For the higher level executive secretaries, they did all the above in addition to taking Meeting Minutes, coordinating travel arrangements and transcribing dictation. These secretaries typically were the right hand assistant to one boss; usually the head of the department.
Today’s administrative assistant does all of the above and a lot more. This includes setting up video conferences, preparing complex documents such as Excel-based Travel and Expense reports, MS Word mail merges and PowerPoint slide show presentations.
Technology has changed everything. An administrative assistant can easily research the cheapest airfares and book flights and hotel rooms online. This is a huge timesaver and eliminates the need for using those big thick OAG Travel books or depending on a corporate travel agency.
All of these conveniences make it easy to multitask even more and to provide administrative support to as many as ten or more managers in addition to the department head.
There are still the exclusive positions in which an administrative assistant would report to only one executive, but that is usually for the very high-ranking executive who sits in the Executive Suite of a Fortune 500 Company and cannot share his or her secretary. This is both for prestige and confidentiality reasons.
So how does today’s administrative assistant reflect all of these responsibilities in a resume? The best format to use is the combination format to show how well rounded he or she is.
First, you would start with a standard chronological format. The trick is to look at each sentence and determine the appropriate category this information would best fall under. Those categories will be listed as sub-categories under each respective position.
These categories should reflect the experience at hand, such as, departmental support, administrative assistance, document preparation, travel arrangements, and event coordination.
Create a section that places theses sub-headings in the left column and list the descriptive sentences alongside each one to show what was done under that category. Follow the same formula throughout. If a category by a different name needs to be used that cannot be used under the other positions, that is fine.
In fact, if you choose to use sub-categories that all vary in name, it will add even more interest. Try to get keywords in there. For example, HR Assistance if you are targeting an HR Assistant position.
Last but not least, include a Special Projects section. You can list this section under each position or list it separately as a Special Project Highlights section. Be sure to list special projects from your entire career, not just your last position.
Beyond the experience section, you need to include the all-important Computer Skills section. Just as a hammer is the carpenter’s tool, the computer is the secretary’s tool. Be sure to list the current software programs you know. You do not need to show that you can operate a fax or copier machine. Some technologies are expected. But you will need to show that you are proficient in the software that the position requires, and can take shorthand, if required.
Depending on the position, digital media such as videoconferencing and scanning technology might be required. If the position involves light bookkeeping, it might be a good idea to include your knowledge of accounting software. If you do not have experience in the required programs, take a crash course. It will pay off in the long run.
Whatever you do, be neat and consistent and keep the employer’s needs in mind. Carefully examine the job requirements to get an idea of how the resume should be focused.
About the Author:
High Salaries for Administrative Professionals and an Increase in Demand for Administrative Professionals Expected in 2008