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What Are Clerical Skills?

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If you are looking for clerical work, it’s crucial to have the right skills. Required clerical skills vary from position to position. However, there are a few necessary skills that pop up in nearly every job posting. Basic office skills are commonly required, including computer literacy, using a phone system and filing documents. As a clerical worker, you could also find yourself in charge of a variety of tasks, including communications, data entry, word processing, emailing, scheduling and filing.


Clerical workers are typically in charge of a variety of tasks. Their skills include communications, customer service, data entry, emailing, scheduling, filing and more.

Communications and Customer Service Office Skills

A clerical position often includes answering phones and dealing directly with customers and clients. It’s important to cultivate communications and customer service skills if you want to find clerical work. You should be adept at using the phone and answering systems. This means knowing how to put people on hold, transfer calls and handle multiple incoming calls at once. Customer service skills are also important. As a clerical worker, you are the first point of contact for customers, clients, partners and investors in the business. Handling these interactions politely and effectively is paramount to the success of a clerical employee.

Computer and Data Entry Skills

Clerical workers maintain many office skills, chief among them computer literacy. In most cases, you must have at least some computer skills if you want to find clerical work. You should know how to type and use basic computer applications such as Microsoft Word or other word processing programs. You should also be able to use email, calendar and scheduling applications. Many clerical workers are in charge of scheduling and booking travel, both of which are done on a computer. Most clerical jobs require at least basic data entry skills. This means having a base knowledge of data entry software and Microsoft Excel. For example, if you do clerical work in a doctor’s office, you will likely be responsible for entering patient information gathered on intake forms into the office’s data system.

Filing Skills

One of the most common clerical skills is maintaining office filing systems. Files are typically organized alphabetically. However, they can also be organized in other ways, such as numerically, depending on the individual business. Usually, it’s the responsibility of clerical workers to file away documents and keep filing systems organized. Files might include invoices, orders, forms and other important documents.

Organization and Attention to Detail

A person who organizes and keeps the office together should have strong organizational skills and persistent attention to detail. The good news is you don’t have to have any clerical experience at all to gain these skills. They can be cultivated in a variety of ways. No matter how you go about learning these skills, organization and attention to detail are musts if you are looking for clerical work.


Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She specializes in labor and workplace issues, and has created content for Vox, Levo, AOL and more.

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