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No experience? No problem. Use this guide to create an administrative assistant resume that stands out from the rest

No experience? No problem. Use this guide to create an administrative assistant resume that stands out from the rest

The role of the administrative assistant is critical to keeping an office on track and organized. The administrative assistant does everything from answering phone calls and greeting visitors to managing calendars, scheduling meetings, and distributing information throughout the office. When seeking an administrative assistant position, you must have an outstanding resume to stand out from other applicants— especially if this is your first admin role.

Hiring managers want to find somebody with a robust skill set to fill this dynamic position. Here are some tips to help you create an outstanding administrative assistant resume.

What administrative assistants should put on a resume

As you tailor your resume to each company and position, make sure you're highlighting the skills and tasks that you will use. Some administrative assistants have more job duties than others, and employees in each office and industry have different workloads. Filing might have been a small part of your job at your past company, but it could take up significantly more time in your new role.

One of the easiest ways to ensure you're highlighting the skills required by the company you're applying for is to look at the job description itself. For example, suppose the description requires applicants to manage appointments, set up conference rooms for meetings, and vet callers before passing them on to the proper channel. In that case, you could list exactly how you did that on your resume. If they're looking for candidates with solid listening and organization skills, mention how you organized your last office or launched a new filing system. 

You don't have to guess what a company is looking for. They're already telling you, via the job description.

Explain the organizational structures you're familiar with

As a receptionist, you could work with various departments within a company. Front-of-office staff assist people on all levels and departments and are often the first people guests and employees see daily. Meanwhile, executive assistants only work with the CEO, president, or other high-ranking officials to manage their appointments and workload. There's even a section of assistants in between who work within one department as an extra set of hands for several people. Even when multiple assistants have the same job title, their daily tasks could vary greatly.

As you're writing your resume, make sure you mention who you reported to and who you worked for. This will give employers an idea of your level of responsibility and what you're used to. Plus, if you've been the assistant to a Fortune 100 CEO, you're likely to attract the attention of other hiring managers on that level.

"When seeking an administrative assistant position, you must have an outstanding resume to stand out from other applicants— especially if this is your first admin role."

Include a mix of soft and technical skills

The Balance created a helpful list of essential skills for administrative professionals. These include everything from document management and editing to event planning and software training. The sheer variety and depth of the skill set show exactly how varied the role of an assistant can be. As you draft your resume and explain the levels of experience you have, make sure you include a mixture of soft skills as well.

The role of an administrative assistant, virtual assistant, office assistant, or personal assistant requires sharply-honed soft skills and technical ability. For example:

  • When tasked with multiple things to do, how do you prioritize them?
  • How do you solve problems when you can't complete your list?
  • How do you report completed tasks to management?

Your answers to these questions should involve the soft skills of listening, organization, problem-solving, and communication. Without these soft skills, the work doesn't get done, tasks are forgotten, and the CEO has to micromanage the assistant.

Feature your certifications and training

During your career, did your company send you to complete any training or advancement classes? Did you advance your skills on your own time to make you better at the job? If so, include these skills and courses on your resume.

Administrative work is becoming increasingly reliant on software. You may need to maintain Excel spreadsheets, manage calendars or contacts digitally, and use various tools to access contracts and pull reports. If you already have the relevant software training, the team who hires you won't have to set aside time to teach you. Many companies prefer to hire employees with existing skill sets so they can get to work right away instead of working through a learning curve.

If you don't have a strong technical skill set, acquiring one during the job search can help improve your chances. For example, consider signing up for an Excel class at your local library or community college. This will boost your skill set and make up for any lack of experience.

Your resume showcases your work style

As an assistant, your resume is a shining example of what people can expect when they work with you. If your resume is clean, organized, and easy to read, then hiring managers can see that you present information clearly and thoughtfully. However, if your resume appears cluttered and lengthy, they might assume that all your communication and note styles will follow a similar pattern. This is why your resume presentation is particularly important when applying for administrative jobs.

Even without prior experience, you can use these guidelines to create an impressive administrative assistant resume. Once you've made a strong resume and proofed it well, take the next step and upload your resume to CareerBuilder so hiring managers can find you.

More tips and tools for finding your ideal job:

Make it a priority to follow up on every job interview.

Practice answering these common questions ahead of time to be poised and professional throughout the interview.

Use a step-by-step tool like CoLab to build your resume in minutes.