As the United States continues to rebound from the recession of 2008, competition for administrative jobs is still steep in many areas. To increase your chances of getting to the interview stage, update your resume skills. With a solid, well-rounded resume that goes beyond stating "proficient in Microsoft Office," you can gain a competitive advantage over other applicants.
In most fields, Microsoft Office is the industry standard; as a result, employers often assume that all college graduates are proficient in the software. Because most administrative professionals do a great deal more than spreadsheet design and word processing, your resume must provide a more complete picture of your skill set. By including both hard skills and soft resume skills that are relevant to your target job, you can convince employers that you will be a valuable addition to the team. The jobs outlook for 2014 is uncertain and unpredictable, according to CNN Money, making a strong resume crucial.
When you're looking for administrative and clerical positions, certain hard skills are crucial. Your resume should communicate to potential employers that you are adept with numbers, proficient with all standard office equipment, and able to learn new software quickly. Another important skill is communication—your resume must let employers know that you are comfortable writing memos, drafting professional emails, editing documents, and handling phone calls. Don't forget about skills that encompass a wide range of duties, such as executive support or travel coordination.
The skills that are required of administrative and clerical workers often differ between industries. If you're working for a technical sales firm, for example, you will need to use different software than you would at a magazine. Research your target companies and fields to find out about the industry-standard programs and applications. If you are proficient in any of them, mention them in your resume skills. If you are tied with another candidate for a position, proficiency in the company's billing software can give you an edge.
If you have prior professional experience, use past accomplishments as proof of your abilities. To stand out from the crowd, avoid reducing your resume skills to general administrative responsibilities; instead, use numbers to draw the reviewer's eye. Include the number of words per minute you type, for example. Instead of saying that you are organized, state that you created a new filing system that reduced employee help requests by 30 percent. Or, note how you streamlined a company's billing system so that forms were processed 50 percent faster. By adding specific numbers to your resume skills, you can boost your credibility.
In many cases, it's easy to add standard skills to your resume and call it quits. By taking the time to add detail and specificity to your resume skills, however, you can provide a more complete picture of your professional abilities.
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