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Office skills for Jobs in South Africa – No 1 approved

Office skills guide for Jobs in South Africa

Recruitment agents tell us that they use software to search out specific office skill words in resumes that are applying for advertised Jobs in South Africa.

To get and hold a recruiter’s attention for jobs in South Africa, you have to understand the importance of office skills and include them in your resume.

Hard skills speak of the job-related knowledge and abilities required to perform a job. Soft skills refer to the personal qualities needed in a field.
Example: A nurse’s hard skills may be pediatric experience and soft skills are empathetic and friendly.

It is important to get these office skills if you do not yet have them. Do a free online course or volunteer at a NPO.

Add as many of the office skills that you do have to your resume. The recruiters are not interested if they don’t see the skills that appear on the job ad.

  • Add in your resume’s skills section, your list of skills, and
  • Explain in the experience section how you have used or gained your skills in previous jobs and tasks.

Below are the most common hard, and soft, skills required in office jobs:


Data Entry

As a popular online, work from home job, data-entry is the act of entering and updating data information into a company database.

Companies may need a data entry person to check that entered data is authentic, or to add data into Excel spreadsheets and other computer systems and file documents.

Some tasks may deal with sensitive information, for example in the case of legal or healthcare professions.
Others may be in support of billing desks, for example.

Many jobs in South Africa fall under data-entry, such as typists and transcribers, clerks and electronic data processors, and various other data specialists.

Most required data entry skills include:

  • Typing and transcription
  • Computer and technical skills (including software knowledge)
  • Organisational and time management abilities 
  • Administrative
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Customer service
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Multi-tasking
  • Confidentiality
  • Ability to follow directions.
  • Ability to work independently
  • Teamwork skills
  • Phone skills and etiquette
  • Interpersonal skills and people skills
  • A positive attitude when working under the pressure
  • Language proficiency
  • Being detail-oriented
  • Handling data entry items and duties with care

Data entry hard skills include:

  • Basic computer skills
  • Microsoft Office skills
  • MS Excel
  • Report generation
  • Order entry
  • Computer skills
  • Quickbooks
  • Analytical skills
  • Transcriber software


From the hard list of office skills, administrative always appear on office jobs in South Africa. The many administrative tasks and responsibilities include writing communication, telephone and front desk duties, booking and reservations.

Administrative duties also depend on the position and company, but typically it includes data entry and filing documents, answering phone calls and greeting clients, scheduling appointments and providing customer or office support.

See which of the following admin skills are also your own, and include them on your resume.

  • Appointment scheduler
  • Phone etiquette
  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management.
  • Calendar management
  • Travel itinerary, booking and planning
  • Foreign language skills
  • Email management.
  • Writing, receiving and processing letters and emails
  • Faxing
  • Research
  • Transcription
  • Data entry
  • Filing
  • Processing orders
  • Office supplies, inventory management
  • Receiving visitors
  • Customer service
  • Recording minutes of meetings
  • Training new employees.
  • Billing
  • Bookkeeping
  • SalesForce
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • MIcrosoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Microsoft Excel


Clerk duties such as being able to file papers correctly is an important office skill and used in general office work. Clerks check invoices and other incoming paperwork, sort papers alphabetically and according to dates, significance and content.

The office skills of a clerk depend on the position and will likely include computer skills, accuracy and attention to detail, a comprehension of confidentiality and data protection. Clerks should be efficient at typing, data entry and word-processing.

Soft clerk skills:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Customer service
  • Administrative
  • Attention to detail
  • Accuracy
  • Sorting and maintaining
  • Organizing
  • Multi-tasking
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management.
  • Calendar management
  • Processing orders
  • Office supplies, inventory management

Clerical hard skills

  • Typing
  • Data entry
  • Administrative skills
  • Scheduling
  • Time management
  • QuickBooks
  • Organization
  • Computer literate


This office skill is important for customer relations, marketing and management positions – to nameafew.

Communication skills are needed to receive and understand information and to express brand, concepts and ideas to others, with words or actions.

Communication skills are used widely in all office jobs in South Africa, including customer service jobs, reception and events coordination plus any position that requires conveying written instructions orally to a person or group.

Customer Service

The backbone duty of many jobs, customer service is used alongside communication, to respond to inquiries in a timely, efficient and professional fashion.

Assisting customers with solutions to problems, and building relationships with great service, ensures new and returning business.

Good customer service office skills include written and speech communication, active listening and caring problem-solving.

Customer service soft skills:

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Positivity
  • Time and calendar management
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Complaint resolution and problem solving
  • Communication, written and speech
  • Customer experience optimization
  • Focus on building customer relationships  
  • Bilingual customer care

Hard skills of Customer Service:

  • Dixa
  • ERP
  • Freshdesk
  • Jira Service Desk
  • MS Excel
  • Microsoft Office
  • MS PowerPoint
  • MS Word
  • MyTalk
  • Product Knowledge
  • Salesforce
  • Talkdesk
  • Zendesk
  • Telesales, service-based sales

Telephone Calls

Telephone duties can be both a job or a hard skill and are part of many office jobs, including receptionists, secretaries, research, customer service and call center agents, billing clerks and booking agents.

Front Office

While you manage, work in, or support the front office, you will be responsible for a variety of office work, such as reception, filing, telephone and billing duties.

Being highly organized, detail-oriented and great at communication, are the most important office skills for front desk positions, together with a great phone manner and being equally friendly and professional.

Front desk skills:

  • Clerical
  • Data Entry
  • Administrative
  • MS Office
  • Customer Care
  • Fast Typing Speed
  • VOIP systems
  • Communication
  • Organizational
  • Multitasking
  • Interpersonal
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Time Management
  • Scheduling Appointments

Scheduling Appointments

Scheduling appointments require accuracy so that different meetings, and the dates of consecutive meetings, do not overlap with each other.

Daily tasks include telephone calls to find open appointment slots, scheduling first and follow-up appointments, send reminders and solve problems.

Communication, accuracy and customer service skills are needed in an appointment scheduler position


Power point is a valuable hard skill. Presentations are an important part of communication, and using slides of compiled, succinct information, is why Microsoft PowerPoint is valuable to present information, ideas or concepts in marketing, education and in business.

Office Inventory 

Offices require the constant upkeep of printer cartridges, papers and pens, invoicing books and any item, product or stationary needed for the keeping of physical files, communication or running a business.

Maintaining office supplies are office skills that are frequently required for jobs in South Africa that uses office supplies.

Handy skills in the upkeep of office supplies:

  • Problem solving
  • Keeping records
  • Reading comprehension
  • Customer service
  • Communication
  • Self-monitoring
  • Detail orientated
  • Time management
  • Calendar management
  • Being system orientated
  • Order placing
  • Decisiveness
  • Listening
  • Safety consciousness
  • Active Learning
  • Math Skills
  • Research
  • Stock-take
  • Organizing
  • Making purchases


Payroll clerks need a strong financial understanding, analytical skills, excellent attention to detail, and be capable of processing data quickly.

The Payroll skills are typically attained in duties of accounts payable and receivable, wage computation and reviewing payroll records for accuracy.

Payroll duties are managed by the individual owner, finance or HR department and deals with the total payments a business awards its employees and is ever-changing because of paid leave or overtime for example.

Soft skills of Payroll Clerks:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Organized
  • Reliability
  • Adaptability
  • Prioritization
  • Analytical
  • Detail oriented
  • Decision making
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Multitasking
  • Active listening
  • Planning and sorting
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer service
  • Management,  leadership

Hard skills of Payroll Clerks:

  • Billing
  • Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Data entry
  • Information ordering
  • Data management
  • Administrative
  • Record keeping
  • Proofreading
  • Faxing
  • Microsoft Office
  • Word processing
  • Database fluency
  • Scheduling
  • QuickBooks
  • Photocopying and collating
  • MS Office proficiency
  • Payroll software: ADP, SAP, QuickBooks
  • Payroll tax knowledge
  • Labor law
  • HR principles and information software
  • Mathematical
  • Computer skills

Word Processing

Microsoft Word processing applications are often used in the office environment and includes document creation through typing and editing, formatting and outputting documents and business letters on a computer.  It is a valuable skill in office jobs in South Africa.

Word processors need to be skilled in:

  • Accuracy 
  • Preparing and typing letters
  • Emails or documents
  • Editing and completing spreadsheets
  • Research 
  • Proofreading entries for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format.

Personal Computers and Office Machines

Laptops and other computers that are only used by one person are used for administrative and office support tasks, the typing and editing of letters and may various software programs and applications for word processing, presentations and databases. 

Office skills that speak of machines refer to operating any or all printers and scanners, fax and calculators, computers and photocopiers in the running of an office.

Many office machines positions have the sole purpose to be a support role that will save time.  Every office machine counts as a skill.

Computer System

All duties that involve working with a computer, such as inputting orders or appointments into computers, data-entry, scanning documents or closing files, email or troubleshooting. Basic competency with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and capable of organizing tasks using Google Calendar is considered a computer skill.

Computer system software skills include:

  • Software Skills including: Python, JavaScript, C#, PHP, Java, MySQL, SQL, C++, iOS/Swift, Ruby on Rails
  • Graphics e.g Acrobat and Photoshop, InDesign and Corel Draw, HTML/CSS and  Illustrator
  • Enterprise Systems e.g. Enterprise Resource Planning including Oracle and SAP, Customer relationship management including Salesforce and Oracle Netsuite, automated billing systems, Payment processing,   Business intelligence,  Business Continuity Planning
  • Social Media e.g Facebook, LinkedIn,  Twitter and Instagram
  • MS Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, OneNote, Access)
  • Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms)
  • Email (mail merge, filters, folders, rules)
  • Quickbooks. (Be specific about your computer skills, e.g. payroll, cash flow and  expense tracking, accounts payable, invoicing, reports)
  • Spreadsheets (Excel, Google Sheets, OpenOffice Calc). (Point out skills e.g. comparative analyses, pivot and sensitivity tables and macros, link to database, vertical lookups)
  • Presentations and slideshows (such as Goofle Slides and Powerpoint, OpenOffice Impress or Tableu)
  • Database Management e.g. Oracle, SQL, MySQL, MS Access, Teradata, IBM DB2
  • Web e.g. HTML, wordPress, CSS, Javascript, Content Management Systems (CMS), code libraries
  • Writing Skills e.g technical writing, research and journalism, WordPress, Yoast and SEO

Computer system hardware skills include:

  • Tech support
  • Research
  • Updates
  • System administration
  • Network configuration
  • Software installation
  • Security
  • Cisco
  • Project management
  • TCI/IP, DHCP, Windows, WAN/LAN, Linux/Unix, DNS, Ubuntu – Virtualized networks
  • Network automation
  • Cloud management
  • Vendor management
  • AI

Computer system advanced skills:

  • Security
  • Machine learning
  • Web development
  • Open source
  • Data structures
  • Coding
  • Debugging

TIP: Wise Owls offers a free basic computing skills test

You will be given your score, the questions you got wrong, and how you did compared to othrrs. You’ll also get a unique URL (web address) which you can share on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+

Very important: Include a list of skills that you have gained in your resume.
Explain and present your experience gained from a previous office position that shows specific job skills in the experience section.

5 Examples of office skills and how they are mentioned in the experience section of resumes:

  1. Performed daily clerical tasks such as managing phones and office mail, maintained, updated, indexed and filed documents into a database and put together newsletters.
  2. Utilized the internet, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word processing during various projects.
  3. Maintained and updated filing, inventory, and database systems, both manually and electronically, by operating office machines, such as photocopier, and personal computer.
  4. Provided good customer service, managed the phone inquiries and general upkeep of the front office, checked and performed data-entry for office supplies and sales floor inventory.
  5. Greeted patients and helped them be comfortable, answered phone calls and helped solve insurance problems, scheduled appointments and pulled charts, which contained all relevant documents. Also kept patients records and entered patient demographics into the computer system.

Soft, behavioral skills accompany hard skills. For example, customer service + social skills, or Microsoft Word Processing + attention to detail.

Typical office skills include:

  • Communication
  • Active listener
  • Fast learner
  • Leadership 
  • Team player
  • Social skills
  • Collaboration 
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Organized
  • Writing
  • Reliability
  • Adaptability
  • Prioritization
  • Analytical
  • Detail oriented
  • Decision making
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Multitasking
  • Active listening
  • Planning and sorting
  • Time management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer service
  • Management,  leadership

Popular titles of office jobs in South Africa may include:

  • Accounting Clerk, Officer
  • Accounting Secretary
  • Administrative Assistant, Coordinator, Director, Manager, Services Manager, Services Officer, Specialist, Support Manager, Support Supervisor
  • Administrator
  • Billing Clerk
  • Contract Administrator
  • Credit Clerk
  • Customer Care Associate
  • Data Entry
  • File Clerk
  • Finance Clerk
  • Financial Clerk
  • Front Desk Agent, Associate, Coordinator, Manager
  • General Office Clerk
  • Human Resources Administrator
  • Information Clerk
  • Mail Clerk
  • Material Recording Clerk
  • Medical Receptionist, Secretary
  • Office Assistant, Clerk, Manager, Support Manager, Support Supervisor
  • Paralegal Assistant, Specialist
  • Receptionist, Secretary
  • Senior Administrative Coordinator, Administrative Services Officer, Coordinator, Executive Assistant, Special Events Coordinator, Support Assistant, Support Specialist
  • Special Events Coordinator, Programs Coordinator
  • Staff Assistant
  • Support Assistant, Specialist
  • Telephone Support Specialist
  • Typist
  • Virtual Assistant, Receptionist
  • Word Processor

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