The modern workplace has significantly changed since COVID-19. As more businesses shift to remote working, the need for qualified candidates who can work unsupervised, stay on task, and accomplish projects on time is accelerating. A secretary can provide administrative support onsite or remotely – who possesses these valuable skills and can clearly articulate this on their secretary resume will have a better chance at retaining that critical interview.
A secretary position has changed significantly over the past decade. In years past, they were essentially office assistants who would provide clerical services, including dictation, correspondence, or scheduling for company executives.
A secretary or administrative assistant is often tasked to complete data entry, bookkeeping, Excel sheets, managing filing systems, accounts receivable, expense reports, writing legal documents and memos, and other administrative duties that keep the business running.
Most of these legal secretary positions are posted online, through recruiting agencies, or onsite. And while it's more than likely that you'll fill out an application first, attaching a professionally written secretary resume and cover letter can help you stand out amongst the competition.
So, how do you write a high-quality experienced or entry-level secretary job description resume? Are there best practices to follow with resumes for secretaries that will help to streamline the process – without compromising results? And more importantly – are there good secretary resume examples you can review to learn from?
Whether you're writing an entry level secretary resume or a resume for school secretary positions, the answer to all these questions will be answered in the content below. Let's get started.
Secretary Resume Sample
Secretary is responsible for completing multiple tasks. From answering telephone calls, booking appointments, working with customers, running errands, and meeting other office tasks, those in this position must multitask to succeed. However, before they get ahead of themselves, every candidate needs to be hired first. The critical first step is writing a secretary resume.
Secretarial resumes should be written with a professional yet relaxed or conversational tone. It should be a single-page resume, filled with relevant work history, a strong secretary resume description (or resume objective), the relevant skills, reliable references, and of course, any required education.
The secretary resume sample below is an excellent example of how the finished project should look. Not only does it include all the required elements, but you'll notice that it flows and reads easily – from start to finish. One of our professional resume writers wrote it to give you a great baseline and practical examples of the type of language you should include in the resume.
Take some time to review the entire resume. When you're finished, continue reading the article. We'll break down each section and provide tips on tackling this project.
This sample resume for secretaries features our candidate, Lisa. She is from California and looking to join the Law Firm of Jackson and Jones in San Diego. It's clear to see this – as she has customized her resume – specifically her opening statement for this job application. It's this type of personalization and customization that helps a resume to stand out among other candidates.
You'll notice that she has listed her contact information on the top of the resume, followed by her skills (in the sidebar), the professional summary, work history, education, and finally – references. Everything fits clean, neat, and organized on one page – giving the hiring manager everything they need.
Finally, the document is built using a secretary resume objective template. This allowed Lisa to focus on the content for her secretary job resume, – which was put together on a master resume. Think of a master resume as a working document that will permit you to add primary sections relevant content in each, revise the language used, and edit everything until it's perfect.
Now that you've reviewed an exceptional sample resume let's explore how to write, structure, and edit each of the primary sections.
How to Write a Good Resume for Secretaries in 2023: Full Guide to Secretarial Resumes
When you review most secretarial job postings, it'll be 100 percent clear how to build and structure your resume. The job description will often include the required skills, relevant job experience requested, and education needed to retail the position.
Best practices for writing office or school secretary resumes suggest including the following primary sections.
Personal Contact Info: It's always a good idea to list your full legal name, mailing and email address, and mobile phone. Keep it simple – as there is no need to add social media links – unless otherwise requested.
Professional Summary: The secretarial resume objective or secretary's resume summary is a four to a five-sentence elevator pitch. This is your first opportunity to make an impression.
Work History: List your previous two secretary or office assistant positions. You will include the job details along with a few key accomplishments.
Education: Most secretary positions will require a GED certificate or high school diploma. For your education section, list your highest completed degree.
Skills: It's good to list five to seven attributes for the secretary skills resume section. Many jobs recruiting agencies use an applicant tracking system to search for these action verbs – so it's good to list them in the skills section.
References: You should choose three comprehensive references – two of them professional or previous employers, and one personal reference.
These represent the significant sections of the resume. If a future employer requests additional information on the resumes, you should add them. For example, if you require specific certifications – such as CPR or First Aid, it's best to include that within a particular section.
For purposes of this article – we will focus on the primary sections as displayed in the sample resume. The following areas below will help you build out the content for each.
Section #1 – List Your Contact Information
The first item on your resume will always be contact information. While it's more than likely that you'll fill out an official job application, the resume should be a supporting document that further supports your candidacy. However, one essential item for future employees is consistency with their applicants.
To ensure that you have the best chance of success, ensure that the contact information listed on your application matches 100 percent on the resume. For example, some people will write generic resumes for secretary positions and submit them to every job. However, they may move or change their mobile phone number – and not update their resume.
It is imperative to update your resume for each job you apply for (as we'll explain in the next section) and anytime contact information changes.
How to Format this Section
We strongly recommend using a resume builder or template to format each section of your resume. It will ensure that the resume appears professional but, more important – the relevant information is easy to retain. Remember, for the resume, match your contact information listed on the application, including your name, mailing address, address, city, state, zip code, email, and phone number.
Section #2 – Professional Summary
A secretary should possess strong writing skills – as they will likely be tasked to correspond with vendors, suppliers, customers, and business partners on behalf of their employer. The best way to showcase your writing ability will happen in the professional summary of your resume for office secretary positions.
In Lisa's sample resume above, you can see how a finished resume objective section should appear. She leads the document off by stating her desire to join the Law Firm of Jackson and Jones in San Diego. She mentions her five years of secretarial experience and mentions her strength with organization, as a problem solver, having strong communication skills, multitasking, and working unsupervised.
How to Format this Section
The professional summary of a perfect resume should only be 200 words. It's intended to be a short yet persuasive paragraph written in a conversational yet professional tone. You'll want to sprinkle your hard and soft skills into the section to convince the reader to learn more about you.
Section #3 – Employment History
Having the right work experience is another vital component to gaining a job interview for a secretary position. Many employers search for candidates with the right skills and previously served in this capacity. It's due to this fact that listing relevant employment history should be your top priority.
For a secretary position, relevant careers would include serving as an executive assistant, office clerk, human resources specialist, or office assistant. While best practices suggest listing your two most recent jobs, it's better to list the two relevant jobs. For example, if you served as a secretary in 2018, took a job as a server at a bar in 2019, and returned to an office assistant job in 2020, it's best to skip the server position.
Just like your contact information, the data listed in your work history needs to be 100 percent accurate to the application. When you pick the jobs you want to record (and keep it to two on your resume), make sure to document the dates of employment, your job title, and the essential tasks you were responsible for achieving daily, weekly, and monthly.
How to Format this Section
As noted above, it's crucial to select two of your most recent relevant jobs. When listing them, do so in reverse chronological order – or the most recent to previous. Always list your employer's name, location, dates of employment, your position, and a few bullet points of critical tasks or accomplishments.
Section #4 – Education
Depending on the job you are seeking, specific educational requirements may apply. Most secretarial positions will require a high school diploma or GED certificate. However, the education section of your resume is an opportunity for you to showcase the highest level of education you've completed. While it's always up to the hiring manager, sometimes a college degree can be a tiebreaker over other qualified candidates.
In the sample resume section above, you can see that Lisa has listed her bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Since this was the highest education she's completed, it makes sense to document it here. If you have a high school diploma, list it in this section. However, if you are currently enrolled in college, hold off listing on the resume. Instead, mention this in your cover letter – that should always be attached with every resume submission.
How to Format This Section
Formatting education is elementary. Just list the name of the school, its location, dates, and the degree earned. Again, make sure to match the information you documented in the application and other filled-out documents to apply for the job.
Section #5– References
The best references are those who can testify to your previous work ethic, ability to complete tasks as assigned, and your teamwork ability. They are typically selected to maintain a professional relationship (even if they were in a previous job). This would be called a professional reference, a mentor, previous employer, or manager who speaks credibility and has years of experience in their position.
The other type of reference is a personal one – such as a family friend or personal mentor who serves in a professional career (like a banker, lawyer, or business owner). They are submitted to resumes to speak on your interpersonal skills or character. Recruiter’s love seeing high-profile careers as references for an administrative secretary.
In Lisa's sample resume, you'll note that she selected the owner of a previous job, her college professor, and a family friend who is an attorney. Since she is applying for a secretary position at a law firm, the third reference may be her best. As such, she listed the attorney as her first reference.
How to Format This Section
For references listed on a secretarial resume, notate the first and last name of your reference, their place of employment, and the phrase "available upon request." This will keep their contact information private unless requested by the law firm you are applying to join. It's a great idea to review some sample resumes for secretaries to see how they format the reference section.
Section #6 – Skills
A good secretary will be adaptable at writing and oral communication, conflict resolution, multitasking, maintaining an upbeat demeanor, time management, schedule travel arrangements, and attention to detail. These are all hard skills that permit them to be successful secretaries.
Soft skills like solid comprehension of Microsoft Office or Apple suite software working with cloud-based solutions or CRMs are also top skills that employers will seek.
How to Format This Section
The skills section essentially lists five to seven bullet points that clearly show your future employer where you accelerate. Using a resume builder or template helps you structure its format – as many of them will permit you to assign a skill level. We suggest listing the skills on a sidebar, saving space, and maximizing the entire resume when a template is used.
Other Related Resume Templates
Research and organization are vital components when starting any project. It's even more critical when writing resumes for the secretary position. The copious amounts of resume templates we've gathered for relevant positions are a great tool available to you. We have multiple finished resume samples that you can review, which will allow you to gain some ideas, inspiration and formulate a plan.
Final Points on Successful Resumes for Secretaries
The best secretarial candidates are those with the right experience, hard and soft skills, and the work ethic to complete tasks precisely. They'll have an opportunity to showcase their personality during an interview – but they need to gain an invitation first. An excellent secretary resume supported with an accurate application and cover letter.
We have provided you with a simple roadmap that will ensure your resume is polished, straightforward, and engaging. All you need to do is follow the steps above. Here are a few key points for those who would like a refresher.
- Make sure your secretarial job resume flows from start to finish.
- Always write your resume on a plain white background with black font.
- Edit your written content through Grammerly.com – a great online tool that will save you time.
- Ensure its well-spaced, organized, and professional.
- Finally, read it aloud a few times before you're ready to paste the content into a resume builder or template.
One final tip to consider. When you've completed your resume, ask a few friends, perhaps those currently serving as an executive secretary or administrative assistants, to review or proofread the finished document. Have them go over it with fine detail and provide any practical tips that perhaps you've overlooked. Having a second or third set of eyes review a resume is a great way to ensure it's as polished as possible before submitting it to the hiring manager.