How to Write a Resume for an Executive Assistant Position

FT Contributor  | 

If you’re considering becoming an administrative assistant, you’re not alone. In fact, in 2018 nearly four million U.S. employees worked either as a secretary or an administrative assistant. While the industry is technically shrinking, the large number of positions still available means a steady flow of recruits is needed to replenish those who leave existing positions each year.

With a very reasonable median salary of nearly $40,000 per year, a career as an executive assistant can be an attractive prospect for many. However, in order to land a good job as an executive assistant, you must craft a resume that will help you stand out from the crowd and resonate with a potential employer.

How to Organize an Executive Assistant Resume

There isn’t a universal format for a resume. However, there are many widely followed guidelines that can ensure your resume is easily understood by a potential employer:

Header

Always begin your resume with a header. This should be at the top of the document and either left-aligned or centered. Include the following information:

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

If you feel that including your address could hurt your chances for an out-of-state job, simply write “Open to relocation” instead.

Introduction

Open your resume with an introductory paragraph titled “About Me,” “Introduction,” “Objective,” or something else along those lines.

This segment should be no more than three or four sentences long and should focus on highly relevant information. “Spent four years as an administrative assistant for Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh” is worth mentioning. “Graduated high school in 2015” isn’t.

You can also mention your own personal career goals, but only in the context of how they’ll help your potential employer.

Skills

Skills are the bread and butter of an executive assistant’s resume. While experience and education have their place, your talents and abilities are the things that will truly allow you to shine. With that said, the skills section of your resume should include skills such as:

Hard skills:

  • Web/internet literate.
  • Tech-savvy.
  • Microsoft Office.
  • Google Suite.
  • Scheduling.
  • English composition.
  • Multilingual.
  • Travel coordination.

Soft skills:

  • Strong work ethic.
  • Collaboration skills.
  • Active listening.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Organization.
  • Communication skills.

Create two bullet point lists that highlight your hard skills and soft skills.

Experience

While it’s important to highlight your skills, many of these will overlap with other candidates. One way to truly set yourself apart from the competition is by highlighting experiences that make you uniquely qualified for the position you’re applying for.

As mentioned above, if you’ve had a chance to work for a reputable CEO or another leader in the past, bring that up here. If you’ve had experiences that developed your skills and put them to the test, such as a chance to lead others or problem-solve, mention that as well. List each experience as follows:

  • The company or organization’s name.
  • Your job or position’s title.
  • When you worked the position.
  • A handful of applicable achievements from that experience.

Apart from professional experience, also include any extracurricular experiences or time spent volunteering — again, as long as it directly relates to why you’re the perfect fit for the position.

Education

While it may not be crucial, it’s still wise to invoke any remotely applicable education at this point. Anything from a high school diploma to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree should be mentioned. Use the following format:

  • The name of the institution where you attended.
  • The name of the degree or certification.
  • The school’s location.
  • The years you attended school.

In addition, if you have any certifications or training list them as well.

References

If you’re going to include references, do this on a separate document to avoid cluttering your actual resume with a list of names and personal details. List the following information for each reference:

  • Their name.
  • Their job title.
  • The company they work for.
  • Their phone number.
  • Their email address.
  • Their physical address.

As you go about compiling a list of stellar references, make sure to do your best to avoid family and friends. Instead, look for professional references such as old bosses, coworkers, or professors.

Executive Assistant Resume Writing Tips

Here are a few other things to keep in mind besides the basics:

  • Be consistent and direct: Make sure to have a consistent tone, voice, formatting, grammar, and punctuation throughout your resume. You want to come across as organized and professional as possible.
  • Consider using a template: This can be a great way to orient your resume as you get started. Just make sure to flesh it out with your own personal information as you go.
  • Use action verbs: Utilize strong action verbs as you write to add emphasis and power to your resume. Some words to consider include “identify,” “ensure,” “track,” “schedule,” and “arrange.”
  • Include keywords: Look for keywords like “manage” and “coordinate” that are mentioned in the job application text and then include them in your resume.
  • Be detailed and statistical: Whenever possible, include a direct statistic rather than a vague phrase. “Worked as an assistant” is hardly as impressive as “Spent five years as an executive assistant at J.P. Morgan.”

Sample Executive Assistant Resume

If you’re still not sure how to get started, copy and paste the sample below into your own doc and fill it in with your own information:

[Zachary Fisk.]
[444 Incredible Lane
[Little Rock, AR, 72002.]
[555-997-7676.]
[mrfisk@gmail.com.]
[linkedin.com/zach-fisk.]

ABOUT ME

[An organized individual with eight years experience as an executive assistant,  including four years working directly under Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.]

SKILLS

[Hard skills:

  • Web/internet literate.
  • Travel coordination.]

[Soft skills:

  • Strong work ethic.
  • Collaboration skills.]

EXPERIENCE

[Zappos, Las Vegas, NV, Executive Assistant, May 2015 – October 2019.]

  • [Maintain Mr. Hsieh’s personal schedule.]
  • [Meticulously set appointments.]

EDUCATION

  • [Aiken High School, high school diploma, Cincinnati, OH, 2013.]
  • [SUNY Buffalo, Associate’s degree in marketing, Buffalo, NY, 2015.]

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