Most Important Clerical Skills (With Examples)

By Sky Ariella - May. 13, 2021
Skills Based Articles

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When searching for office jobs, you’ll eventually cross paths with clerical skill requirements. These are qualities that aid productivity, collaboration, and work quality in an administrative setting. Clerical abilities are helpful whether you’re applying for an entry-level assistant position or a management role.

Possessing clerical skills and highlighting them on your resume and cover letter can help land you your next office job.

What Are Clerical Skills?

Clerical skills involve proficiency in daily tasks and they promote administrative efficiency. They’re usually basic administrative knowledge and straightforward to learn, however, having clerical skills is crucial to an office running smoothly.

These abilities are highly sought-after by hiring managers, and may even be required for certain positions. Employers want to know you have a baseline understanding of administrative work, and demonstrating these skills on your resume will definitely get you noticed.

Types of Clerical Skills

Clerical skills are a headline for a series of valuable office skills. Take time to consider which clerical abilities you feel confident in, and include them on your resume.

  1. Verbal and written communication skills. When working on an administrative team, it’s extremely helpful to have verbal and written communication skills. You deal with many people and situations on a daily basis in office jobs. Being able to clearly communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and clients alike is a must.

    Most jobs require at least strong verbal communication. In administrative positions, written communication is equally important. A lot of your interactions will be via a written message. Strengths in clarity and conciseness through written communication can make you a better team member and employee.

    Examples of verbal and written communications include:

    • Confidence

    • Active listening

    • Presentation

    • Proper grammar and spelling

    • Negotiation

    • Sociability

    • Openness for discussion

    • Appropriate formatting for emails

    • Awareness of tone

    • Patience

    • Cooperation

  2. Computer skills. Administrative employers are often interested in hiring candidates with basic computer skills. This can be anything from typing speed to the knowledge of data entry. Don’t let that intimidate you, though.

    In the age of the internet, we all have more computer skills than we realize. If there are computer skills that you don’t feel comfortable with yet, you can always use the internet as a resource for learning more.

    Examples of basic computer skills include:

    • Experience with video-chatting software (Zoom, Skype, Etc.)

    • Social media

    • Excel spreadsheets

    • Knowledge of word processors (Microsoft Office, Google Docs, etc.)

    • Programming languages

    • Database software

    • Email and calendars

  3. Attention to detail. One of the top skills for administrative teams is attention to detail. Being detail-oriented means that you’re focused and execute your responsibilities expertly.

    Employers look for this quality in applicants because it ensures quality work will get done every time. Attention to detail can also be helpful in noticing possible issues before they arise and getting ahead of them.

    Detail-oriented skills snclude:

    • Being clear on expectation

    • Proofreading

    • Asking relevant questions

    • Planning ahead

    • Organization

    • Critical thinking

    • Noticing possible obstacles ahead of time

  4. Organization. Organization is essential in an office position. Having an organized team increases productivity and quality of work. Administrative organization goes beyond keeping your space tidy and calendar up to date.

    In this field, you’ll often be responsible for organizing documents and private client information. Keeping an ordered system of this information is very important for convenience and privacy.

    Organizational skills include:

    • Planning

    • Prioritization

    • Documentation

    • Setting appointments

    • Filing systems

    • Adhering to a schedule

    • Decision-making

    • Attention to detail

    • Keeping records

    • Time-management

  5. Simple mathematical knowledge. While an office job probably isn’t going to require you to do calculus, employers need to know you’re quick on your feet when it comes to basic math.

    A lot of administrative work can involve juggling a lot of numbers. The ability to do simple math can allow you to use spreadsheets more effectively and do daily tasks faster.

    Examples of simple mathematical skills include:

    • Addition

    • Subtraction

    • Division

    • Percentages

    • Converting fractions

    • Decimals

  6. Critical thinking. In an office setting, much like any other job, issues tend to arise. This doesn’t negatively reflect on a team’s work skills. It’s a part of life.

    However, your ability to assess and deal with these issues can greatly improve your work performance. This ability is called critical thinking skills. Recruiters look for applicants with strong critical thinking because they want employees who are prepared to productively deal with unforeseen circumstances.

    Examples of critical thinking skills include:

    • Identifying problems early

    • Analyzing the best course of action

    • Strong communication

    • Creating detailed plans for success

    • Asking relevant questions

    • Recognizing patterns

    • Flexibility

    • Creative-thinking

    • Prediction

  7. Time management. A typical administrative position runs on a 9-5 schedule. What you do with these eight hours daily determines the quality of employee you are.

    In an office job, you’ll often be handling many responsibilities throughout the day. Managing your work time well allows you to break down bigger jobs into more digestible missions. Time management makes it possible to adhere to a busy administrative schedule and turn in your work on time.

    Examples of time management skills include:

    • Setting realistic goals

    • Problem-solving

    • Strategy

    • Multitasking

    • Sticking to a schedule

    • Creating outlines

    • Meeting deadlines

    • Evaluating your performance

  8. Flexibility. Being a flexible employee is helpful in many different industries, but can be especially impactful when applying for administrative jobs. Flexibility refers to your ability to adapt to change or unexpected circumstances with a positive attitude.

    Flexible people are motivated by challenges and open to learning, as opposed to frustrated by them. This is a valuable quality to employers, especially in today’s world.

    Examples of flexibility skills include:

Additional Clerical Skills

Clerical skills refer to a multitude of varying qualifications. Consider the additional clerical skills below to include on your resume.

How to Improve Your Clerical Skills

The great thing about clerical skills is that you’re practicing them each time you step into the office. That being said, there are still ways to up your clerical game more quickly than simply carrying on with your normal workload.

Here are some ways you can improve your clerical skills:

  • Find a mentor. Mentors are great for improving your skills with everyday tasks. When you’re not sure how to go about something, or you feel like there’s a more efficient or effective way to do something, a mentor can provide actionable answers.

  • Observe others. If you see someone performing a clerical task in an interesting way, pay attention to what they’re doing. If you want a full tutorial, ask if they’d be willing to take some time to show you their process.

  • Take classes. Online courses have never been so readily available. There are classes on everything from Excel to Python, so no matter what clerical hard skill you’re trying to master, you can find a course. Paid courses might offer certifications, but even watching a good YouTube channel can be an effective way to up your game.

  • Ask for feedback. Be open to constructive criticism and actively invite it. Ask people where you could improve you email etiquette, your typing accuracy, your memo copy, or whatever you’re looking to improve. Seek out ways to get better at whatever tasks your company really values.

How to Include Clerical Skills on Your Resume

Once you’ve decided on the clerical skills that are most accurate to your work style and performance, it’s time to showcase them properly on your resume.

When applying to an administrative job that requires clerical abilities, you can mention them in your resume’s skills section, as well as peppering them throughout your relevant professional experience section.

Be as specific as possible when addressing your clerical hard and soft skills. If you have experience in a particular word processor, mention it. If you have a certification in an industry-specific course, give the details.

Think about the position you’re applying for and what they’re looking for in an ideal employee. Tailor your applicable skills to meet these expectations.

Resume Examples Highlighting Clerical Skills

Rachel Spears

Organized and flexible administrative assistant with 5+ years of experience. B.A. in Communications from the University of Denver. Skills in bookkeeping, communication, and decision-making. Seeking a position where I can use my previous clerical skills.

SKILLS

  • Microsoft Office Suite

  • Quickbooks

  • Excel Spreadsheets

  • Database Management

  • First Aid amp; CPR

  • Adaptable

  • Dependable

  • Organized

EXPERIENCE

Bailey Dental Offices, Phoenix, AZ
Administrative Assistant – April 2018 – PRESENT

  • Coordinated meetings

  • Managed company emails and phone

  • Trained a new assistant

  • Filing and organizing

  • Bookkeeping

  • Maintained company ethics and supported growth

  • Awarded a raise of $5,000 annually after the first year

Rhinebeck Medical Center, Denver, CO
Medical Assistant – January 2015 – March 2018

  • Communicating with patients

  • Attending and contributing to meetings

  • Upkeeping patient records in the hospital database

  • Assisted doctors in routine check-ups to 500+ patients

  • Conducted patient follow-up

  • Maintained office organization

  • Promoted to medical assistant from internship after the first six months

EDUCATION

The University of Denver Denver, CO
B.A. in Communications – August 2011 – May 2015

  • Graduated with Honors

  • GPA=3.5 out of 4.0

Ellen Banks

Skills

  • 75 WPM typing speed

  • Law knowledge

  • Transcription

  • Efficiency

  • Verbal and Written Communication

  • Respectful

  • Customer service

  • Work ethic

Experience

Wellstone Media Company, Boston, MA
Front Desk Secretary JULY 2016 – PRESENT

  • Greeted customers and answered phones

  • Provided customer service

  • Scheduled and organized meetings

  • Typed memos and took notes for meetings

  • Maintained files and records

  • Provided general clerical support

  • Awarded a yearly bonus

Breckenridge Law Associates, Boston, MA
Legal Secretary – June 2012 – JUNE 2016

  • Developed and implements organizational tools to improve productivity

  • Trained new paralegals

  • Answered the phone and company emails

  • Greeted and directly assisted clients

  • Transcribed, recorded, and proofread documentation

  • Responsible for file and record-keeping

  • Made travel arrangements for partners and attorneys

  • Promoted from legal secretary intern after the first year

  • Awarded an annual salary increase of $12,000 after the first two years

Education

The University of Boston, Boston, MA
September 2008-May 2012
Bachelor of Arts in Paralegal Studies with a minor in Criminal Justice
Pitman Training Certificate
December 2012-June 2012
Secretarial and Receptionist Course

Cover Letter Example With Clerical Skills

Your clerical skills can also be highlighted in your cover letter. After all, drafting a compelling cover letter is itself a test of your written communication skills, as well as your knowledge of the company culture.

Use your cover letter to express enthusiasm for the role and comfort with clerical tasks. Most importantly, provide examples of significant accomplishments in your past professional experiences where your excellent clerical skills played a big role.

Let’s take a look at an example cover letter for an administrative assistant role:

Dear Ms. Jenley,

After seeing your job listing on Zipia for the Adminstrative Assistant position, I had to apply. With over 4 years of experience helping office spaces run efficiently, I believe I can make an excellent addition to the ABC Inc. team.

In my last position as an Administrative Assistant at XYZ Corp., I made it a goal to streamline the tasks of everyone in the office while making sure everyone had the resources they needed. I spearheaded an initiative to completely digitize all of our paperwork processes, which saved the company over $6,500 dollars annually in product, labor, and maintenance expenses.

Some of my other proudest achievements with XYZ Corp. include:

  • Generated weekly reports by creating and maintaining an Excel spreadsheet that tracked Sales and Marketing goals using VLOOKUP, regex, and results exported from Google Analytics

  • Reduced customer complaints due to error by 14% by organizing client information in Google Sheets and processing sensitive paperwork, checking it for errors

  • Wrote and designed weekly newsletter using HTML, increasing website traffic by 12% through email marketing campaign

In addition to these achievements, I am comfortable using SalesForce and QuickBooks, and have experience onboarding and training new employees. When reviewing ABC Inc., I was impressed with your commitment to mutual aid programs. I also believe in these programs, and offer my administrative services pro bono to a local food bank, Families First.

Thank you for considering me for the Administrative Assistant role at ABC Inc. I look forward to discussing how I can bring the same winning results from my time at XYZ Corp. to your organization.

Sincerely,
Martha Bird

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Author

Sky Ariella

Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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