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How to Stand Out When Applying For an Administrative Assistant Job

By Kat Boogaard

In nearly every office, there’s some sort of administrative assistant position. On one hand, that’s a good thing. It means there are tons of different opportunities available to you if you’re seeking this sort of role.

However, this wide availability also comes with one big drawback: Competition. Since these jobs are so necessary in nearly every industry, you can bet there are tons of people fighting their way to the top of the resume pile in order to score those gigs.

Doing your best to stand out during the application process is recommended regardless of what sort of position you’re applying for. But, it becomes straight up necessary when you’re tossing your hat into the ring for an administrative assistant job.

How exactly can you manage to separate yourself from the pack and leave your mark? We’ve got your need-to-know tips right here.

1. Tailor Your Resume

There are certain skills you’ll need in order to fill an administrative assistant role, regardless of the company. Things like effective communication and solid organization skills are necessary everywhere. But, unfortunately, this makes it all too easy to assume that every single administrative assistant job is exactly the same.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Much like any other job, admin positions can vary greatly from company to company. Different responsibilities, different tools and software, different expectations—no two admin jobs are exactly the same.

This is why you absolutely must tailor your resume for every single job you apply to. Review that specific description, pull out key words and skills that crop up again and again, and then work to make yourself seem as relevant as possible. Remember, you’re trying to present yourself as the absolute best fit for the position—which is tough to do if you’re using the same generic resume for every single application.

2. Don’t Forget About Soft Skills

Of course, you need to include some specific expertise and quantifiable achievements on your resume in order to capture how truly impressive you are. However, admin jobs also rely heavily on soft skills.

Oftentimes, advice will warn you to skip the soft skills on your resume in favor of squeezing in a few more details or statistics about your previous performance. But, you’ll want to take that warning with a grain of salt when applying for admin positions.

From organization skills and effective communication to team building and collaboration, there are tons of different soft skills that are undoubtedly required to be a successful admin. So, don’t skip over all of them in favor of briefly mentioning your three credits of Spanish you took in college. We promise, soft skills can carry a lot of weight—as long as you have some specific examples to back them up.

3. Let’s Talk About Tech

One thing is for sure: You’re going to need to be pretty adaptable with technology when you’re sitting in an admin’s seat. Typically, administrative assistants are tasked with test driving new tools or identifying the best software fit for a company. In some offices (particularly smaller ones), many admins also find themselves filling the shoes of an entire IT department.

Being somewhat tech savvy is undeniably necessary. So, don’t forget to play this attribute up when applying! Make sure your resume includes any specific platforms and programs you consider yourself to be proficient with.

Yes, it’ll take up some space on your document. But, it’s well worth it. Knowing they won’t need to train you on how to use a basic aspect of their day-to-day business can sometimes make all the difference for a company’s hiring decisions.

4. Gather Amazing References

With enough creativity, pretty much anyone can make a resume sound impressive. But, as the old adage goes, “The proof is in the pudding.” So, if you truly want to be memorable throughout the application process, you’ll want to make sure you have some kickass references locked, loaded, and ready to rant and rave about how incredible you are.

Unfortunately, references tend to be one of those after-thoughts of the job hunt process. However, they’re something you need to have sorted out early on. That way, you won’t be in a bind when a hiring manager suddenly requests your list of contacts.

Even better? Not being in a time crunch gives you adequate space to find the references that will truly make a difference for you—instead of just the ones that were able to give immediate approval.

There are tons of administrative assistant jobs in the workforce. However, that also means there’s a lot of competition. So, finding a way to stand out amongst that sea of competitors is crucial. Give these four key tips a try, and watch as those interview requests come rolling in!

Kat Boogaard

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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