Most resumes have the same type of information, but just including a generic list of your education, experience and skills won’t get you an interview for an executive assistant job. Learning how to format a resume that includes your unique skill set and experiences is the best way to get your foot in the door.
How to Format an Executive Assistant Resume
Think of your resume as one of the sales circulars in the Sunday paper. The customer browsing all those ads is a potential employer, and the ads are all the resumes of people who want a job. You want the customer to pick your ad, so it needs to have the right look and wording to get the employer’s attention. You do that with a resume formatted specifically to fit your abilities.
1. Decide on a format. Of the resume format options available, the combination/hybrid is better suited for a job of executive assistant if you’re changing careers, if you’ve been in the same type of job your entire career or if you have little work experience. This format is part chronological and part functional. Chronological formats include a reverse listing of work experience, starting with your most recent job and are the default recommended option.
2. Decide which sections to include. In addition to education, experience, summary statement and contact information, you may include accomplishments and awards, professional memberships and affiliations and licenses and certifications. If it is relevant to the position and will help you get the job, include it. For example, certification through the International Association of Administrative Professionals requires you to pass a test and have up to four years of experience. While it is likely not required to get an executive assistant position, a potential employer may see this as dedication to your profession and consider you for the job.
3. Decide the order of your sections. Learning how to format a resume includes deciding which section a hiring manager should see first. For example, a recent graduate may put education up front because of a lack of experience. For an executive assistant position, list your contact information, summary statement, work experience and education, followed by other sections such as certification and licenses.
4. Decide what to include in each section. For example, your contact information should include your name, phone number and email address but not your date of birth and other personal information. The summary statement is a short paragraph that says in so many words, “Hire be because…” Make it great by including a few of your skills, a short summary of your experience and a bit about any personality traits that help you on the job. When listing your work experience, include your relevant skills, your important on-the-job accomplishments and things you did to set yourself apart from other employees. Don’t exaggerate, but definitely show how valuable you are as an employee.
5. Decide what not to include in your resume. This is an important part of learning how to format a resume because including the wrong things could sabotage your chances of getting hired. Color is usually not helpful, so stick to black and white. Don’t offer references; potential employers who want your references will ask you for them. A resume is not the place to include salary expectations, so don’t include them. Also, leave off photos and anything that is controversial, political or religious.
When you think about the number of people looking for work and how many of them are trying to get the same job you’re applying for, it makes perfect sense to put extra effort into learning how to format a resume. You can find great tips and suggestions on how to update a resume on the LiveCareer website.