Clerical Skills Definition, List, Examples

clerical skills

Trying to understand what clerical skills are? And which ones you should put on the resume? Don’t worry, this guide will help you to understand what these skills are and how you may go about mentioning them in your cover letter, resume, or during your interview.

You may have seen a request for having clerical skills on the job description you are looking at. A lot of positions that require office operations or office administrative tasks may ask for clerical skills.

In this writeup we’re going to cover:

Ready? Let’s jump right in!

What Are Clerical Skills?

What exactly are “Clerical Skills”? Employers often ask for these skills when the job you’re applying for contains operational or administrative tasks associated with the success of the position.

So what is it?

First, let’s look at how the dictionary defines the word.

“of, pertaining to, appropriate for, or assigned to an office clerk or clerks:”

“of, relating to, or characteristic of the clergy or a member of the clergy:”

OK, so this gives us some insight right from the start. It means that clerical skills are defined as skills that assist you in the performance of office-related duties.

Offices are much like small communities. They are places of business where people congregate. When the environment is negative, great work isn’t often performed. Obviously. When the environment is positive, great work is performed. It is a two-way street.

When an employer asks for these skills, they want to know that you have the knowledge of being able to speak to what makes the environment great. And being able to ensure that you are providing part of your daily focus on making the office a great environment.

For example, someone who may be applying for a position of Office Manager may pay close attention to the office snacks. And replenish them when they are low.

That would be a task that you performed because you had clerical skills.

This should help explain how clerical skills are put to use in a single example.

But listing “Clerical Skills” on your resume isn’t going to do the trick in terms of showing your employer that you have this skill set. What you have to do is list approbate soft skills align to the clerical skills parent skill group.

Let’s go over that now so you can understand which skills are applicable for that.

What Skills Are Classified as Clerical Skills

Certain soft skills are more “clerical” than others. And listing these soft skills on your resume, cover letter, or during your interview might allude to you having clerical skills for your future employer.

Here is a list of soft skills that are clerical in nature:

While this is a shortlist of many, these are the most impactful soft skills to list. They show your ability to be office-centric in your work ethic.

Any soft skill which pertains to tasks that you may have to perform for administrative, office, or operational functions would be applicable to list.

Why Are Clerical Skills Important?

Clerical skills are important to employers because they understand that office environments matter to the performance of the business.

If the office environment isn’t organized, do you think that employees will be able to do their job well? No, they won’t.

For senior leadership of a business, at a certain point, they start to focus more on the office culture than they do the product or service they offer. This is because they comprehend and realize that the culture of the office is what is going to allow their employees to do great work.

And that great work is what is going to produce results for their board members, shareholders, and for you the employee.

Having clerical skills is particularly important to certain positions, where senior leadership feels you will help to ensure the efficiency of the office culture.

What Jobs Require Clerical Skills?

While all jobs can benefit from having clerical skills, certain jobs require them more than others. If you are applying to any type of administrative function, you may want to list these skills on your resume.

Here is a shortlist of jobs that are best suited for listing clerical skills:

Where to Put Clerical Skills on Your Resume

There are a few areas where you can list these skills on your resume. Depending on the length of your resume and what education or work experience you might be listing, these three options should be sufficient for you:

If you aren’t sure which is best for you, continue reading as we’re about to break down how to execute all three of these types of integrations of clerical skills in your job application assets.

Listing them on your resume summary

A resume summary is a short three-sentence paragraph that opens up your resume. It shows your future employer your prior achievements as well as future desires within a bold statement. This can be a great way to synthesize your prior work experience.

When integrating clerical skills into that, all you have to do is bring up mentions of the importance of the office environment and culture. Then speak to how you impacted it.

For example:

“As a previous Administrative Assistant I understood the importance of our culture. I was able to provide continued support for our office snacks, office lunches, office adventures and special holidays.”

Listing them in your skills section

A skills section, similar to an education section or prior work experience section of your resume can be helpful. But for those who have a significant amount of prior work experience, you might not have room for this. Alternatively, for those who don’t have a significant amount of work experience (entry-level workers), you may find that having a skills section pads your resume and builds it into the one-page that it needs to be.

Determine if this is the right path for you by the amount of prior work experience you have.

Listing them on your prior work experience bullet points

Showing that you have clerical skills can be as easy as mentioning work situations where you exhibited these skills. For example, if you have prior experience as an Office Manager, you might list bullet points that speak to your duties. And one of them could be managing the office cleaning vendors, managing the office scheduling, checking in guests, and more.

By speaking to those functions, you are showing that you have clerical skills.

Where to Put Clerical Skills on Your Cover Letter

Similar to mentioning clerical skills in your previous work experience, you can deploy a similar methodology in your cover letter.

Cover letters are most impactful when they contain prior work achievements. And speaking to achievements that show clerical skills can be a great way to express this to your employer.

In addition, when you sit down and decide to craft what prior work scenarios go inside your cover letter, you’ll give some guidance to your potential future interview.

For example, if you list prior work scenarios that express your ability to manage office holiday parties, your future interviewer will most likely ask you about that in the interview. This gives guidance to the interview in advance. Which can make spending time of your cover letter very important.

Here is an example paragraph where you can show clerical skills in a cover letter:

“Our previous office environment was of utmost importance to our CEO. We were in a highly competitive industry where office benefits were part of the lure for our employees. Managing these office benefits and ensuring that they were world-class was always top of mind for the CEO. We worked closely to not only define these benefits but develop systems which automated them for management purposes.”

How to Bring Up Clerical Skills in a Job Interview

Bringing up clerical skills in your job interview is very similar to bringing them up in your cover letter. You want to have a previous work experience situation which you can share.

Through sharing that prior work experience, you should be alluding to your clerical skills.

If you want to show your employer that you have these skills, avoid simply saying, “I have clerical skills.”

The reason is, they won’t believe you. They need to know that you have these skills by putting them to use in real work situations that drive value to the business.

That’s why bringing up a work scenario that is positive, where you had the ability to show your skills, and drive success is going to be impactful.

Spend the time to think through one to three work scenarios that you can speak to during your interview. Having them clearly articulated in your mind. Recall what the challenge was and how you met that challenge. Then try to recall what value it brought to the business, to your team, or to the CEO.

Other Skills Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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