How to Write a Resume in 6 Easy Steps

A hand writing a list of things to include on a resume an interview and a cup of coffee

Resume trends evolve quickly. So whether you're searching for a new job or just want to keep your resume fresh, some key additions can give you an edge. Use these six tips on how to write a resume to show why you're an administrative professional worth hiring:

1. Start with a summary

Older-style resumes typically started by spelling out the type of job you're seeking. But now, hiring managers expect to see a short, snappy paragraph, briefly summarizing who you are and what you do best. In other words, you need to answer the question "Why should we hire you?" — using just a few sentences. And make sure you include your most relevant qualifications for the role.

2. Showcase your soft skills

When writing your resume, remember that soft skills are critical to your success as an administrative professional. So highlight traits like communicating effectively, being organized and maintaining a positive attitude, even during times of stress.

Your resume should also provide examples of how you've previously put these skills to good use. For instance, you might summarize how you used organizational and communication skills to plan a large event. That means including meaningful details about your responsibilities, such as working with 20 vendors, arranging travel for 50 individuals and coordinating on-site details. Then clearly point out the benefit to your employer — for example, that your work helped generate 100 sales leads for your company.

3. Highlight your technical knowledge

Next, you need to know how to write a resume that showcases your software skills. According to the OfficeTeam Salary Guide, being tech savvy is essential for administrative professionals. And familiarity with Microsoft Office applications and social media platforms is especially important. So your resume should clearly demonstrate your proficiency in these areas, along with any scheduling, project management or proprietary software you've used.

For example, make clear that you have working knowledge of these types of applications. Point out that you're committed to ongoing development of your technical skills through training and certification programs. And include any significant research experience you have, along with a brief explanation of how it contributed to the success of a past project. It may seem like a given, but good Internet research abilities are an asset to any employer.

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4. Demonstrate how you've added value

When listing your past duties and accomplishments, take a "result-driven" approach. That means including meaningful details about how you benefited a project or the company. To illustrate your results, use as much quantifiable data as possible and give specific examples. For instance, instead of simply saying "processed expense reports," you can show the value of your work by including the following kinds of details: "Processed 60 expense reports per month for 10 individuals. Researched and implemented expense reporting software that saved users an average of 5 hours per month and reduced accounting errors by 10 percent."

Learning how to write a resume using a results-driven approach may be one of the best career investments you'll ever make.

5. Show off specialized skills and knowledge

Don't list all your hobbies or personal interests on your resume. But if one is relevant to the position or is noteworthy in other ways, be sure to include it. Specialized experiences or skills, such as foreign language fluency or extensive travel, could also give you an edge — especially if the employer has international operations or a diverse workforce.

6. Include keywords

Many companies scan resumes looking for the keywords they've used in their job postings. So here's how to write a resume that helps you make it through their initial review: The key is to use words and phrases that match their job listing exactly. For example, if an employer is looking for an applicant with experience "maintaining executives' calendars." Then, use precisely the same wording in your resume, instead of a phrase like "keeping track of schedules." By doing so, you also demonstrate that you pay attention to detail — and that you understand how to write a resume tailored to the specific job.

As the need for administrative talent grows, employers want to hire support staff who can make an immediate impact. The right applicants will understand their industry and have a track record of showing initiative. Your resume is the first step in proving that you fit the bill.

Now that you know how to write a resume, get cover letter examples that you can use to create a compelling companion to your resume.

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