As an administrative professional, you know the value of a good resume during your job search. In a field where presentation is just about everything, having a polished and perfect resume can be a major factor in landing an interview.
“An employer may receive upwards of a hundred resumes for any given role,” says Jaime Slodyczka, a Senior Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Professional Support division. “If your resume is poorly formatted or full of glaring errors, this will land your application in the ‘no’ pile. As a result, you’ll want to ensure your resume is in perfect shape before you start applying to jobs.”
Before you start sending out your resume to potential employers, be sure you are avoiding these common resume faux pas!
Ensure your grammar and verb tenses match
“The top resume faux pas I see is when a candidate submits their resume without proper grammar and verb tenses,” Jaime says. “In a field that requires excellent written and verbal communication skills, this can be a deal breaker for a hiring manager who may have been interested in you.” To avoid this, read your resume out loud after you have written it. If you find you are using the past tense with a word like ‘collaborated,’ be sure that all of your verbs are using that same tense throughout your resume. It’s also a good idea to ask a friend to go over your resume for you. A second pair of eyes to catch any mistakes you may have missed can be what places you in the contender pile.
Don’t overdo it on design
Unless you’re applying for an administrative job in the design industry, you’re better off being less creative when it comes to the design of your resume. While it may be tempting to send something that will immediately catch the eye of a hiring manager, doing so can actually hurt your prospects of landing the job. Instead, you’ll want to use a template that’s linear and easy for a hiring manager to read, while only bolding text to emphasize your headlines such as past experience and in-demand technical skills.
Remember to include a cover letter
A hiring manager can get a good sense of your technical skills based on the experience you list on your resume. However, your cover letter is a great place to show you possess the soft skills that makes you a valuable candidate for the role. “Regardless of what people say about the value of cover letters, you should always send one unless instructed otherwise,” Jaime stresses. “The cover letter is a perfect place to show your personality, work ethic, and other qualities that would make you a perfect fit for the role.”
Have multiple versions of your resume on hand
As the number of hybrid administrative roles continues to grow, Lindsay encourages administrative professionals to have multiple copies of their resume and cover letter to use. “Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see a company look for someone to act as both an Executive Assistant and Office Manager,” Jaime says. “While there is plenty of overlap for desired skills, they can vary based on position. When you’re preparing multiple copies of your resume, be sure that you tailor them based on the experience and skills the job listing is calling for.”
Keep your resume concise
Depending on your level of experience, try and limit your resume to one page. While it can be hard to choose what experience and skills you want to highlight most, a resume that is too long can set you at the bottom of the pile early on. A best practice to follow in this scenario is to select the roles and skills most relevant to the position you are applying for. However, if you’re someone with more than a decade’s worth of experience and you’re applying for a high-level role, don’t be hesitant to use an extra page!