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Before you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, take a look at a few administration resume samples online to get an idea of the best format to use, what information to include, and how best to present it. You’ll see resumes for a variety of positions in the field, including receptionists, clerks, and secretaries, many of which can give you an indication of how to show your growth, increased abilities, and crossover skills.
The one thing all of these positions have in common is that they generally make someone else’s job easier. And in that vein, the guide below will do the same for you. As you read further you’ll find tips to make your resume come to life on the page and advice on mistakes to avoid.
What to Include in an Administration Resume
If you’re preparing your resume to apply for an open administrative assistant position, and that’s where your past experience lies, your resume should be fairly basic in its construction. If, however, you’re trying to progress in your field or make a career change, you may want to highlight your accomplishments that signify your readiness. As you review administration resume samples, you’ll notice that, while there are some differences in presentation, there are basic sections to any resume. They are:
- Contact information (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Work experience
The above mentioned sections are used in the most common resume format known as the chronological resume. This format focuses on the work experience section, lists previous jobs with the most recent position first, and includes 3-6 bullet points that highlight achievements that made a difference in efficiency, accuracy, or the bottom line.
For those who are considering a career change, say, from human resources to manufacturing and supply, a functional resume format provides the opportunity to focus on cross-over skills and accomplishments that are welcome in any department. To accommodate this change in focus, a new section called “Accomplishments” should be added. With the expanded detail in the new section, the work experience section will be less detailed and more like a list of previous jobs. In a functional resume, the basic sections are:
- Contact information (name/phone/email)
- Resume summary
- Accomplishments (new section)
- Work experience
Before you begin to write your resume, consider if you’re progressing along in your field, or if you believe your skills and talents can take you onto a different career path.
How to Write the Administration Resume Summary Statement
Since the resume summary statement is the first thing a potential employer reads, you should assign a great deal of importance to how well it’s written. If you don’t make an impressive yet brief introduction of yourself and your qualifications, the rest of your resume could remain unread.
Try to describe yourself, your accomplishments, and your value in 2-3 concise sentences. If you claim strong written communication skills, now is the time to use them. As friendly as the first person-person voice may feel, save it for your cover letter. Your resume is a more formal document, so avoid pronouns like “I,” “me,” and “we.”
If your goal is a career change into the appointed industry, you can still present yourself as the candidate the hiring manager is looking for. Don’t lock yourself into your previous industry by identifying your previous employers by business enterprise. For example, if you’ve worked as a medical records clerk but you’re applying for a human resources assistant position, refer to your previous employers using neutral terms, like the corporation. Highlight the skills and requirements that the potential employer listed in the job description and that they will see as valuable in their setting.
By examining the summaries in the administration resume samples you’ve found, you should get a feel for the tone as well as how to represent your qualifications. Below are two examples for your review:
Administrative assistant with 12 years experience and increasing responsibility. Created spreadsheet record of company sales that identified both strengths and weakness of the sales force, enabling additional focus in needed areas and increased overall sales of 8 percent. Formed positive relationships with other department contacts, drafted correspondence for the entire sales force, and worked with the marketing department on sales collateral.
Seasoned administrative assistant with experience in human resources and manufacturing and supply. In HR, devised a program to ensure training program attendees’ personnel files included course completion certificates, providing a more complete picture of the employee’s competence. In M&S, compiled reports from various sites into a graphic representation of production to clearly indicate under-producing sites for attention.
How to Write the Administration Education Section
The format of your education section should be basic and easy to read. Create a list of your educational achievements that includes three pieces of information for each: the school attended, the school’s location, and the degree or certificate obtained. Your highest level of educational achievement should be listed first, and if you’re currently in the process of a certificate or associate’s degree program, that should be listed as well and identified as “in progress.”
The very broad job category of administrative assistant includes a wide range of industries with varying educational requirements. Refer to administration resume samples and the specific job description you’re applying for to see the type of education required.
Post-secondary vocational programs can enhance your resume and increase your chances of getting an interview. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer programs in office administration, legal, and medical secretary training programs, and associate’s degrees in any business area of study will improve your chances as well.
You may want to create a sub-heading for memberships in industry related organizations like The American Society of Administrative Professionals. If you’re not a member of one of these groups, do some research and consider joining one. It looks good on your resume and will likely help your career in other ways.
How to Write the Administration Work Experience Section
The work experience section will differ depending on your decision to write either a chronological or functional resume.
As was stated earlier, in the chronological style, the details of your achievements at each position are listed under that specific job heading. In 3-6 concisely written bullet points, indicate how your particular skills resulted in positive results for your department or the company as a whole. The key is to be quantitative. Adjectives like “hard working” and “dedicated” are nice to hear, but they’ve lost their meaning. If you can state that you identified errors in budget reporting that resulted in cost-savings, you’ll get the hiring manager’s attention. If you negotiated with suppliers of office supplies to cut costs, say so. If you know the numbers, state them.
The functional style resume has the additional section called Accomplishments, and it is in this section that most of your work experience will be mentioned. Here, you’ll be able to single out specific achievements for attention without the clutter of listing your previous jobs and unrelated skills, especially if your goal is a career change. Identify the qualification requirements in the job description and mirror what the employer needs. As you write this section, view it through the potential employer’s eyes and let them see you as the perfect candidate.
In both styles of resume, it’s important to focus on specific achievements that benefited the company in a measurable way. Go back to the administration resume samples to see how each type is written and which best suits your employment goals.
Action Verbs to Include in Your Administration Work Experience Section
As you describe your work experience, try to move beyond the same old general adjectives. Use action verbs that will let the potential employer visualize you doing the job. Following are a number of action verbs you can consider using:
A quick scan of administration resume samples for more action verbs will help you describe your accomplishments in a way that a potential employer can relate to.
How to Write the Administration Skills Section
Before you list your skills, make sure you know what the employer needs. Check the job description, and if you can claim any of their required skills as your own, list them first. Check administration resume samples for formatting suggestions.
Often, both soft and hard skills are necessary in an administrative assistant, and depending on your work history, you might even want to create two sub-headings to indicate your strengths in both areas.
Computer skills are critical, and the more software you have familiarity with, the better your look. The basics of MS Office are a given, but excellence with spreadsheet creation or presentation software are prized. The use of online calendars for multiple executives is common, and electronic messaging gets more complex as time goes by, so any experience in those areas should be mentioned.
As an administrative assistant, mastering the soft skills means you can be the face of your department to the rest of the company, allowing contact with others to be positive. If you deal with suppliers or clients, the positivity goes a long way towards relationships that, in the end, have a financial impact.
If you’re not sure how to format your skills section, a review of the administration resume samples should provide a guideline that suits your style.
Should I Include References in my Administration Resume
You won’t see references listed on any administration resume samples, but you will likely see the statement that they’re available upon request. You should have three to four references that include at least two previous managers or supervisors, other managers with whom you developed a strong working relationship, and a co-worker to fill out the list.
By providing them upon request, you’ll know when the employer is genuinely interested in you, you can give your references a heads-up to be expecting a call, and you can ask them to let you know what questions were asked.
Administration Resume Fails: Mistakes to Avoid
- You may have listed certain graphics software under your skills section, but your resume is not the place to get fancy. Many companies use applicant tracking software that is easily confused by graphics, imbedded tables, and even headers and footers. If you want your resume to make it through the system and into the hands of the hiring manager, keep it simple.
- Don’t overlook the importance of keywords used in the job description. Those are the words the applicant tracking system will be looking for, so, once again, it becomes important to mirror their requirements in similar terms.
- If you’re a seasoned professional, be aware that listing every job you’ve ever had, even if it’s good experience, could create age discrimination that you’d never be aware of. If you have 40 years of experience, only the most recent 15-20 years are relevant.
- No matter how you may feel about a previous employer, if your feelings are negative, keep them to yourself. A potential employer will see you as an oppositional influence and you’ll be out of the running.