According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, although the demand for secretary talents (also called “personal assistant”) has declined gradually since 2019 due to the growth of personal assistant apps and technology, there are still a considerable number of secretary job openings in the United State. Therefore, if one wants to apply for a secretary position, there are still plenty of chances.
Before getting into how to write a resume for a secretary position, we first explain the difference between a secretary and a receptionist. To put it simply, the duties of a secretary are much broader than those of a receptionist. A secretary is responsible for the company’s whole clerical process, such as arranging meetings, typing documents, filing and answering the phone, etc. As for a receptionist, the primary duty is to greet people when they come to the office and answer the phone.
Now, is it time to write a resume of a personal assistant? Yes...but wait! To create an outstanding personal assistant resume, here is a critical principle one should know: always stick to what the company wants for this position and omit redundant information. A concise and well-structured secretary resume can significantly distinguish an applicant from others within a short time.
How to write a secretary resume?
Step 1: Learn the differences between a secretary CV and a secretary Resume.
Learn the differences between a secretary CV and a secretary resume. Whether to use a Curriculum Vitae (CV) or a resume depends on your ideal secretary job’s location and industry. For example, if the secretary position is in the U.S., Canada, India, or Australia, a resume is preferred. On the other hand, in Europe, South American, or Africa, a CV is more common. Moreover, when the application is for the academic, medical, or science fields, a secretary CV is frequently used.
Since a resume is more for a general job-hunting, we will go through the secretary resume writing in this article.
With this basic understanding, you may decide which one to use.
If you are going to write a secretary CV:
- Include your professional experience in detail
- It is acceptable to be longer than 2 pages
If you are going to write a secretary resume:
- Include only the relevant experience about the specific secretary job
- It should not exceed 2 pages
Step 2: Choose the right secretary resume format.
Typically, a reverse chronological resume format is the most prevalent one. If you are uncertain which resume format to adopt, try to use this one. There are another 3 types of resume formats to consider: functional, hybrid, and targeted resume formats. If you are writing a resume for a secretary but with no experience, a hybrid resume format may be more suitable.
Step 3: Search for secretary resume examples and templates online as references.
Reviewing other professional resumes can be quite helpful. Thus, you can search for online secretary resume examples to get inspiration.
Take a look at some awesome secretary resume templates to get inspired!
Step 4: Tailor your secretary resume specific to the position.
Although job requirements will overlap between different secretary positions, tailoring every of your secretary resumes is still needed. Hiring managers will be impressed by a resume that aligns with their companies’ cultures.
Step 5: Craft a secretary cover letter.
Preparing a good cover letter allows recruiters to understand you better. In the application letter for secretary, it is fundamental to show your motivation and qualification for the secretary position
Step 6: Proofread your secretary resume and secretary cover letter.
Proofreading is an integral part of resume writing, but many people tend to neglect it. A competent secretary will make no mistake even though there are hundreds of documents; hence, to become the most qualified candidate, it is better to have an error-free secretary resume to prove your detail-oriented skills.
What to put on a resume for a secretary?
1. Secretary Resume Profile (Personal Information)
This is a “hello” part of your secretary resume.
The must-have information:
- Full name
- Professional title (a job title tells hiring managers your professional level)
- Email address (the most crucial contact information)
- Phone number
- Address (unless the company requires the full address, include only city, state, and the country)
You can also add:
- Personal website and blog
- Social media (only if it is relevant to the secretary position)
🚫 Do not include the following information in your secretary resume:
- Current salary
- National insurance number/ Social security number
- Gender, nationality, date of birth (Note that in EU countries, Europass CV is required and will reveal this information)
- Sexual orientation, race, marital status, dependency, and religion or belief (Avoid information that might result in any unnecessary discrimination)
- Photograph (Note that in Singapore, Germany, and Asia, adding photos in a resume is a common practice)
2. Secretary Resume Headline
A headline is the keypoint triggering hiring managers’ interests in a candidate. To create an attractive headline for your secretary resume, you can point out the greatest strength in one sentence. Using some powerful words and phrases can make your headline more convincing. Do not forget to capitalize your secretary resume headline.
3. Secretary Resume Summary
Since employers read each resume in 6 seconds on average, a great secretary resume needs a persuasive summary. If a headline is a hook, then a secretary resume summary further explains your value and competency around 30 to 50 words (it is suggested not to exceed 100 words).
Tips for writing a professional resume summary: select related experience and skills you have in the job description, and add them into your secretary resume summary.
4. Secretary Resume Objective
The format of a career objective is similar to that of a resume summary, but the former tends to focus more on a candidate’s career goals. Therefore, only when you have less experience will you write a secretary resume objective. Otherwise, a resume summary will be more concrete and compelling.
Things to put in a career objective: your positive characteristics, relevant experience & impressive achievements, your career goals, and the hiring company’s name.
5. Secretary Skills for Resume
You may be eager to know: what are secretarial skills? Again, It is strongly recommended to read through job descriptions and pick up your specialized skills.
📃 A simple bullet list is commonly used, but it will be more credible if you further describe the skills you mentioned here in the work experience section. (See another way of listing your secretary resume skills.)
6. Work Experience in a Secretary Resume
Here comes the most decisive part: your professional work experience in your secretary resume.
Firstly, list down your past working experiences related to the secretary position, and include:
- The name of the organization
- Job location
- Role title
- Working period
- 3-5 bullet points outlining the duties and achievements
As for how to vividly describe your professional background, there are some tips we will go through in the next paragraph. Let’s take a look at some secretary resume samples for the work experience section first.
7. Education in a Secretary Resume
The typical education requirement for a secretary is a high school diploma or equivalent degree. However, if you are applying for executive secretary positions, a bachelor’s degree is preferred.
For those who are writing a medical secretary resume, relevant training certifications are necessary since a medical secretary may need to organize medical files and assist physicians or medical scientists in taking dictations or preparing reports.
Typically, the education section will include:
- The name of the school
- Majors & minors
- Year of graduation (or the expected graduate year)
- Honors & awards
It is optional to add:
- Extracurricular activities (to prove your skills such as organizational skills, leadership, communication, etc.)
8. Other Information in a Secretary Resume: Certification
Since a secretary has to arrange piles of documents, understanding how to use MS Office Suite is vital to this position. Besides proving this ability in the work experience section, you can also earn a MOS certification, and put it on your resume of a personal assistant. In this way, it will show hiring managers your clerical skills.
Tips for Writing the Best Personal Assistant Resume
Now, here are the tips you can use in your personal assistant resume, especially for summary and work experience sections.
Tip 1: Customize your resume for the secretary position.
Recruiters always like to receive a personal assistant resume specific to their companies, so customize it! This is also why it is necessary to mention the company’s name in the summary and career objective sections.
Tip 2: Use numbers.
Quantified statements are more concrete to hiring managers. For instance, instead of merely saying “arrange meetings and events,” you can add the exact number of those events.
Tip 3: Craft an ATS-friendly personal assistant resume.
As you may notice, we emphasize much on job descriptions. Having those keywords mentioned in the job descriptions is compelling to recruiters and friendly to Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This software will scan resumes automatically and select those with relevant keywords.
Tip 4: Adopt action verbs to your personal assistant resume.
Word choice in your personal assistant resume can influence how recruiters feel. Action verbs can always strengthen the persuasive effect of your statements.
Tip 5: Connect the similarities between jobs.
Some fresh graduates or job changers may need a resume for a secretary with no experience. Under this situation, connecting the similarities between jobs is a useful technique.
Take an office secretary resume as an example. If a candidate’s previous job was a flight attendant and he/she would like to apply for an office secretary position, he/she can describe his/her work like:
- Coordinated with colleagues to ensure the comfortability and safety of passengers (to emphasize the interpersonal and communication skills)
- Scheduled timeline and executed training program of new cabin crew members (to prove the schedule planning ability)
How to write a secretary cover letter?
A one-page secretary cover letter should have the following contents:
Secretary resume sample
3-Year-Experience Secretary with Multitasking and Organizational Skills
Address: Boston, U.S.
Email: [email protected]
Adaptable secretary who assisted C-suite executives in schedule planning. Seeking a position as an executive secretary at Energy Ltd to apply my clerical skills to facilitate the administrative process. Promoted 2 times within a year.
Feb. 2018 - Present
- Organized accurate files and documents by using MS Office and FileMaker Pro
- Coordinated daily schedule and formal events for C-suite executives
- Sorted out information of conferences to create and present reports
June 2016 - Dec. 2017
- Arranged appointments and meetings for 20 school staff monthly
- Managed both employees’ and students’ disciplinary and attendance records
- Received visitors, answered calls, and replied to letters and emails from parents, the community, and the government
- MS Office Suite (MOS certification)
- WPM: 90
- FileMaker Pro
- English business writing
- Schedule and event planning
- Reception skills
- Digital file and documents organization
- Time-management skills
- Interpersonal skills
Medgar Evers College
BS in Public Administration
2011 - 2015
--- Originally written by Angela Ye ---