Secretarial Jobs and CVs

What makes a good secretary?

Nowadays, secretarial roles are now seen as successful careers in their own right. Gone are the times of the stereotypical secretary who, everyone thought, just sat and filed their nails, made tea and counted paper clips! Over the years, we’ve seen secretaries being given more and more responsibilities throughout their company, and are now called upon to make critical decisions and hold the business together. They need to ensure that the organisation runs smoothly and that any problems are dealt with quickly and efficiently to cause minimum disruption to staff.

Key skills

  • Customer service – you may be the first point of contact within your organisation and you may also be the first person anyone speaks to. Mention your customer service skills and how you can develop effective client/customer/key stakeholder partnerships at all levels of seniority, managing any problems to reach a mutually agreeable outcome.
  • Communication – it’s important to show your verbal and written communication skills, for example:
    • written – think along the lines of the documents you have created and how you effectively get your point across in written format.
    • verbal – how well you communicate with clients, peers and third parties.

    • listening – if you audio type, take notes at meetings, go on conference/Skype calls with client, or you simply follow instructions, as well as paying attention to client needs, listening is an important part of the communication process.
  • Proofreading and editing – you also need to mention you have a thorough understanding of the English language, including spelling and grammar. It would also be mindful to refer to your proofreading and editing skills as nowadays secretarial staff may also be required to create small amounts of correspondence themselves, including letters, emails and reports.
  • Typing speed – if a job specification mentions a particular speed, make sure you mention this in your CV. There are several online tests you can take if you are not sure. Most employees look for at least 70wpm. Even if the job specification doesn’t state this, it is worth adding in. Also mention any audio typing/dictation work undertaken and software used.
  • Organisational and time management – as a secretary you need to multitask, think on your feet and use your own initiative. You’ll need to effectively manage your time – give examples of how you can prioritise and complete tasks when required.
  • PC literacy – show you have a thorough knowledge of MS packages, including the names of the applications you can use (for example, Word, PowerPoint, Excel). It would also be useful to state that you can learn new systems with ease. A lot of companies have their own bespoke in-house systems for such things as time recording, financial and payroll which you may be required to undertake.
  • Team and autonomous working – you may be part of a department and need to show you can work with all others towards team objectives. In contrast, you also need to show how you can use your own initiative and work autonomously when required.
  • Financial – you may be asked in some roles to take on some financial responsibilities, including preparing expenses and invoices.
  • Other tips for secretarial applications

    Each secretarial jobs is different, even though there are areas that overlap, and you need to create your CV with the job and employer in mind. You should also remember that it isn’t just a matter of adding as many skills as possible. The best CVs add skills (and even achievements) selectively depending upon the job, the circumstances and what the employer is looking for.

    If you would like our help then we would be happy to help you.

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