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Skills Needed for Secretaries in Government Jobs

by Felicia Dye

Government is one of the top employers of secretaries, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Through 2020, overall secretarial jobs will grow about as fast as other occupations, but the BLS warns the strongest growth will be for certain specialties, such as medical secretaries. Other secretary jobs will grow slower than average. To be competitive, individuals need to ensure they have the skills government employers need.

Typing Skills

Government secretaries must have strong typing skills. Secretaries draft many documents, such as emails, letters and reports. Many employers require applicants to possess the ability to type a certain number of words per minute. However, speed is only part of an employers' concern. Secretaries also need to have strong writing skills, including proper grammar and composition and a vocabulary and tone suitable for the employing agency.

Internet and Technology Skills

Many government agencies are trying to keep pace with innovative trends. They maintain websites and social media accounts and some distribute alerts and news electronically. Since secretaries work with many online resources, good internet skills are increasingly important. Government agencies are also prone to upgrade their equipment, devices and software as advancements are made, which means there is also growing demand for secretaries to be savvy with technology.

Interpersonal Skills

Government secretaries need interpersonal skills as the job requires customer service experience such as as answering phones and greeting visitors. Some secretaries may even attend meetings on their superiors' behalf, which means a secretary needs to have an understanding of diverse groups of people and be able to adapt to different communication styles.

Organizational Skills

Secretaries working in government agencies need sharp organizational skills to ensure efficient operations. They handle many types of information and need to ensure it's distributed properly, especially when handling classified or sensitive information. Organizational skills help government secretaries competently file documents and maintain databases while maintaining schedules, making travel arrangements and coordinating meetings and conferences.

High-Ranking Secretary Skills

There are usually tiers of government secretaries, from entry to executive levels. Higher ranking jobs require a stronger and broader set of skills. Many high-level government secretaries act as office managers, which can require managerial skills as they may oversee other secretaries. Since higher ranking secretaries have more authority and independence, they need analytical and problem-solving skills to identify, analyze and address problems or inefficient processes in the workplace. Many also need strong research skills and they need to be knowledgeable about their employing agency's policies and regulations as they become responsible for more complex tasks and decisions.

About the Author

Felicia Dye graduated from Anne Arundel Community College with an associate's degree in paralegal studies. She began her writing career specializing in legal writing, providing content to companies including Internet Brands and private law firms. She contributes articles to Trace 775.com.

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