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Administrative assistants and other office personnel will need certain basic office skills in order to maintain a successful career. Some employers offer on the job training, but most positions that involve clerical work require prior experience in performing office tasks. High schools, technical schools, vocational schools and distance learning programs offer training courses devoted to basic office skills.
Basic office training should include lessons on how to use a basic multi-line phone system. Trainees need to understand how to answer calls in a pleasant and professional manner, how to place clients on hold, how to transfer calls to other locations within the office, how to facilitate conference calls and how to access voicemail for company messages.
Using the computer is one of the most important basic office skills. Training should include how to turn the computer on and off, how to use the mouse, how to maximize and minimize screens, as well as how to access and change computer settings. Trainees should receive lessons on how to create a basic document and send it to the printer. They should also learn basic keyboarding skills, and practice increasing typing speed. Some companies use computers to scan and fax important documents; office trainees should learn how to do this, as well as how to troubleshoot and fix simple computer related problems that may arise.
Internet and Computer Programs
Knowing how to use the internet and other common computer programs are invaluable office skills. Training should include how to search internet databases such as Google and Yahoo, and how to access and use email. Some modern day companies use social networking sites for correspondence, advertising and marketing purposes; training in basic office skills should include a tutorial on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Training should also include lessons in computer operating systems like Windows, as well as skills in document creation via Microsoft Word, spreadsheet creation and maintenance via Microsoft Excel, inter-office correspondence with Microsoft Outlook, instruction on how to put together basic presentations with Power Point, and basic accounting and book keeping with Quickbooks.
Ten Key Adding Machine
Basic office skills generally include small amount of accounting. Trainees should receive instruction on using a ten-key adding machine for invoicing and calculating company facts and figures.
Organization is a key office skill. Office workers need training on how to categorize and alphabetize office documents, as well as how to restore order to outdated filing systems.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.