When applying for a secretary position, having a well-crafted CV can make all the difference. A strong CV not only showcases your skills and qualifications but also helps you stand out among other applicants. 

In this article, we’ll provide a fictional example of a winning secretary’s CV and share valuable tips to create a compelling CV that catches the attention of potential employers.

Joss Search’s Secretary CV Tips

As a trusted recruitment company specialising in business support positions, our expert tips will empower you to confidently navigate the competitive job market and create a stand-out CV to help you secure your dream position as an administrative professional.

1. Best format for a secretary CV

Choosing the right format for your CV is crucial for presenting your information clearly and professionally.  

Here are some tips to ensure that you format your CV in a way that is easy to read and understand: 

  • Opt for a clean and organised layout that is visually appealing and easy to navigate.
  • Clearly define sections such as Personal Details, CV Profile, Education, Work Experience, Skills and References to ensure a structured and coherent presentation.
  • Use a professional font, such as Arial or Montserrat, to maintain a polished and business-like appearance.
  • Consistency in formatting is essential to create a cohesive and professional-looking CV.
  • Utilise bullet points to break down information into concise and easily scannable points, enabling recruiters to quickly grasp your key qualifications and experiences.
  • Avoid cluttering your CV with too much text; bullet points allow you to convey information efficiently and keep the document visually appealing.
  • Ensure the overall design is balanced and well-organised, emphasising the most relevant information for the secretary role you’re applying for. Make use of design software, like Canva, to get access to easy-to-use professional CV templates

2. How to write a secretary CV profile

Your CV profile serves as an introduction placed at the top of your CV. It’s a concise paragraph where you highlight your essential skills, experiences and career aspirations. Since this is the first part that hiring managers will read, crafting an attention-grabbing CV profile is crucial. 

Follow our tips to create a standout CV profile:

  • Customise your profile for the secretary role you desire, emphasising your unique strengths.
  • Showcase your achievements using quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your impact in past roles.
  • Keep it brief and captivating to serve as a hook, drawing employers’ attention and enticing them to explore more about you.

3. Tailor your CV

Tailoring your CV is a crucial step in the job application process. It involves customising your CV for each job application to showcase the most relevant skills and experiences that align with the specific requirements of the position you’re applying for. 

Here’s why tailoring your CV is essential and how you can do it effectively:

  • Personalised Approach: Each job is unique and employers are looking for candidates who closely match their specific needs. Tailoring your CV shows that you’ve taken the time to understand the job description and how your qualifications align with the role.
  • Highlighting Relevance: By emphasising the skills and experiences most relevant to the job, you demonstrate your suitability for the position. This makes it easier for recruiters to see how you can contribute to their organisation’s success.
  • Standing Out: A tailored CV helps you stand out from other applicants who may have a more generic CV. It showcases your genuine interest in the position and your commitment to meeting the employer’s requirements.

How to tailor your CV 

Tailoring your CV does not mean exaggerating or providing false information. It’s about presenting your qualifications in the best possible light while remaining honest and accurate. 

  • Analyse the Job Description: Carefully read the job description to identify the key skills, qualifications and responsibilities required for the role.
  • Identify Matching Points: Match your own skills and experiences with those mentioned in the job description. Focus on transferable skills that align with the role.
  • Prioritise Relevant Information: Rearrange your CV so that the most relevant information appears at the top. This ensures that recruiters quickly see your suitability for the position.
  • Use Keywords: Incorporate keywords from the job description into your CV. This can help your CV get noticed by applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by some employers.
  • Tailor Your CV Profile: Customise your CV profile to reflect your alignment with the specific job requirements. Highlight key achievements that demonstrate your capability for the role.
  • Modify Work Experience: Adjust the descriptions of your previous work experiences to emphasise how they relate to the job you’re applying for.
  • Limit Irrelevant Information: If certain experiences or skills are not relevant to the job, consider reducing their prominence or omitting them altogether.

4. Quantify achievements

When crafting your CV, incorporating quantifiable achievements using Laszlo Bock’s Formula can significantly enhance your profile. 

This approach involves presenting concrete and measurable accomplishments from your previous roles to showcase the value you brought to those positions. This data-driven approach provides solid evidence of your abilities, making it easier for employers to recognise your potential value to their organisation.

Here are some reasons why it is important to quantify your achievements on your CV:

  • Credibility: Numbers and measurable results add credibility to your claims. It shows that you can back up your statements with concrete evidence of success.
  • Differentiation: Quantifiable achievements set you apart from other candidates who may use generic or vague descriptions. It demonstrates your specific impact and value.
  • Impactful storytelling: Numbers provide a powerful way to tell a compelling story about your professional achievements. They grab the attention of recruiters and leave a lasting impression.
  • Relevance: Quantifying achievements allows employers to quickly grasp the scale and scope of your accomplishments, making it easier for them to assess your suitability for the role.

How to quantify achievements effectively

  • Use Specific Metrics: Use numbers, percentages and data to quantify your accomplishments. For example, mention how much revenue you generated, the percentage increase in efficiency or the number of clients you managed.
  • Focus on Results: Highlight outcomes and results rather than just listing responsibilities. Employers are more interested in what you achieved rather than what tasks you performed.
  • Highlight Impact: Describe the positive impact your actions had on the organisation or team. Did you streamline processes, save costs or improve customer satisfaction?
  • Be Honest and Specific: Avoid exaggeration and ensure your data is accurate. Specifics add credibility and help employers visualise your contributions.

5. Use keywords

Incorporating keywords from the job description into your CV is a strategic approach that can significantly improve your chances of catching the attention of potential employers, especially when they use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen CVs. 

By thoughtfully integrating relevant keywords from the job description into your CV, you enhance your CV’s visibility and increase your chances of landing interviews. 

Here’s why using keywords is essential and how you can effectively leverage them:

  • Alignment with job requirements: Keywords are specific terms and phrases used in the job description to outline the skills, qualifications and experience desired for the role. By including these keywords in your CV, you demonstrate that your profile closely aligns with the job requirements.
  • ATS optimisation: Many employers use ATS to streamline their hiring process by scanning CVs for relevant keywords. By using these keywords, you increase the likelihood of your CV passing through the ATS screening and reaching human eyes for further consideration.
  • Relevance and credibility: Incorporating keywords naturally into your CV showcases your understanding of the role and industry. It also adds credibility to your application as it emphasises your qualifications in a manner that directly addresses the employer’s needs.

How to incorporate keywords effectively

  • Analyse the job description: Carefully read and analyse the job description to identify the most relevant keywords. Pay attention to skills, qualifications, job titles and specific industry-related terms.
  • Mirror language: Use similar language and terminology as the job description when describing your skills, experiences and accomplishments. However, ensure that your statements are truthful and accurately represent your abilities.
  • Strategic placement: Incorporate keywords throughout your CV, but be mindful of the context. Place them in your CV profile, work experience, skills and education sections where they fit naturally and are relevant.
  • Avoid overstuffing: While using keywords is essential, avoid overstuffing your CV with irrelevant or excessive keywords. Maintain a balance between keyword optimisation and a well-written, coherent CV.
  • Showcase experience: Don’t just list keywords without providing context. Use specific examples in your work experience section to demonstrate how you have applied those skills and achieved results.

6. Be honest and concise

Maintaining honesty and conciseness in your CV is crucial to establish trust with potential employers and to ensure your key qualifications shine through. 

By being honest and concise in your CV, you create a positive and authentic impression on potential employers. Honesty and conciseness reflect your professionalism and commitment to presenting yourself accurately, fostering a stronger connection with employers and increasing your chances of landing your desired job.

Here’s why honesty and conciseness matter and how to implement them effectively:

  • Credibility and integrity: Honesty is the foundation of a strong professional reputation. By accurately representing your qualifications and experiences, you build trust with employers, demonstrating that you’re a reliable and trustworthy candidate.
  • Avoiding misrepresentation: Exaggerating or providing false information on your CV can lead to serious consequences if discovered during the hiring process. It can tarnish your reputation and even cost you the opportunity for the job.
  • Better fit: Being honest about your qualifications helps ensure that you apply for roles that truly align with your expertise and interests. This improves the chances of finding the right job fit for your career growth and satisfaction.

How to ensure that your CV is honest and concise

  • Accurate information: Ensure that all the information on your CV is truthful and up-to-date. Avoid embellishing your accomplishments and qualifications. Focus on presenting a clear and accurate picture of your capabilities.
  • Selective content: Keep your CV concise by including only relevant and essential information. Tailor your CV for each job application and remove any unnecessary details that may distract from your core qualifications.
  • Quantify achievements: Use quantifiable achievements to showcase your impact in previous roles. This provides concrete evidence of your abilities without resorting to excessive elaboration.
  • Eliminate redundancy: Review your CV to ensure that you don’t repeat information across different sections. Eliminate redundant details to keep your CV focused and concise.
  • Professional language: Use clear and professional language to communicate your qualifications and experiences. Avoid jargon or overly complex terminology that may confuse employers.

7. Proofread thoroughly

Thoroughly proofreading your CV is a critical step in presenting yourself as a professional and competent candidate for the job – especially in an administrative position

Taking the time to thoroughly proofread your CV demonstrates your commitment to presenting yourself in the best possible light. A polished and error-free CV showcases your attention to detail and dedication to excellence, enhancing your credibility as a capable and reliable candidate. 

By presenting a flawless CV, you increase your chances of making a positive impression on employers and moving forward in the hiring process with confidence.

Here’s why meticulous proofreading matters and how to ensure your CV is error-free:

  • Professionalism: A CV with spelling and grammar errors reflects poorly on your attention to detail and professionalism. Employers may perceive such mistakes as a lack of care in your work, which can hinder your chances of landing the job.
  • Clarity and readability: Errors in your CV can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of your qualifications and experiences. A clear and error-free CV ensures that your message is conveyed accurately to employers.
  • First impression: Your CV serves as your first introduction to potential employers. A polished and error-free CV creates a positive first impression and sets the tone for the rest of your application.

How to proofread thoroughly

  • Step away and return: After writing your CV, take a break before proofreading. Stepping away and returning with fresh eyes helps you spot errors more effectively.
  • Read aloud: Read your CV aloud to catch any awkward phrasing or missing words. This technique helps identify issues that may be overlooked when reading silently.
  • Use spell checkers: Utilise spell checkers and grammar tools like Grammarly. However, remember that they may not catch all errors, so manual proofreading is essential.
  • Check punctuation: Pay attention to punctuation marks, including commas, periods and apostrophes. Proper punctuation enhances the clarity and coherence of your CV.
  • Review formatting: Check the formatting of your CV to ensure consistency in font, size and spacing. Consistent formatting adds to the professional appearance of your CV.
  • Ask for help: Enlist the help of a friend, family member or professional colleague to review your CV. Fresh eyes can often catch errors that you may have missed.

Example of a winning secretary CV

This carefully crafted example will guide you in developing a standout CV that showcases your skills and qualifications in a professional manner.

Contact details

Name: Vivian Versafile

Address: 123 Admin Lane, London, UK, SW1A 1AA

Phone: (555) 555-5555

Email: viv.versafile@email.com

CV profile

A highly accomplished and dedicated secretary with 5 years of experience, adeptly managing administrative tasks with unwavering precision. Proven expertise in handling correspondence, coordinating appointments and providing exceptional support to top executives. A proactive problem-solver with a keen eye for detail, ensuring seamless and efficient office operations.

Education

BSc in Business Administration

University of London, London, United Kingdom

2007 – 2010

Work Experience

Administrative Assistant | Aspire Hiring | 2010 – 2015

  • Efficiently managed daily office operations, handling phone calls, emails and correspondence with exceptional organisational skills.
  • Successfully coordinated executive calendars, optimising scheduling for meetings and appointments, resulting in a 25% reduction in scheduling conflicts.
  • Produced high-quality reports, presentations and documents, enhancing internal and external communication efficiency by 30%.
  • Ensured a tidy and organised workspace by managing office supplies, leading to a more productive work environment and reducing office supply costs by 15%.
  • Played a key role in organising company events and conferences, fostering seamless coordination and successful outcomes, with a 20% increase in attendee satisfaction.

Executive Secretary | Peak Prospects | 2015 – Present

  • Offered extensive administrative support to the CEO and executive team, ensuring efficient and streamlined operations, resulting in a 40% increase in team productivity.
  • Organised intricate travel itineraries and accommodations for business trips, optimising executive travel arrangements and saving 15% on travel expenses.
  • Conducted thorough research and compiled data for presentations and business reports, contributing to well-informed decision-making and leading to a 25% improvement in data accuracy.
  • Managed highly confidential documents with the utmost discretion, maintaining a secure and trustworthy environment, ensuring zero data breaches in three years.
  • Collaborated seamlessly with multiple departments, facilitating smooth communication and promoting cross-functional efficiency, resulting in a 20% reduction in interdepartmental miscommunications.

Core skills:

  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Strong organisational and time-management abilities.
  • Multitasking and prioritisation in a fast-paced environment.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in all tasks.

References

Mr. Jason Turner

Position: Senior Manager

Company: Aspire Hiring

Email: jason.turner@email.com

Phone: (555) 987-6543

Ms. Jessica Evans

Position: Executive Director

Company: Peak Prospects 

Email: jessica.evans@email.com

Phone: (555) 222-3333

Conclusion

Crafting a winning secretary CV is essential to stand out in the competitive job market and secure your dream position. By following the tips and examples provided in this article, you can create a standout CV that effectively showcases your skills, experiences and achievements. 

Remember to be honest and concise in your CV, avoiding any exaggeration or unnecessary details that may distract from your core qualifications. 

As a respected recruitment company specialising in business support positions, Joss Search offers invaluable insights to help you create a standout CV. We hope that these tips will help you navigate the job market with confidence and present yourself as a top-notch candidate to potential employers.

Find out more: CV Help Tips and Guides