If you are the power behind the throne, the velvet glove that covers the iron fist, the quietly competent admin who practically runs the place but always lets the boss think he’s in charge … then let us assist you in writing the perfect executive assistant resume.
You are there to help executives achieve their objectives. The life of an executive assistant is one of facilitation and selflessness. All executives have their own priorities to keep their part of the business running smoothly, but often there are tasks where they simply don’t have the time or expertise to take on. That is where an executive assistant comes in — with an intuitive understanding of the challenges their bosses face, and a knack for overcoming the obstacles that slow them down, allowing them to concentrate on their core roles.
We all know what it feels like to be distracted by details that take our minds off a crucial task. Successful executive assistants deal with all those annoying distractions so that the boss doesn’t have to. Good executive assistants are worth their weight in gold, because sometimes those distractions can cause business-critical harm if they are not dealt with in the right way. As an executive assistant, your resume has to demonstrate how you always keep things running smoothly. This guide will show you how to:
- Showcase your ability to glide like a swan while frantically paddling under the surface.
- Cover the varied aspects of your job – you take on hundreds of tasks every week.
- Ensure that you use role-specific language to pass the ATS test.
- Use the resume format that best highlights your most relevant experience.
Along with our sample resumes and builder tool , we will help you to get a job that is challenging and most suited to your unique skill set, while passing the ATS software test. We will explore how to make any executive feel like you would be not only helpful but indispensable.
What does an executive assistant do?
As the workplace changes, the roles of executive assistants also change, and over the past few years they are actually taking on many of the tasks that their executives are simply unfamiliar with because they are so new. They are not only helping executives through change, they are leading them through change. They are supporters, office assistants , personal assistants , planners , coordinators and managers .
In many cases, they are also gatekeepers for all sorts of internal and external problems and seek to solve them before they hit their boss’s desk. A boss who isn’t being constantly bombarded by unwanted issues is a happy and productive boss. The resume of an executive assistant has to portray the candidate as someone who will go to great lengths to minimize problems and avoid complications. Risk mitigation is key, and you always have to keep an eye on what is coming up tomorrow. Your future employer is looking for someone who is able to spot trends, identify problems, deal with people, communicate ideas and most importantly, listen and understand the needs of those they support. All of these traits need to shine through in your resume.
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How to write an executive assistant resume
The nature of the role will vary greatly depending on the industry in which you work and the functional area of your boss, but there are a number of common aspects. People tend to always need help with the same things, and the personalities of executives often dictate that they have common weaknesses. But what elements of the role could you include?
The first job of any executive assistant is to make sure that every administrative task is completed efficiently. They might be doing it themselves or checking that the boss has done everything necessary – with an eagle eye for detail and a resolute approach to solving problems.
Executive assistants help to plan every aspect of the executive’s activity and help to coordinate with a multitude of internal and external stakeholders. Executive assistants are master communicators, both in spoken and written forms, and understand that other people do what is required only if they understand it in the first place.
Executive assistants manage inventory and equipment – it is surprising just how many things are required to run a business efficiently. Their role as project managers cannot be underestimated – they seek to answer questions and provide solutions without having to bother the boss. As technology becomes more sophisticated, they work to ensure that the boss is making the most of the latest methodologies.
We should not forget the more mundane aspects, such as meeting and travel coordination, but for an executive assistant no task is unimportant. Everything contributes to the success of the whole. Does your resume communicate the fact that you are willing to do anything and everything to make the life of the executive easier? If not, why not? That is your purpose. All of these aspects should be woven into the story your resume tells.
How do you pass the ATS test?
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are computer applications that screen resumes before people do.
Because each executive will have very specific requirements, the job description will contain the keywords that need to appear in a relevant resume. Executive assistant positions can be extremely competitive, with lots of applicants, so to select the most suitable people, ATS software will be used to choose those whose resumes are most suited.
If you do not include the right keywords, you risk your resume not being read by a human at all. Applicants that understand how an ATS works have an actual chance of delivering their resume to human eyes, and the recruitment journey can begin in earnest. The keywords for an executive assistant will cover many of the functional aspects of the role and will be common for most roles.
It is a great idea to look at an employer’s website to understand the demands that might be placed on an EA and gauge the language that the business uses. For the executive assistant, this is important because every business will have different expectations and a different structure for how its executives do their jobs.
Executive assistant summary resume example
More than anything else, your prospective bosses are looking for someone who can make their lives easier. Your summary has to adopt a tone of willingness and assistance. You will do whatever it takes to make things happen for your boss.
Don’t just describe what you do, describe how you do it. Help the reader to imagine what it is like to have you as an ally. Make that person want to hire you, or otherwise the competitors might.
Cultivate an air of exclusivity and excellence in the summary. Make the reader want to read on. After an employer reads an executive assistant’s resume summary, he or she should be thinking: “I need this person working with me now.”
Demonstrate that you understand the industry
An executive assistant should ideally be an expert in the intricacies of the industry. Because the summary is a free-form section, it is the perfect place to go into a little more detail about how you understand those specifics. You don’t need to go into great detail – if you show that you understand one aspect, you are likely to understand others. This should signal to the reader that this is going to be a fit.
Speak the hiring manager’s language
To a reasonable extent, use the same type of language that is included in the job description. Word clouds are useful software to pick out hidden patterns from the text, informing useful strategies for how to present yourself. If the keywords that the hiring manager has specified for the job description are sprinkled throughout your summary, now you’re speaking the same language.
Enthusiastic and experienced Executive Assistant, bringing forth an impressive background serving as a source of critical support for Executive Management Leaders. Adept at maintaining accurate schedules, filing systems, and office correspondence. Committed to utilizing my organizational skills to provide optimal support to busy executives.
Executive assistant employment history resume example
The mix of how you communicate your experience base is important. Include the more basic skills and experiences in your earlier roles and go into more detail about your more advanced attributes in the more recent ones. Your seniority may not have changed hugely, but it will give a sense of increased responsibility.
It is rare that executive assistants include facts and figures in their resumes, but if you have taken part in or led any operational changes, this is exactly what will set you apart from your peers. Your future boss will be interested in the bottom line, so an executive assistant who also has a sound commercial understanding will be a great person to have on the team.
Show that you know what makes the business tick. Your employment history should also show your absorption of sales training and methodologies. You have to portray yourself as someone who is keen to learn.
Executive Assistant, PepsiCo, White Plains, NY
January 2013 - October 2019
- Reported to the CEO and handled a wide variety of day-to-day tasks.
- Maintained schedules, communicated with clients, and arranged travel.
- Handled accounts payable and receivable, and maintained documentations.
- Coordinated company events and ensured employees remained up-to-date on events and initiatives.
Executive Assistant, Hunter Public Relations, New York
May 2010 - September 2013
- Managed company meeting calendar and handled travel arrangements for two of the company's busiest executives.
- Proofread and prepared documents.
- Kept meeting minutes and distributed important information to employees.
- Maintained a meticulously organized internal filing system.
Skills section resume example
The role is so varied that any employer would expect a lot of skills details.
A common mistake that many executive assistants make is assuming that a potential employer knows what they do, and they do not go into enough detail on their resumes. This is a problem from an ATS perspective because it does not see the keywords that it is expecting, and it is a problem from a hiring manager perspective because they think that the individual does not care enough to share the details.
First, here are a few longer-form examples of how an executive assistant might list his or her skills. These longer examples are ideal to sprinkle throughout the employment history section and can use much of the same vocabulary that is included in the separate skills section. Repetition is not a bad thing in certain circumstances – as long as you are driving the right messages home.
- Administrative and operational support for a range of board directors
- Coordination and planning of all aspects of business activity
- Writing presentations and managing all business correspondence
- Full responsibility for all data management and IT integrations
- Inventory management of equipment and business supplies
- Organizing and scheduling calendars, travel and meetings in a busy office
- Management of information flow, with only the biggest issues escalated
- Administrative Skills
- Excellent Multitasking Skills
- Motivated Attitude
- Verbal and Written Communication Skills
- Office Technology Skills
- Project Management Skills
The words that you choose to use in your resume will have a direct impact on the perception of your skills and experience. Take your time and make sure that they communicate the blend of your ability and your potential.
Choosing the best resume format for an executive assistant
Sometimes less is more. If you are careful enough about the type of language that you choose, you should have plenty of space in a one-page resume to make sure that it is readable and highlights the parts of your experience that really matter. The format should be easy to read. Be consistent in your use of bullet points and lists, and don’t go into too much detail that could be expanded upon during a job interview . Try not to repeat activities or skills in multiple parts of the resume. Make sure that you include enough keywords for the ATS, but there is no need to repeat them for impact. Ensure that it can be “read” by humans and machines and make it easy to scan during a busy interview.
Executive assistant education CV example
There is a significant amount of discipline involved in achieving solid academic results, and some employers may have minimum educational requirements that should be reflected on your CV. While a track record of experience is important, the mix of education and training will still be a consideration if there are a number of similar candidates. The same goes for on-the-job training. Executive assistants need to show that they are on top of the latest technology and social media innovations. They are increasingly expected to do things like running an executive’s social media profiles, so industry-leading training in this area would be a great thing to include if possible.
Bachelor of Communications, University of Virginia, Richmond
August 2006 - May 2010
High School Diploma, Princeton School, Princeton, NJ
September 2002 - May 2006
- Write your resume around how you help others and make work streams smoother.
- Portray yourself as efficient, unflappable and ruthlessly organized.
- Make sure that your written resume is clear and concise – key for any executive assistant.
- Detail how you have positively impacted the work of those around you.
- Know the sort of work that you do well and be specific about what you enjoy.