Most resumes are of the “chronological” variety, listing your most recent work experience first and then providing a historic account of your career. A functional resume is an option if you want to highlight particular skills, have a break in your career, are returning to work after a long absence, or are entering the workforce as a recent graduate. Professionally done, a functional resume can help you to stand out in the applicant pool.
Format and Structure
A one-page resume is best with a basic font, such as Times New Roman, and minimal bold and italic embellishments. Study the job description and arrange your resume under skill headings, putting those that you consider the most important first. For example, the first heading might be “Communication and organization.” Depending on the job, another heading might be "Finance and accounting." Use examples from your work and home life to highlight your expertise, whether it be while volunteering in the local community or as a contributor to a student organization.
Use Action Words
Use action words to describe the tasks you have undertaken. For example, “Developed a contractor database” is more impressive for an administrative assistant candidate than the passive “Database development.” The former implies that you were responsible and took control of the work. "Managed conference logistics" is a way to own a project task rather than "coordinated conference scheduling." Consider that your resume may be screened by keyword software, so use words that appear in the job description to describe your experience. Format your resume simply so that it is digital-friendly.
Technology and Social Media
Whether you have been working from home or looking after elderly family members, the chances are that you have been involved in social media platforms and keeping up with new communication technology. An administrative assistant who is able to communication via social platforms and understands their use in the workplace will function effectively with staff who work remotely or in the office environment. Show any relevant networks that you might belong to and develop a professional presence on social media network sites, such as "LinkedIn," and include these in your resume.
Management of household finances and juggling competing family commitments add up to significant project management experience. Be creative and consider your day-to-day talents and your ability to multi-task as an administrative assistant. Summarizing your work experience chronologically at the bottom of the resume can answer any questions that an employer may have about your history. Add your education and any additional training and certifications. Most importantly, proofread your resume and cover letter for grammar and spelling errors. Make sure your contact information is clear at the top and includes your postal address, your e-mail address and relevant telephone numbers.
Caroline Banton has more than 14 years of experience in the communications and publishing fields, working in global development and finance. Her articles have covered business, economics and recruitment, among other topics. Banton holds an M.B.A. in marketing management.