A Guide to Secretary Resume [+ Examples and Cover Letter Tips]

secretary resume examples
Created by CakeResume

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 CV and a 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, the word "resume" is preferred. On the other hand, in Europe, South American, or Africa, the word "CV "is more common.

Since a resume is more for a general job-hunting, we will go through this article with the term "secretary resume".

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.

You can learn how to write a cover letter for secretary position with CakeResume.

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:

  • Linkedin
  • 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

  • Headline example for an executive secretary resume:
    
    3-Year Proactive Secretary Specialized in Time Management and Schedule Planning
  • Resume headline example for company secretary as a fresher:
    
    MBA Graduate who Displays a Strong Personal Commitment and is Skilled in MS Office and Fast Typing

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. 

Summary example for a unit secretary resume:

  • Communicative secretary with great attention to detail. Currently seeking a position as a unit secretary at Hope hospital to utilize my interpersonal and file organization skills to enhance your hospital’s efficiency. Received Best Employee in 2019.

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. 

Career objective example for a school secretary resume:

  • Patient Education graduate who would like to apply the knowledge and skills to a prestigious organization like Green Public School. Received 4 times Presidential Award during my college period.

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.

Example of a secretary resume skills section:

📌 Hard Skills

  • MS Office Suite
  • Typing speed (words per minute)
  • Schedule planning
  • Writing and recording skills
  • Ability to use database software

📌 Soft Skills

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Close attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • File-organization 
  • Time-management 

 📃 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.

Example of the work experience section for a company secretary resume:

Secretary, Sep 2019 - Present
Powerest Corp., Chicago                                                                                                        

  • Used MS Office to create spreadsheets, record memos, and present visualized reports to the executives 
  • Scheduled daily appointments for senior managers and meetings for employees, which received Employee of the Month in Jan 2020 
  • Organized 20+ events and cooperated with Marketing and HR teams

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
  • Degree
  • Majors & minors
  • Year of graduation (or the expected graduate year)
  • Honors & awards

It is optional to add:

  • GPA
  • 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)

Thus, you can still prove your capability even if you have no relevant experience! Simply use these tips and build a convincing secretary resume with CakeResume for free! CakeResume is the best resume builder that provides you with countless free resume templates.

How to write a secretary cover letter?

A one-page secretary cover letter should have the following contents:

1. Contact Information
We will tell the receiver who we are in our secretary resumes,  so as in our cover letters. It is necessary to include your full name, email address, and phone number. You can add your Linkedin and CakeResume links as well.

2. Greeting

Say hello to the hiring manager with his/her name! Search on Linkedin for the right title. However, if you are uncertain or afraid of making any mistake, it is better to start with, “Dear hiring manager, …

3. Motivation to that secretary position
Many recruiters would like to hear from candidates why they want to apply for the companies’ secretary positions. Thus this part is for you to demonstrate your ambition and understanding about the hiring company.

4. Qualification
What recruiters also desire to know is why they have to choose you. Thus, qualification is the central part of your secretary cover letter. It is unnecessary to write all of your achievements, simply select the most distinguishing experiences to specify the value you can bring to the company. (click here to see examples)

5. Closing
At the end of your secretary cover letter, it is polite to appreciate recruiters for their time and consideration. Additionally, do not forget to use formal letter closings such as “Sincerely,” “Faithfully," or “Best regards,” and sign your name.

Secretary resume sample

Becky Hadley

3-Year-Experience Secretary with Multitasking and Organizational Skills

Mobile: (617)561-7358
Address: Boston, U.S.
Email: [email protected] 
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/beckyhadley

Resume Summary

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.

Work Experience

Secretary
Valory Corp.

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

School Secretary
Grandview Institute

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

Skills

  • 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
  • Spanish

Education

Medgar Evers College
BS in Public Administration 
2011 - 2015 

--- Originally written by Angela Ye --- 

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