Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
General office clerks type and file correspondence, reports, statements and other material, operate office equipment, answer telephones and perform clerical duties of a general nature according to established procedures. They are employed in offices throughout the public and private sectors.
- May have trouble getting tasks completed within a set time frame, such as when a document is held up at the printing office. In that case, they may have to adjust their schedule to make sure they will be ready to give priority to the delayed document as soon as it arrives. (1)
- May notice an error in a document. They contact the individual who produced the document to find out what wording was intended. (1)
- May find discrepancies in the dollar figures when reconciling the accounting ledger. They compare slips and ledger entries to find the error. (1)
- May have mail to clients returned as undeliverable. They check with co-workers or make phone calls to locate a correct address. (1)
- May encounter a malfunctioning computer or photocopier. They try to fix the problem themselves or call a technician. (2)
- May encounter computer crashes when the payroll is due. They consider various options to get pay cheques out on time. (3)
- Decide when to interrupt telephone conversations and put people on hold. (1)
- Decide to whom to refer callers, based on the subject matter and the availability of staff. (1)
- Decide when to schedule appointments or set up meetings to best accommodate participants' schedules. (2)
- Decide the priority of items of correspondence and process them accordingly. (2)
- Decide which software package is best suited for a specific assignment or project. (2)
- Decide what office supplies are needed and when to place the order. (2)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
General office clerks organize their own job tasks based on priorities set by their organization. Their tasks are mostly repetitive but are frequently interrupted by phone calls from clients or suppliers or requests from supervisors. They often do work for several managers and need to juggle deadlines to ensure that service is provided to all of them in a balanced way. (2)
Significant Use of Memory
- May remember the individual format and style preferences of all the officers or managers they serve and what letterhead is required for their correspondence.
- May remember a variety of rarely used procedures in the software manual.
- May memorize file codes and safe combinations.
- May memorize established procedures and regulations for processing paperwork efficiently.
- Look up names, addresses, phone numbers and sources for supplies and materials in the white and yellow pages of the phone book or in supplier directories. (1)
- Refer to databases to locate information on clients or companies. (1)
- Obtain financial, legal, medical, security and policy and procedure information by contacting co-workers or departments and checking reference books. (2)
- Use computer manuals for assistance when using computer programs. (2)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
General office clerks mainly work independently. They may work as members of a team or with a partner or helper on large tasks, such as the preparation of proposals or when completing tasks with a strict deadline.
General office clerks learn about new computer programs, software and applications and must keep up to date on changes in policy and procedures. They may take courses offered by their organization in subjects such as finance.