Writing a great resume is part formula, part art. While structure is important and gives you a framework, it takes analysis and finesse to cast your work history in a relevant, attention-grabbing light. If you're looking for a senior support role, your No. 1 goal for an executive assistant resume should be to make sure every aspect of it ties back to the job description.
Keep in mind this is a job with executive in the job title, so if you’re thinking of making the leap from administrative to executive assistant, your resume should show you’ve handled a variety of work situations and solved problems with the ability to provide high-level support. In this role, you’ll focus on one CEO, vice president or senior management team, rather than an entire office.
Here are five questions that will provide you the insight to get started with your executive assistant resume.
1. Where is the overlap?
Print out the executive assistant job description from the job posting. Highlight the key skills and experience the company is seeking. Typically, the duties of an executive assistant involve screening calls, managing calendars, making travel arrangements, coordinating meetings and events, preparing reports, maintaining good customer relations, supervising support staff, and using discretion when dealing with confidential information.
Now print out your current resume and the job description from your most recent position. Review those documents for similar skills and duties and circle them. Where does your work history overlap with the job description? This exercise will help you create a foundation for including the most important information on your resume.
2. Where are the gaps?
Once you've identified the overlaps, you need to address the gaps between the executive assistant job description and your current resume. Are there new skills you need to add from your current position? Have you included some of these skills that companies typically seek in executive assistants?
- Strong computer and research abilities
- Excellence in verbal and written communication
- Project coordination experience
- Ability to work well with all levels of management and staff, as well as clients and vendors
Do you have any hobbies or side projects that demonstrate proficiency in a key area for the new role? Jot down any skills and experience you can add to round out your resume and make a stronger match.
3. What are the keywords?
It's not only essential that your executive assistant resume speaks to the requirements of the position; it's also important that you address your relevant experience using the same words and phrases included in the job description. Using these keywords will give your resume a better chance of making it through the initial evaluation phase, which can involve resume-filtering software. Of course, be careful to use your own voice, and be authentic while incorporating keywords. Submitting a carbon copy of the job description won't get you far.
4. How can you spotlight your most relevant experience?
Although most resumes are organized chronologically by job title, consider other ways of structuring yours. Try to distill the job description down to a handful of overarching duties. Create a new version of your executive assistant resume using those items as headlines, and include a few bullet points listing notable accomplishments under each headline.
For example, you could include headlines like "Event Planning Experience," "Managing Schedules," "Creating Presentations" or "Organizing Travel" — whatever the most critical categories are for the job you seek. Then simply include a separate section listing your job history chronologically from newest to oldest.
This can be an especially helpful structure if you've worked your way up through the ranks at one company or department and took on new job responsibilities while also retaining old ones. Even if you don't submit this version of your resume, it can be a useful tool for eliminating redundancy in a resume that's organized by position.
5. Why are you the best person for the job?
Finally, while every aspect of your resume should answer this question to some degree, your professional summary gives you an opportunity to come right out and say it. This summary is positioned at the top of your resume, but it might be best to tackle it last. Once again, taking cues from the job description, describe your strengths and state why you're tailor-made for the job at hand.
Final tips for your executive assistant resume
These last three tips can be helpful whether you’re crafting your resume, writing a cover letter or preparing for a job interview.
- Do your research and learn as much as you can about the company and the executive you’d be assisting.
- Know what executive assistants can expect to earn. Use the Robert Half Salary Guide to find salary projections for executive assistants in your city.
- Download OfficeTeam's Office of the Future Guide to learn about top traits and attributes shared among the best administrative professionals.
You may be the best person for the job, but you'll need a resume that's strong enough to earn a chance to prove it. Good luck!