• The Publishing Post

Administrative Upskilling Tips

By Annabella Costantino, Misha Manani and Rowan Groat


The term “admin” is often thrown around in publishing, but what does it actually entail? For this issue, we wanted to break down what administrative work involves, what skills are needed and most importantly, what can be done to make upskilling in this area more accessible. At entry level and beyond, most publishing roles require the skills to perform administrative tasks. Whether you are working in marketing or editorial, administrative skills are key to not only staying organised, but also to keeping work processes running smoothly.


Top Tips


  • Highlight key skills in cover letters: When writing a cover letter for a job that involves administrative tasks, focus on the attributes that the employer is looking for and clearly match your experience to those skills. Focus on what you can offer and why you are a reliable individual.

  • Strengthen your written and verbal communication: If you are assisting senior members or even managing your own administrative responsibilities in a team, you need to write well and speak confidently, whilst being respectful. Any experience you have working in a group will be helpful in the long term.

  • Become familiar with managing your workload: At any level, you should be a self-motivator and practice self-management to take accountability and remain organised. You could use an online organisational tool like Trello or even a digital calendar app – just take a first step.

  • Don’t underestimate research skills: As a student, you learn how to research certain areas and specialisms. These skills are invaluable when researching the market you are working in, as well as competitors and other industry players. Learning how to be intuitive when delivering admin tasks on time is also key.

  • Get involved in your local network: Administrative skills are often easily picked up and can be learned on the job. In preparation for your first in-office experience, why not offer your administrative support in a voluntary capacity for someone you know in the industry or a small business you follow?

Core Skills


  • Management: You may need to file and handle confidential documents such as emails, contracts and cover designs. This also includes carrying out different tasks at the same time. For instance, publicists who arrange book tours and signings need to manage diary dates, travel and accommodation.

  • Assertiveness: You should stand up for what you believe in and voice your opinions in a manner that does not hurt others. This creates an environment for positive communication, which is vital in a collaborative industry like publishing. Practice confidence and remain polite.

  • Liaising: It’s important to have strong oral abilities because you may have to communicate and manage different expectations for publishers, authors and departments. Grammar, language and sentence structure need to be of a high standard, so you can negotiate in a professional manner.

Online Courses


  • Reed: This platform offers many free online courses in administration, designed to help improve both practical skills and develop an understanding of best practice. Check the criteria to find out if you’re eligible to enrol.

  • The Oxford Home Study Centre: These short courses allow you to improve your admin expertise for employment through writing, collaboration, self-management and non-verbal skills.

  • FutureLearn: Run by the University of Leeds, this is great for strengthening your communication and interpersonal skills in the workplace. You can identify your personal conversation style and explore different platforms for interacting.

  • Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook Essential Training: These programmes are used on a daily basis in publishing, regardless of the department you currently work in or are aspiring to work in. This course covers tips for getting started, design skills and shortcuts, so you can maximise your efficiency and deliver results effectively.

  • Microsoft Office Administration: As always, LinkedIn Learning is a really useful resource for upskilling. This covers subscription settings, email services, Microsoft Sharepoint and Skype for Business online. Keep your eyes peeled for LinkedIn premium discounts and check if your university or college provides membership!


Digital Resources


  • Microsoft Office: This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams and OneDrive. These programs form the foundation of work on a daily basis, including letters, presentations and communication with your co-workers.

  • Google Drive: This includes Docs, Sheets, Slides and Calendar. The Google suite is exclusively online and ensures that documents are automatically saved in the cloud. It is accessible for anyone with a Google email address and you can collaborate simultaneously with your peers.

  • Adobe Suite: This includes Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. These are great tools for colour correction, trimming and audio effects. Students and teachers can also save up to 65% with the Creative Cloud bundle.


Thanks for reading our Administrative Upskilling Tips, we hope you found them useful. Be sure to check out our next feature in issue twenty-five, where we will be sharing Creative Upskilling Tips!

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