How to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

How to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

Updated 6 May 2021

Written by Hayley Ashworth

What Is an Administrative Assistant Resume?

An administrative assistant resume is your opportunity to show potential employers that you are perfect for a particular job through targeted experience and education.

At least 70% of those resumes were put through an applicant tracking system (ATS).

This system uses an algorithm to find keywords in your resume that match the job description. So, while you do want your resume to look presentable, the content is what matters most.

An OfficeTeam survey found that 75% of senior managers felt the responsibilities of administrative assistants have increased over the last five years.

64% said that administrative assistants have more promising career growth than five years ago.

The same survey found that administrative assistants save their employers nearly eight hours a week, making you an essential member of the team.

With this expectation, the competition is high.

Statistics show you have just seven seconds to catch the attention of a recruiter, so your resume needs to stand out for all the right reasons.

The top five industries for administrative assistants are:

  • Healthcare and social services
  • Education
  • Government
  • Religious, grant-making and civic organizations
  • Professional, scientific and technology services

These industries all come with their own rules and language. If you have applied for a role in one of these sectors, you may have to complete a task to demonstrate your understanding of the work involved.

What Will an Employer Look for in an Administrative Assistant Resume?

Your resume will need to highlight the specific skills and experience mentioned in the job description.

The employer will be looking for those particular words when checking your resume.

They will also be looking for examples of industry knowledge and essential soft skills.

The role of an administrative assistant includes, but is not limited to:

  • Arranging travel
  • Managing and coordinating diaries
  • Greeting visitors
  • Answering phone calls, email and social media messages
  • Bookkeeping duties
  • Typing documents and maintaining records

Therefore, the recruiter is looking for someone highly organized and personable. You'll need to be flexible with a strong work ethic.

Aesthetically, your resume needs to be elegant and clean. Your resume is a reflection of you, so it needs to be highly presentable.

Key Administrative Assistant Skills

Administrative assistant roles require a wide variety of skills. Some of the main ones are:

How to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

Which Format to Choose

A standard resume is split into three sections. The first highlights your personal details and key skills, while the other two show your education and work experience.

Your resume needs to be elegant, personable, and show confidence and authority.

Some top tips to remember are:

  • Use clear and easy to read fonts in size 11 or 12.
  • Don't cram in as much information as you can. Leave some white space as it gives the reader a chance to rest their eyes and absorb what they have read.
  • Make sure all your data is in reverse-chronological order and only use essential details and words.
  • Leave double spaces between sections.
  • Save your resume as a PDF.

As an administrative assistant, your key skill is organization. Ensure your resume reflects this by only containing necessary information and being a pleasure to read.

How to Write an Administrative Assistant ResumeHow to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

Personal Details

In this section, include your:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Contact number
  • Professional email address

You can also include links to any social media accounts, blogs or your LinkedIn account if they are well-maintained and if you are happy for your potential boss to see them.

For example:

Jane Doe, Administrative Assistant – janedoe@gmail.com – 555-555-5555

There is no need to include your address or location.

If you need to, create a new email account using a professional name. No organization wants to send interview invitations to 'foxyroxy@hotmail.com' or 'neil2223333@icloud.com'.

Administrative Assistant Resume Objective or Resume Summary

Statistics show that each job receives on average around 250 applications.

Your resume summary or objective is a short paragraph telling the recruiter you have the relevant skills and experience.

With only seven seconds to make an impact, this paragraph should be specific. Think of it as your elevator pitch.

Use a resume summary if you have relevant work experience. A resume objective is best if you are new to the field.

Resume summary example:

Technology-savvy and goal-oriented senior administrative assistant with a bachelor's in business and management. Strong communication skills, with a proven record of getting things done. Over four years’ experience managing two executive schedules.

Objective example:

Business administration graduate with proven planning, organizational and communication skills. Seeking a position as an administrative assistant to support business needs.

Try not to be too generic with your introduction. It is your one chance to show what you can do for the organization you are applying for, and why they should choose you over other applicants.

Work Experience

Starting with the most recent, present your experience as follows:

  • Position name
  • Dates
  • Company
  • Responsibilities and achievements

If this is your first role as an administrative assistant, you are probably applying for an entry-level position. If this is the case, the recruiter will not be looking for work experience in the traditional sense, but rather, experience in general.

Use this section to detail:

  • Voluntary work where your tasks used the same skill set as the job description
  • If you fulfilled an administrative role in any clubs that you are part of
  • Internships

For example:

Executive administrative assistant, Bank and Bankers, New York (December 2017 – June 2020)

  • Developed associations that save the company $5,000 per year on travel.
  • Trusted with a yearly budget of $2,000,000 to ensure executives' work schedules ran smoothly.
  • Trained two junior administrative assistants in preparation for senior roles.

Qualifications and Education

A high-school diploma is more than enough for entry-level administrative assistant jobs.

However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that companies prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree for executive administrative roles.

Present your education information as follows:

  • Degree type and major
  • University and location
  • Years studied
  • GPA, awards and standout courses

For example:

BA Business Administration, NYU, New York (2007–2010)

  • GPA 3.0
  • Part of the editorial team for the school newspaper
  • Courses included: Database Management, Accounting, Writing for Business

Awards and Certification

Any extra awards or certificates that you were awarded should be mentioned here.

If you are a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) or hold one of their certifications, you should mention it.

Hobbies, Interests and Projects

What you do in your spare time has nothing to do with the job description and should not impact you getting a job. But sharing a bit about yourself lets the employer know if you are someone they would want to work with.

As an administrative assistant, you will be working closely with your employer. They will want to know that you are not just an administrative robot.

It only needs to be a brief bullet-pointed section. Mention three to five hobbies that compliment or are relevant to your application.

If your favorite hobby is birdwatching, write it down. Not only does it tell your recruiter that you are an incredibly patient person, but it also shows you have attention to detail.

These little details let HR know more about your personality and what your strengths may be. It also gives them conversation-starters or ice-breakers for your interview.

What if This is Your First Administrative Assistant Job?

Whether you are a graduate or someone making a career change, the roles you apply for will no doubt be entry-level.

As an entry-level applicant, you will not be expected to have a wealth of experience on your resume. However, there are ways to fill it out if you feel this section is lacking:

  • If you are a graduate or college student, take advantage of any on-campus or extracurricular activities that will help with your experience.
  • Outside of the school network, take on administrative roles within your clubs or societies. Can you call yourself a treasurer of your club? Can you arrange community events?
  • If you have the time, could you freelance or side-hustle as a virtual assistant? Not only can you earn some extra money, but it will also give you the experience and references that you need.
  • Join Facebook groups dedicated to female entrepreneurs (if this is you) or digital nomads to find these roles.
  • For those making a career change, you should also consider your previous experience for transferable skills.
  • Think about apps and programs you can use. You are probably familiar with Microsoft Word, maybe others.
  • At some point, you would have had a budget to manage, whether your personal one or someone else's. Note this down.
  • For any skills you think you may be lacking, take a course. For example, if spreadsheets are to be used for some of your daily tasks, then taking a short course in Microsoft Excel will show your determination.

Key Tips for Creating a Standout Resume

  1. Use action words such as ‘coordinated’, ‘headed’, ‘implemented’, ‘expedited’, ‘enhanced’, ‘guided’, ‘gained’.
  2. Coordinate your resume to match the company's branding. It builds an association between you and them.
  3. Keep it clean and concise. You do not need to detail every success you've ever had – stick to those that directly relate to the role in question.
  4. Research the company's values and demonstrate they are yours also. For example, if you are charitable, list the organizations you volunteer for.
  5. Include keywords and phrases from the job description.
  6. Quantify your accomplishments. By how much percent did you improve productivity? What was the value of the budget?
  7. Proofread your resume before submitting it.
  8. Make sure it complements your administrative assistant cover letter.
  9. Take the time to get it right.
  10. Have a mentor or career counselor look over it for ways to improve.

Final Thoughts

Whether it is your first job application or one of many, applying for a new job role can be stressful, especially if it is a role you really want.

Take the time to research the company and the language they use. Try and build as many connections as possible through keywords and phrases.

Don't be afraid to show off your strengths. But make sure you have the evidence to prove each of your claims.

Finally, believe in yourself. Confidence is contagious. If you feel good about your achievements while writing your resume, the person reading it will feel the same.

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