Resume Advice for Administrative Professionals

Writing Your Resume

When describing yourself in a resume there are certain guidelines to follow that will help the reader understand your experience and skills. Adhering to these guidelines is in your best interest since this is where many people make mistakes when writing their own resume. The overall effect of your resume's content should persuade the employer that you are a candidate of great value.

But before you write anything on your resume I do want you to remember this one simple resume rule. Simplicity is key - less is more.

I have heard this time and time again from HR executives and hiring managers. They are very busy people and the less they have to read to find out how you can help them, the better. This means using lots of white space and concise bulleted statements that get right to the point.

Accomplishments, not Duties

Rather than generating a mundane list of 'duties involved' or responsibilities, describe your accomplishments in each position, noting things like where you saved the company money or treated customers above and beyond your normal duties.

Your resume is a sales tool so take the time to consider every bit of information you plan to put into it. Only use relevant job experience - include only those jobs that will showcase your skills and abilities for the position you are applying to.

Keyword strategies

Include plenty of keyword nouns and noun phrases from the job description throughout your resume. Try not to repeat verbatim the contents of your keyword section. For technical positions, list your skills by separating each noun or phrase by a comma. Talk to people in the career field you are targeting, and ask them what keywords are appropriate to the positions you are applying to. Join any related professional organizations or visit their websites to learn the 'lingo' of your profession.

General Guidelines

Leave out personal things in your resume such as marital status, hobbies and other non relevant information. To the recruiter reading it, these are a waste of their time. Do not write in the 1st or 3 person. The words 'I', 'mine', 'me', or 'our' should never be on your resume. Be explicit about the job you want. The objective on your resume should stick to the basics. If you are applying for a specific job you found in an ad, just use the following format and you can't go wrong.

Objective: The position of Senior Accountant, jobcode # 102233, posted on on Thursday, June 5th, 2008.

This format tells the recruiter exactly which job you want, exactly where you saw it, and exactly when it was posted. And the recruiter knows exactly what to do with it. The rest of your resume's content should support this objective.

When it comes to describing your past experience use bullets with short sentences rather than lengthy paragraphs. Since resumes are read quickly, this format will make it easier for the recruiter to scan it. Avoid dense sections of text at all costs.

Job Search Secret: Avoid Age Discrimination

Over 40 and worried about looking too 'old' on your resume? It's important to remember that you don't have to present your full work history. Instead concentrate on the last 10-15 years and call it 'Relevant Work History'. Never put the year you graduated either. The name of the school and degree earned is fine. You should also avoid sayings such as "24 years of experience in…" - lines like this are a dead giveaway as to your age.

Job Search Secret: Use a Professional

Consider hiring a professional resume writer to craft your resume. Your money will be well spent by employing a Certified Professional Resume Writer. These industry pros are adept at helping capture the essence of you and transferring that image onto your resume. A typical CPRW will spend time interviewing you and have you fill out worksheets to really find out who you are. Expect to pay anywhere from $250-$550 for a good resume package. You can find a list of CPRW's on, a professional organization of resume writers across the country.

Lead with your strengths

The average resume is looked at for only 15-20 seconds before the reader decides what to do with it. Put your most important points towards the top of the page. Sometimes the recruiter may only see the top half if they are reading it on a computer screen!

Think about tweaking your past job titles to sound more in line with the position you are applying to. For instance, I once worked as a 'Research Associate' for a small marketing research firm. Half of my job was research related but the other half was working extensively with our database of information. We used database software called Paradox and I became technically adept at querying, editing and modifying the database over a 1 year period. When it was time for me to look for another job I knew I wanted to do something more technical so I simply renamed the job title on my resume to say 'Database Research Analyst'. It really helped me generate more interviews.

Always use the spell checker in your word processor before sending any resume out. Have two friends review it for errors.


There is no set limit to how many pages you should have. The 1 page fits all approach is a myth. If you have an extensive background then use 2-3 pages to showcase yourself. However if you are a recent grad, one page will suffice. Basically your resume should be as long as needed in order for you to get your message across.

Leave a margin of at least half an inch on top and 0.8 on the sides. Don't cram everything into 1 page if 2 pages will let you create a cleaner more efficient layout. If you have a lot of work experience to showcase try concentrating on the last 10 years which is a good rule of thumb.

Search Administrative Jobs

Search Admin Jobs




Hold CTRL and click to select more than one

Latest Job Postings

Latest Job Postings