8 Important Clerical Skills to Include on Your Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 5, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated November 5, 2022

Published July 26, 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 enable people to complete administrative tasks. They can be helpful to professionals in many career fields and useful to people in their personal lives. If you're applying for jobs, you may have a significant number of clerical skills you can highlight on your resumé to stand out to potential employers. In this article, we define clerical skills, explore some of these essential abilities, and provide examples of how to feature this skill set on your resumé.

What are clerical skills?

Clerical skills are abilities that help people perform administrative tasks, such as filing records, entering data into a computer, scheduling and making appointments, greeting visitors, and answering phone calls. These skills are typically most useful to professionals who work in office environments, such as administrative assistants, secretaries, receptionists, and information clerks. They're also beneficial to professionals in positions such as accountants and managers. Since professionals in clerical positions are primarily responsible for keeping information accessible and interacting with guests, they need to be experts in organization and communication.

Related:

  • What is Clerical Work? (Definition, Job Titles, and Duties)

  • What Is an Administrative Clerk? (Plus Common Skills)

8 essential clerical skills

Hiring managers may look for clerical skills on a candidate's resumé to see if they can work well in an office environment. There are different types of clerical skills including, hard skills which refer to specific technical abilities, and soft clerical skills which refer to positive personality traits. Here are some essential clerical skills that you can develop to help further your career:

1. Organizational skills

Organizational skills are highly important in a clerical role, as many of these employees are responsible for keeping track of large amounts of information. They could be in charge of collecting, documenting and organizing paperwork, such as mail, receipts, meeting minutes, financial records, employee files, patient records, and phone messages. As this information may also be confidential, it's important that these professionals know how to keep files secure. In addition, supervisors may rely on clerical assistants to access and convey information quickly in order to respond to important questions.

Clerical employees are also often responsible for maintaining the cleanliness and orderliness of an office environment. Depending on the specifics of their role, they may ensure a waiting room has up-to-date magazines and reading materials, arrange for the provision of coffee and snacks and keep an office's front desk tidy. Thus, a habit of organizing and keeping areas clean can benefit a clerical assistant greatly.

Related: Administrative Assistant Skills (And How To Improve Them)

2. Verbal and written communication skills

Verbal and written communication skills are an asset for clerical professionals working in office environments. As many clerical employees staff front information desks, they are often the first point of contact for incoming visitors. They may be responsible for checking visitors in, guiding them through an office, and answering questions. They may also be in charge of relaying information from visitors to their colleagues and supervisors. Strong verbal communication skills can help clerical employees explain information in a clear and concise way and ensure everyone involved in an office has the knowledge they need.

In addition, the primary duty of many clerical employees is to write reports and collect and record data. It's therefore important that they have excellent written communication skills as well, so they can be sure to record the necessary details of a situation and enable others to understand it. For example, they may be responsible for taking notes at a meeting to document project progress, adjustments, goals, and decisions. They may also have to communicate written information by sending emails, memos, presentations, and other messages. It's important to sound professional and use proper spelling and grammar in written materials.

3. Computer skills

Having computer skills can help clerical professionals organize large amounts of data, keep track of files and plan schedules. It's important that they're comfortable using digital systems, software, and databases to enter and access information and send information to others. Employers hiring for clerical positions often require candidates to have experience with word processing software, spreadsheets, office management databases, and company messaging systems. They may also look for candidates with the ability to type quickly and accurately in order to take notes and complete projects in a short amount of time.

Related: 10 Administrative Skills for the Workplace

4. Interpersonal skills

One of the most common duties of clerical professionals is interacting with others, including colleagues, supervisors and clients. Clerical professionals who work at a front desk may be responsible for providing friendly greetings to incoming visitors, orienting them to the office environment and directing them on where to go and what to do. It's important that professionals in these types of positions have good interpersonal and customer service skills like active listening, patience, empathy, and compassion.

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5. Attention to detail

It's important that clerical employees be able to identify errors in projects, files and other materials, as they may be responsible for assuring the quality of a company's records and products. They are often in charge of making sure a company's records comply with legal regulations. Candidates applying to clerical positions can show their attention to detail by making sure their resumés, cover letters, and other application documents are free from grammatical and spelling errors.

6. Time management skills

Time management is an important clerical skill, as administrative employees are often responsible for developing the schedules for those they assist. Their supervisors may depend on them to help them remember projects, complete tasks by their deadlines, and meet with others on time. In addition, they may be required to complete a variety of office tasks as part of their duties. By organizing and managing their time well, they can perform their diverse responsibilities in a timely manner.

7. Basic mathematical knowledge

Depending on their specific role, clerical employees may need to know basic mathematical skills and how to input numbers. Spreadsheet software is a common choice for businesses looking to record and organize numbered information, and many employers require candidates to have experience using this tool. Familiarity with this software can help clerical assistants perform bookkeeping, budget tracking, and accounting tasks.

8. Critical thinking skills

Clerical employees in an office environment can benefit from strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is because they may be responsible for helping customers with a variety of issues. To investigate and analyze how to resolve a situation, clerical employees may need to ask customers certain questions and listen to their responses carefully. It's also important for clerical assistants to know when to bring an issue to their supervisor or upper management if they can't solve it themselves.

Related: What Does an Accounting Clerk Do? (With Roles and Skills)

How to include clerical skills on a resumé?

When highlighting clerical skills on your resumé, it's important to be specific. You can do this by featuring examples of how you have used each skill to complete past projects or reach quantifiable results. Having proof of your skills can help show potential employers you're an excellent candidate for a job. Here are two examples of how you can emphasize clerical skills on your resume:

Create a skills section

Consider grouping your clerical skills and other abilities into one section on your resumé. This can be a paragraph or bulleted list of your top skills that apply to the position you're seeking. Here's an example of a skills section you might feature in your resumé:

Technical skills:
• Accounting software programs like SAP to process accounts payables, receivables, receipts, disbursements, and vouchers
• Payroll bookkeeping
• ERP Software

Additional skills:
• Attention to detail
• Visual and written communication
• Critical thinking
• Problem-solving
• Reconciliations for amounts
• Preparation of cash flow statements
• Preparation of reports and invoices
• Calculation of bills receivable like costs, rates, total counts and liabilities using spreadsheet software

Highlight skills in work experience section

You can also highlight your clerical skills in the work experience section of your resumé. Consider including these skills when you're describing your work accomplishments. Here's an example:

Rose Healthcare Centre

Clerical Assistant • January 2016 - January 2020

  • Used graphic design software to edit and design images of the company's website, brochures, presentations, and logos

  • Displayed data in a functional format using word processing software to prepare documents

  • Used graphic design software to design page layouts and format text size, column width, and spacing for the company's flyers and promotional materials

  • Researched and entered financial transactions into database management systems


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