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What are Clerical Skills

Sujata Iyer
If you're wondering what clerical skills you need to check for while hiring a person, this story is the right place. It will help you decide if the candidate is suitable for the job or not. And for all those wishing to secure a clerical position, you'll get to know what you need to know.
Clerical skills are a set of practical, simple, but very important skills that a person needs to possess. These skills help to keep an office/organization organized and up to date. The result is that any information can be accessed instantly, as everything has been kept in its right place at the right time.
Apart from organizing, there are other skills involved that a person applying for a clerical job must have.

Some Important Clerical Skills

Given ahead is a list of skills that employers can use to assess if the candidate is fit for the job. For candidates aspiring to acquire clerical jobs, this can serve as an important set of guidelines about what employers expect from them.

Data Entry

Assuming a clerical position involves a lot of data entry. For this purpose, one needs to be well versed with computers. There are hardly any organizations that maintain hand written records anymore. Hence, it is important that the person know his way with computers.
On the job training will be provided, of course, but the person needs to know how to use a computer properly. Typing speed must be considerable because data entry needs to be done throughout the day and the company will not appreciate you taking your own sweet time for it.


Another important clerical skill that a company expects is for the person to be well versed with the accounting principles and concepts. He should be able to carry out accounting and budgeting activities for the company. It also involves seeing that money is received by the accounts receivable department and paid on time by the accounts payable department.

Scheduling Skills

Clerical jobs often require the person to take care of scheduling of meetings, important events, travel itineraries, presentations, etc. For this, one needs to have the physical and mental ability to manage and allot proper time for the activities according to the level of importance.

Basic Computer Knowledge

This is not entirely the same as data entry. It is one step higher. By basic computer knowledge, it implies that the candidate must know well how to use the most commonly used office applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
These or other similar applications are regularly used in offices to maintain records, for communication, presentations, etc. Since clerical jobs include these, it is only natural for the employer to expect a person to know them.

Filing and Storing

Filing skills are an important prerequisite for anyone applying for a clerical position. Though it sounds extremely easy, it really isn't. Proper filing includes organizing and arranging each and every important paper document according to the norms followed at the company.
Generally, filing is done alphabetically. This makes it easier to locate IF it has been stored appropriately. Yes, there's no point in spending hours organizing the paperwork, if you're not going to store it in the proper place. It is a time consuming, but very important clerical skill that can be honed with practice and concentration.

Communication Skills

This is another very important clerical skill that one must possess. Often, a clerical job description involves communicating with customers and clients. Along with clients, he or she must also communicate with the staff at the organization. For this, it is very important that the person be a good communicator.
Communication involves both written and spoken skills. Here, the language skills of the person need to be tested. In writing skills; the grammar, spellings, punctuation, etc., need to be checked to see if the person is fit for business communication.
For spoken, sentence construction, tone of voice and body language must be assessed as they play an important role in business communication.
A small mistake in scheduling, like overlapping of meetings for example, can lead to serious consequences for the person and considerable losses for the company. It requires good time management skills, something that gets better only with practice.


Scrutiny, in the sense that the person must proofread carefully, every document, hard copy or soft copy, to make sure that everything is in order. It also entails error detection in any documents if present. Only an alert and vigilant person can carry out proper scrutiny of documents.

Other Skills

Other skills that are important for a clerical position are dedication, patience, hard work, smartness, dependability and the ability to take on important responsibilities.
These were some of the most basic clerical skills and duties required and expected to be fulfilled. Preparing a resumé highlighting these skills is a step that candidates can take to help them breeze through the tests that most companies conduct to assess them. 
Online tests are available which you can use for practice. So make sure you've got these basic areas covered before you head for the interview.