How to Write a Professional Administrative Assistant Resume

FT Contributor  | 

If you love multitasking, organizing, time management, and close-kept secrets, you may be considering a career as a professional administrative assistant. As the unsung heroes of the office, secretaries, office assistants, and other administrative assistants are the glue that holds an organization’s operations together.

However, in spite of all of the responsibility that comes with the position, you’re likely to meet with fierce competition when attempting to get a good job as a professional administrative assistant. A resume that is hand-crafted for success can be the deciding factor between being hired and being skipped over entirely by the hiring manager.

How to Organize a Resume for an Administrative Assistant Position

There are many different ways to organize a resume. Still, in spite of the diversity, there are a few elements that should always be present.

Header

All resumes begin with a header. This is a simple section that provides your name and basic information in this order:

  • Your name.
  • Your physical address.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • Any applicable contact links, such as your LinkedIn url.

Make sure your header is at the top of the page and either left-aligned or centered.

Introduction

After the header, it’s customary to include a brief introduction outlining your relevant career goals, experience, and any skills that are particularly worth mentioning.

For instance, it’s worth highlighting the fact that you worked as the administrator of a large corporate office for the past six years in an introduction. You can also provide a brief hook such as, “I am looking to move forward in my career and find a new challenge,” to draw a recruiter’s interest.

This section should be titled something like “Career Objective” or “About Me” — not “Introduction” — and should only be a few sentences long.

Skills

While education and experience are important, the skills section is where an administrative assistant can shine. The position typically requires a host of different hard skills and soft skills, all of which must be flawlessly executed in order to keep everything from grinding to a halt.

When listing your skills, group hard skills and soft skills together into two different sections or subsections. Make sure to tailor the list in order to make it as applicable to the specific position and job description as possible.

Common hard skills that can be added to a professional administrative assistant resume include:

  • English composition skills — as well as multilingual capabilities, if any.
  • Microsoft Office and G Suite capabilities.
  • Web-savvy capabilities.
  • Research skills.
  • Administrative support proficiency.
  • Billing and invoice processing proficiency.
  • Ability to handle sensitive or proprietary information.
  • Travel coordination skills.

Soft skills that are particularly good for administrative assistants to have on their resumes include:

  • Adaptability.
  • Organization.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Communication.
  • Collaboration.
  • A strong work ethic.
  • Interpersonal skills.

List your skills in a vertical list format. Consider using bullet points for clarity.

Experience

Experience is another vital area of a professional administrative assistant resume, as it can often set you apart from other candidates. Under the experience section, provide a subheader for each individual experience. Then break each one down in the following way:

  • The company name.
  • Your job title.
  • When you worked the position.
  • A handful of applicable achievements.

List your experiences in reverse order, beginning with the most recent. Use bullet points to organize your accomplishments and don’t be afraid to be specific. Rather than simply explaining your responsibilities, provide statistics and data that demonstrate your success.

Education

While education isn’t a crucial element of an administrative assistant position, it’s still worth including. Educational achievements demonstrate your work ethic and commitment. For each postsecondary educational item, create a subheading and then break things down in this order:

  • Name of the institution you attended.
  • Name of the degree or certification.
  • School location.
  • The years you attended school.

References

If you have references you wish to include, don’t add them to your resume. Shoehorning a string of names and personal information onto the bottom of the form can look unprofessional.

Instead, create a separate document and list each reference as follows:

  • Their name.
  • Job title.
  • Company.
  • Phone number.
  • Email address.
  • Physical address.

When selecting your references, consider utilizing your professional network. Professors, past employers, and even coworkers can be good candidates for a reference. Try to avoid family and friends, though, as this comes across as unprofessional.

Administrative Assistant Resume Writing Tips

Along with the essentials listed above, here are a few other professional administrative assistant resume writing tips:

  • Focus on experiences, examples, skills, and education that are relevant to each job description: For instance, don’t spend time talking about your managerial skills when applying for a job as an office receptionist. Instead, point out your success working in a similar position at another office.
  • Make sure to stay consistent and concise throughout your resume: Don’t shift your tone as you write. Stay crisp, clean, and professional. Avoid rabbit trails or excess verbiage.
  • Include powerful action verbs to spice things up: Action verbs can help your resume pop. Good action verbs for a professional administrative assistant resume include “organize,” “oversee,” “record,” “schedule,” “coordinate,” “distribute,” “arrange,” and “assist.”
  • Consider using a template if you’re stuck: A template can be a great way to get the creativity flowing. However, make sure to avoid being overly generic. Tailor the template to your own unique information as much as possible.
  • Use keywords from the job description: If the job description says the employer is looking for an “organized” individual with good “communication skills,” make sure to integrate these terms into your resume. You’ll have a better chance of standing out, and it can help your resume get past any automated applicant tracking (ATS) software during the hiring process.

Sample Administrative Assistant Resume

If you’re still uncertain about where to start, don’t worry. Below is a basic professional administrative assistant resume template. Copy and paste this into a blank document and then fill it out with your own information.

[First and last name.]
[Physical address.]
[Phone number.]
[Email address.]
[Applicable links.]

[Your introduction — titled “About Me” or “Career Objective.” Open up with one to two sentences highlighting the most relevant information on your resume and possibly including a brief hook.]

SKILLS

[List your hard and soft skills. Use bullet points and integrate keywords from the job description whenever you can.]

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

[List your previous professional experiences in this section by using the formatting below:

  • Company name.
  • Job title.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Relevant achievements.]

EDUCATION

[List your education and certifications using the formatting below:

  • Institution.
  • Degree or certification.
  • Location.
  • Dates attended.]

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