Secretary Examples, Skills and Keywords
When you're applying for a secretary position, a strong resume makes the difference. You can write a resume that gets results when you understand what employers need. Read more to learn what to include in your resume and how to structure it effectively.Optimize Your Resume Build a New Resume
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5 Resume Writing Tips for Secretaries
Once you have identified the secretary skills and experience you want to highlight in your resume, you can build your application with these five tips.
1. Start off strong
When you’re using traditional resume structures, the first paragraph after your contact information and name is known as your resume summary. A great secretary resume begins with a strong summary that explains the applicant’s work experience and important skills. You may also add a resume objective, which explains what you want out of the position.
One example of an excellent secretary resume summary would be, “Experienced secretary focused on leveraging communication and document creation skills at Brown Co. 8+ years of secretarial experience includes supporting three administrators, implementing new communication methods, and reducing paper use by 85%.”
This summary does two things. First, it explains how long the secretary has been in the industry, showing that they know how things work. Second, it gives specific examples of how they helped their past employers, which shows how they could solve future employers’ problems.
2. Be specific
While listing your previous jobs, be direct. List specific duties and tasks wherever possible. “Wrote emails” can be replaced with “Responded to client communications,” for example. Being clear about your secretary resume skills gives the reader a better understanding of what you actually did.
You should also use hard numbers if you can. Many elements of modern business record success in quantifiable metrics. If you improved efficiency or reduced paperwork, list that improvement with a number. “Cut response times by 50%” is more compelling than “improved response rates.” Using numerals instead of written-out words also helps your accomplishments stand out from the rest of your resume.
3. Include a secretary resume skills section
Many hiring teams are going to skim most of the resumes they receive. Make your resume skim-friendly by adding a section dedicated to your skills. This lets you focus on the exact skills and keywords you want to emphasize, like “organization” and “detail-oriented.” Hiring teams can also check your skills section if they need a candidate who understands a specific program.
Skills sections are also an excellent way to target additional keywords that may be important to filtering systems. You may not feel like your ability to use Microsoft Office tools is worth highlighting in the responsibilities or accomplishments of any individual position you’ve had. Instead, list it under your skills subheading to make sure it’s included.
4. Separate certifications from education
There are several certifications you can get for secretary positions. If you have any of these, you can put them in their own section. This is especially useful if secretarial work isn’t your first career, because it shows you’re dedicated to the field. If you have certificates in multiple areas, list the ones that are relevant to secretary positions over those that aren’t.
You should also list your certificates in reverse chronological order. This puts your most recent skills and accomplishments at the top, where readers will see them first. If you’ve been getting certificates for several years, this order puts the spotlight on your most advanced qualifications instead of your oldest.
5. Showcase your communication skills
Secretaries handle so much communication and so many documents that excellent communication skills are essential. You have the perfect opportunity to demonstrate these skills with your resume. There are two important ways you can accomplish this.
First, use active voice and avoid generic terms. Instead of saying you “took part” in a meeting, you can explain what you did. “Recorded minutes” or “scheduled meetings” are good, and “designed and coordinated departmental events” is even better. The reader should instantly understand what you did and how it applies to the job they’re looking to fill. That’s a sign that you can write clearly and well.
Second, proofread your resume several times, and have a friend check it for you if you have time. Typos and mistakes can be a strike against you for secretarial positions. If your resume is error-free, it shows you can produce documents to a high standard.