Improving Your Administrative Assistant Resume Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 9, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As an administrative assistant, you have many critical skills you can highlight on your resume. Identifying and listing these skills can be easy when following specific steps. Learning how to highlight administrative assistant skills on your resume can help recruiters notice you when searching for a job. In this article, we discuss the definition of administrative assistant resume skills, identify examples of various skills, and outline how to improve your administrative assistant resume.

What are administrative assistant resume skills?

Administrative assistant resume skills are specific attributes and abilities that you highlight on your application to show you're a qualified candidate and an excellent fit for an office role. In your administrative assistant resume, you want to include a combination of both hard and soft skills. Hard skills are the technical knowledge and ability to perform the duties of an administrative assistant. In contrast, soft skills highlight the characteristics that make you a good fit for the role and company. A successful resume identifies both skill types.

Related: What's the Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills?

Examples of resume skills for an administrative assistant

As you prepare your resume for administrative assistant positions, you want to highlight the skills needed to perform the duties of the job. A combination of technical skills and personality traits allows the hiring manager to see your potential in the position. Here are several resume skills you can include when preparing your application:

Communication

Communication skills encompass various elements and, as an administrative assistant, you use several forms of communication throughout your daily interactions. Focusing on the following communication skills can help your resume stand out from other candidates:

Active listening

Active listening is the ability to be fully engaged in a conversation with another individual. As an active listener, you give the speaker your complete focus, ask questions to clarify your understanding, and encourage them to continue until they finish their message. Administrative assistants use active listening when dealing with managers or supervisors to understand instructions or directions for a task. You can ask questions to confirm you understand their request or gather more information about a project.

Interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is the ability to interact with others in a team environment with efficiency, respect, and clarity. In an administrative assistant position, you work with many other people, including managers, supervisors, colleagues, and individuals from other departments in the organization. Showing on your resume that you are comfortable interacting with a wide variety of people respectfully can be especially important for high-level administrative assistant positions that deal with company executives. All administrative assistant positions require interpersonal communication skills, as the position typically interacts with many people throughout the day, both within the company and outside the organization.

Related: What is Interpersonal Communication and How Can You Use it in The Workplace

Verbal and written communication

Verbal and written communication is the ability to speak and write clearly and to express your thoughts and ideas through the words you use. Both forms of expression are critical to the success of an administrative assistant. A company often requires many written or verbal functions, such as creating emails, transcribing documents, completing forms, and preparing presentations. In addition, depending on the level of the position, you may speak publically at company staff meetings or provide training to other assistants. Highlighting your verbal and written communication skills on your resume can help a recruiter identify you as a qualified candidate.

Organization

Organization skills comprise several specialized skills that are essential to an administrative assistant position. Highlighting these skills can show a hiring manager you can work independently, productively and efficiently:

Time management

Effective time management is a crucial skill for the success of administrative assistants. As an assistant, you often have many tasks to complete within the position. Managing your time to complete all necessary assignments while meeting critical deadlines is a vital ability. Managers and supervisors feel more comfortable knowing you can handle multiple tasks, stay organized, and finish your work efficiently. Considering sharing on your resume how you have excellent time management skills. For example, highlight time management tools, apps, software or process you enjoy using.

Adaptability

Adaptability is being flexible for anything that comes your way during a workday. Being adaptable means maintaining a calm demeanour and rational thinking when things don't go as planned. You can highlight your flexibility by sharing how you stayed late to finish a crucial project on time or how you developed a new process when the old one no longer worked. Adaptability is staying open to all possibilities and making the most of a situation by accepting change and remaining focused and organized.

Related: 7 Adaptability Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

Physical organization

Physical organization includes how you keep your physical environment in your workspace. This includes files, emails, documents, project notes, and even your desk. When you keep your physical environment organized, it shows a company your dedication to quality and efficiency. An example you can highlight on your administrative assistant resume includes creating an online document storage system that makes files easier to find. Another example is your email inbox management style or your ability to keep project management notes updated and well documented.

Technical skills

Within your administrative assistant resume, you also want to identify vital technical skills the company seeks. A company usually lists specific technical skills inside their job posting, and you can use this information to customize your resume with some of the following skills:

Email and calendar management

As an administrative assistant, an essential skill to master is email and calendar management. While several software programs are available, they are all somewhat similar, with minor differences between them. Understanding how to use email and calendar software is necessary, and being proficient and experienced is even better. Managing your email inbox and calendar appointments can significantly enhance your productivity as an assistant and allow you to control others' calendars effectively. For example, you may oversee your manager's calendar to ensure they don't become double booked or coordinate their business travel.

Word processing and spreadsheet programs

Word processing software is a primary skill required for administrative assistants. Most companies assume candidates know the basics of word processing, so highlighting advanced skills on your resume can help you stand out. You can also include certifications or knowledge of expert functions to show you know more than the fundamentals required of the role. The same is valid for spreadsheet software. While companies expect job applicants to understand the essential functions, you want to identify your skill level as a professional. For example, many companies use spreadsheet software programs to complete advanced formulas, manage databases, or create pivot tables.

ERP software

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, software is an intensive program that houses a company's informational records. ERP software allows various departments to interact by using the same program while creating real-time information. For example, multiple departments that use an ERP system can include accounting, payroll, purchasing, inventory management, and shipping and receiving.

Understanding the basics of using an ERP system can give you an advantage over other candidates who have never used one before. If the job posting specifies a particular program that you're familiar with, be sure to highlight the skill on your resume. This can be a great asset to a company, as it minimizes their training when hiring a new employee.

How to improve a resume with administrative assistant skills

Here are three steps to help you choose the best resume skills to show your administrative assistant experience:

1. Prioritize your top skills

Choose your top six to eight skills that fit your desired position. Identify those skills that you are most qualified in and can highlight confidently on your resume. You want to include a mix of hard and soft skills so that a hiring manager sees you have the technical knowledge and the personality characteristics to fit into the position. There is limited space on your resume, so focus on your most valuable or well-developed skills and save less critical skills to share during an interview.

Related: How to Write an Administrative Assistant Resume in 5 Steps

2. Explain your industry knowledge

While there is minimal space on a resume to go into depth about your industry knowledge, you can create an impact by making sure you describe your qualifications in various areas. Use the space within the work experience section of your resume to provide solid examples of your skills and experience. For example, use power words to describe your duties in previous positions. Another way to do this is to provide quantitative measures, such as improving document completion accuracy by 50% or completing a project two weeks early. Offering real-life examples helps the recruiter understand the depth of your knowledge.

3. Customize your resume to the employer

When writing your resume, you want to customize it for every job application. While you might feel tempted to use a generic resume when applying for administrative assistant jobs, this can prevent your application from ever being seen. Many companies use an automated application system that uses a software program to scan a resume for keywords and phrases. The keywords the program looks for usually come directly from the organization's job description. To increase your chances of making it through the initial computerized screening process, customize your resume by identifying your skills with the keywords from the posting.

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