The Administrative Assistant Job Description and Your Resume

Two puzzle pieces put together that read, Job Requirements and You

You're a highly qualified administrative assistant in the market for a new job. You've carefully proofread your resume, checked for typos and made sure all the information is correct. Although everything looks perfect down to the last dotted i, there's still one detail you may have overlooked: It's unwise to use the same resume for every administrative assistant job description that interests you.

Employers seek administrative assistants whose qualifications closely match specific requirements listed in the posting. It's unlikely that a one-resume-fits-all-jobs approach will help you stand out among the myriad of applicants vying for the position.

To help your resume pack a more effective punch, emphasize particular skills or experience that align with the needs of the employer. The advantage of this is twofold: Your resume will have a better chance of getting noticed, and, if hired, you'll be working at a job for which you're well suited and will enjoy.

Following are three tips for fine-tuning your resume so it matches the administrative assistant job description:

1. Hone in on what they're looking for

For employers seeking assistants with a wide range of experience, you should emphasize any above-and-beyond skills, such as experience with accounting software or database management. Or, if the administrative assistant job description mentions multitasking, highlight examples of how your organizational skills have helped you tackle heavy workloads with great results.

2. Use a resume format that portrays you in the best light

A reverse chronological format, where you list your most recent work experience first, makes it easy for hiring managers to view your employment history. This is effective if you've held positions of gradually increasing responsibility.

Or you could choose a combination format, which spotlights your skills and accomplishments while giving an abbreviated version of your work history. Suppose an employer is looking for an administrative assistant who takes the initiative instead of waiting for direction. Using a combination format, you can detail instances where you found ways to cut costs or honed your skills to increase productivity at your previous job or jobs.

3. Target keywords

To thin the herd of applicants, many companies use computer programs that scan resumes for keywords listed in the administrative assistant job description. When citing your skills and experience, be sure to include these terms — as long as you're being truthful — to help your resume pass the first screening. For example, if you're applying for a job in the healthcare sector, you'll want to phrase things in a way that shows off any industry-specific skills you possess. Simply saying you have "excellent software skills" is too vague. Stating you're "adept at using industry software, including Centricity and NextGen," is more precise and attention grabbing.

It's easier and faster to use a blanket resume when an administrative assistant job description catches your eye, but it's not the most effective way to get hired. The extra effort it takes to tailor your resume can shorten the amount of time you spend looking for a job.