How to write a secretary CV (with duties and skill info)
Updated 23 July 2023
A secretary is the main point of contact between a manager and any outside enquiries. They typically work in schools, offices, legal firms or government agencies to plan, organise, schedule and manage critical activities and events. If you're looking for a secretary job, your first step is to compile a strong secretary CV. In this article, we discuss what a secretary does and outline how to write a secretary CV, with details of their key skills and an example CV to help you write your own.
What is the role of a secretary?
Primarily, a secretary establishes and maintains communications between customers, colleagues and a manager within an organisation. They may also serve as intermediaries between the organisation and the general public. The secretary also plans meetings and filters communications so that the employer or manager devotes their time to more productive activities. The following make up some of the responsibilities that a secretary undertakes on a daily basis:
meeting and greeting new customers and taking phone calls
creating and maintaining calendars for managers or employers
making arrangements for meetings and appointments
ensuring that team members remain coordinated throughout meetings
preparing documents for meetings and appointments in advance of the meeting or event
organising the distribution of office mail
creating summaries of internal communications
filing formal papers such as bills, reports and communications
keeping both digital and physical file systems up-to-date
completing light accounting and account monitoring tasks
How to write a secretary CV
Here's how to write a secretary CV for your next secretary job application:
1. Select a suitable CV format
The first step in building a successful CV includes deciding on the format that showcases your professional experience and qualifications. Structure your CV by using a professional typeface such as Times New Roman or Georgia. If the word processor you're using contains a template library, try using one of the pre-made templates to assist you in getting started on your CV. Examples of CV structures include the following:
Chronological formatting: This remains a standard CV style in which your job history appears in reverse chronological order, with your most recent roles listed first. Those with a consistent and appealing work history may find this CV style beneficial.
Functional formatting: Secretaries with little or no professional experience often use this style, as it emphasises skills and competencies rather than professional experience. By emphasising your strengths, you demonstrate how you're an excellent candidate regardless of your lack of work experience.
Combined formatting: Combined formatting incorporates elements of both chronological and functional CV forms, listing both work experience and key skills to create a cohesive whole. This style provides a balanced view of you, as it gives evidence of your abilities alongside descriptions of what you can do.
2. Include your most up-to-date professional contact information
Ensure that your CV includes correct and up-to-date contact information so that the hiring manager can reach out to you by phone or email to arrange an interview or ask further questions. In most cases, the top of your CV remains an appropriate place for providing contact information. Include your full name, phone number, location and an appropriate email address. In the case of professional email addresses, they're found on either your current organisation's website or the website of an email service provider.
Since communication remains a crucial element of a secretary's job, it's vital that you monitor your emails and answer the hiring manager as quickly as possible if they contact you about the position. Before submitting your CV to the recruitment team, create a professional email account if you don't have one already. When it comes to your location, entering your full address is generally unnecessary. Instead, mentioning the city and place where you now reside suffices.
3. Craft a CV goal that's both simple and effective
CV objectives are statements that represent yourself and what you want to achieve from a professional role. As a prospective secretary, this section of your CV remains critical for quickly outlining your talents and expertise to catch the reader's attention during a job interview. Consider emphasising the value you provide to a team, drawing on information from the job description to write as detailed as possible within the confines of a single page.
4. Provide specifics about your educational history and credentials
Although most secretary positions don't require you to have a bachelor's degree, possessing one demonstrates your knowledge and skill set to employers. Your educational information contains specifics such as where you studied, your dates of attendance and the qualifications you received. If you have any additional relevant accomplishments or certifications, you may also mention these here.
5. Describe your practical working experience
Your work experience tends to be the section of your CV that prospective employers remain most interested in reading. Format this area of your CV according to the style you choose. Include information about your current and previous employment, when you worked there and the nature of your role. It's also beneficial to include information on how you contributed to the improvement of the workplace while detailing the jobs you completed. It's preferable to use the present tense when describing your current position and the past tense when describing the previous organisations you've worked for.
6. Emphasise your appropriate qualifications and skills
In the skills part of your CV, showcase the qualities that help you succeed in your role as a secretary. This includes both technical and interpersonal abilities, such as communication and computer proficiency. To make the skills section more effective, check the job description and include any talents and abilities similar to those listed in the job description. Since an important aspect of a secretary's job involves communicating effectively with both colleagues and clients, ensure you highlight a variety of communication skills.
7. Thoroughly revise and proofread your CV before submitting it
Properly revise and reread your CV before presenting it to potential employers. It's also possible to self-evaluate your CV and discover places where you might strengthen your language and terminology. Consider enlisting the help of a friend or colleague to read it and give feedback. You may also use free or paid software to check your spelling and grammar and provide suggestions on improving your sentence structure.
Key skills for secretaries
As a secretary, developing your communication skills to successfully convey important messages or communications between executives, consumers and staff remain vital. Other important secretarial skills include the following:
Note-taking and typing
Secretaries possess excellent note-taking abilities to jot down important details before transmitting them to employees and executives via email. Quick typing abilities help you take notes effectively during meetings and write them down in a concise and organised manner. This makes emailing notes to colleagues easier, as they're already professionally transcribed.
Executives assign many jobs and projects simultaneously, all of which require completion within a short period. Consider using a task management system to better arrange your assignments and due dates. This saves you from neglecting crucial initiatives or forgetting to perform certain duties. This also allows you to list your proficiency with such task management software as a skill on your CV.
Template for a secretary CV
To help you write a CV for a secretary job, use the following template:
[A few sentences to introduce yourself, an overview of your experience, strengths and ambitions]
[Job role]｜[Employer name and location]｜[Dates of employment]
[School or university name and location]｜[Dates attended]｜[Course name and grade]
[List of relevant skills]
Example of a secretary CV
Below is an example of a secretary CV to help you write your own:
Professional summary With almost 10 years of experience providing administrative assistance in a primary school, I am a highly professional and goal-oriented school secretary with rigorous attention to detail and exceptional communication skills. Able to demonstrate knowledge of common computer software and office equipment.
Work experience George Miller Primary School, January 2012–Present
Keep accurate and comprehensive records.
Manage communication for senior staff, including composing letters and replying to emails.
Use office equipment to scan, fax and copy private information.
Answer the phone swiftly, offering information or diverting calls to the appropriate individual.
January 2009–2012, Broadford University
BSc in Business Administration, 2:1
Attention to detail
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