Dear Sam: I am relatively entry-level in my career, having just four years and two positions in the administrative arena. When I look at my friend’s resumes, they talk about their significant accomplishments. For instance, one friend works in pharmaceutical sales, and his résumé talks about products he has launched, contests he has won, and quantifiers of his successes. Another friend is in environmental health and safety, and on her résumé she talks about processes she has developed, new programs she has implemented, and reductions in incidents and accidents in her workplace. My job is to support others in achieving their goals, so how do I shine a light on my accomplishments when I don’t have any? Surely people in support roles can have strong resumes too! – Abigail
Dear Abigail: First of all, I am confident it is not true that you have no accomplishments! I have worked with countless administrative professionals, and we have plenty to highlight in ways they have added value. Just because your field is different from your friends, that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t highly impactful and effective ways to talk about your journey in a positive and promotional way.
Let’s touch on a few critical areas of your resume which should be addressed:
Resume Length & Design
You should have a one-page resume as an entry-level candidate with just a few years of experience. As an administrative specialist with what you state is “strong technical proficiency,” I would like to see a more aesthetically pleasing, professional design showcasing your Word skills and ability to produce a well-designed document.
Objective & Qualifications Summary
Your objective statement is taking up important space at the top of page one and does not tell the hiring manager what you can offer to them. Replace this with a summary highlighting your skills and attributes. Use this section to “sell” why the hiring manager should interview (and hire) you! A qualification summary is your opportunity to introduce your candidacy and compel a reader to bring you in for an interview. This section is the most important piece of your résumé and is akin to what you may have heard some people call an elevator speech. In your field, I would use this section to talk about all the administrative functions you manage at work, such as meeting planning, calendar coordination, internal communications, or even culture-shaping initiatives. Just because your work supports the work of others certainly doesn’t mean that you cannot take credit for what you do in terms of process and procedure execution, timeliness and accuracy, on-demand and go-to support, and more.
You presented a paragraph of your job description, and while providing this information is important (to an extent), you want to focus the reader’s attention on where you truly contributed value. Think about things you achieved while on the job. Did you help with any special projects? Did you receive commendations from your internal customers? Did you change anything in the office? Did you help inform continuous improvements? All of these things are areas in which you could present more achievement-oriented statements.
It is assumed you have a high school diploma, so I would advise you not list that on your resume. In your case, as you received multiple academic honors, I would suggest pulling those items out and including them in your qualifications summary. I would then omit an education section and relocate your community involvement work to its own section.
If you revamp your resume, I am confident you will emerge as a highly competitive candidate. You have a strong background for an entry-level candidate; it just needs to be presented more strategically.