Having a CV that accurately describes your experience and qualifications and reflects your personality is a pivotal part of the job-hunting process. Your CV is your introduction to a future employer, and in this article, we discuss the best ways to present yourself to try and increase your chances of success.

What Does A Typical Executive Assistant (EA) Role Entail?

An executive assistant role generally supports one or two senior executives within a business. Duties tend to be business-focused and cover all administrative support, allowing the executives more time to focus on the needs of the company.

Understanding the details of the role you are applying for will allow you to focus on the relevant duties when putting together your CV. It is important to highlight the tasks the employer is looking for in roles you have performed previously to show your suitability for the role.

Key tasks often include:

·        Calendar management, scheduling meetings and coordinating appointments.

·        Coordinate travel arrangements, including flights, hotel reservations and ground transportation.

·        Prepare reports, presentations and correspondence.

·        Conduct research.

·        Handle confidential information with discretion.

·        Communicate with internal and external stakeholders courteously and professionally.

·        Plan and organise events.

·        Manage and prioritise incoming communication, including email, phone calls and mail.

·        Organise and maintain files, records and other documentation.

·        Assist with special projects and ad-hoc assignments as required.

Here is an example of a typical executive assistant job description.

 What Are The Key Elements of an Effective EA CV?

  • Your CV must be easy to read, with clear and concise language.
  • Keep it to 2 A4 pages. Any longer, and you may lose the reader.
  • Use the same font and format throughout.
  • Ensure all dates are correct and written in the same format.
  • Check all bullet points. Either they have full stops at the end, or they don’t; you want to avoid a mixture of both.
  • Double-check for grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Highlight any internal promotions – this is always attractive and reflects well.
  • Briefly explain any long gaps in unemployment.
  • Be careful what you include in hobbies and interests; shopping or going to the pub might not be as attractive as keeping fit and reading!
  • Summarise your education – there is no need to list every GCSE you achieved.
  • Ensure your contact details are accurate. 

What Sections Should An EA CV Include?

Including clear headings should help break up the CV and make it easier to read.

Here are the sections you should include:

·        Include your name and contact details (including email address) prominently at the top so you are easily contactable.

·        Profile or Introduction – keep this brief and focused on the role you are applying to.

·        Employment History – list roles chronologically, with the most recent first.

·        Education – if you are a junior candidate with limited experience, you may want to put your education first as this will be more relevant.

·        Qualifications / Achievements.

·        Interests / Additional Information.

How To Craft a Compelling Summary? 

Writing a summary can be tricky. Often summaries are too generic, which doesn’t add value to the specific role you are applying to. Beware of sentences such as ‘I am looking for a role in the creative sector’ if the role you are applying for is in the corporate sector. If in doubt, keep it short and to the point. 

Remember that if you are being introduced via a recruitment agency, they will also include an introductory profile for you, so there is no need to say too much.

An example could be:

A first-class graduate with 5 years EA experience supporting at C suite level, working in the financial services and technology sectors. I have developed a wide range of skills and am used to adapting my working style to the executives I am assisting. I have a proven track record of success working in fast-paced environments, and in both of my previous roles, I have received internal promotions. A focused and self-motivated assistant with excellent personal and communication skills. Seeking personal and professional development in a challenging and rewarding role.  

What Are The Key Skills To Highlight For An EA Role?

Different EA roles will require different skills. However, attention to detail, organisation, and communication are often some of the most essential attributes clients look for. 

You can easily highlight your attention to detail and writing skills with a well-laid-out and clear CV, and this can be a first test! 

Skills in addition to this include:

  • Time management.
  • The ability to prioritise.
  • The ability to multitask.
  • Emotional intelligence.

It isn’t always easy to get across your skillset in a CV, and listing them often isn’t enough. 

For the skills section, highlight duties where you have had to use these skills, which can be a better way to show your capabilities. 

For example, don’t just include diary management as a duty. Highlight how many people you supported and at what level, showing the reader the depth of support you provided. Being able to provide support at the senior level will showcase that you had to be organised and multi-task in the role.

Another example could be: don’t just include booking travel as a duty. Expand on this to booking international multi-stop trips across time zones, often with last-minute changes. This again suggests you pay close attention to detail, are organised, and can work to deadlines.

How To Detail Your Employment History

For a work experience section, put all employment in chronological order, with the most recent at the top. You want the reader to be drawn to this as it is usually the most relevant information, so having it on page one is important. 

  • Ensure all dates and titles are formatted in the same way so there are no inconsistencies throughout the CV.
  • Highlight any promotions, but make it clear when they are internal – too much movement on the CV is not attractive. 
  • If a role is short term, perhaps it is temporary or contract, do also highlight that.
  • Bullet-point your duties so they are easy to read and can be scanned. This breaks up a large amount of text where you could lose the reader. 
  • You don’t need to include every last duty. An overview will allow the reader to get a feel for the role and the level of EA support you provided. 

Remember, a hiring manager can always go into greater detail at the interview stage if there is anything specific they are keen to know.

Why Is It Important to Emphasise A Proven Track Record?

An EA role usually works very closely with one or two main principles where the assistant has full access to their day-to-day working life. Therefore, trust is an important factor. Showing your proven track record in previous roles will build confidence and reassure the hirer that you are a tried and tested and reliable potential employee. 

Solid tenures in roles will highlight that you have a proven track record, and internal promotions, especially when you have been promoted with your boss, suggest they can’t work without you!

If you lack work experience, this doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot show you have a proven track record. There are other examples you can use to highlight your commitment or success in a previous role that can showcase these skills—any part-time roles you carried out alongside your studies or commitment to a charity or sports team. Showing you can dedicate yourself to something will reassure the hiring manager that you won’t let them down and that you are a reliable candidate.

What Additional Sections Should You Include? 

In addition to employment, a CV can tell the reader much more about you through the additional sections. These include education, certifications, and skills like languages or software proficiency. Interests can also allow you to showcase your CV and be a talking point at the interview stage. 

Remember that you must not embellish the truth at any stage on your CV. Most companies do thorough background checks and referencing, and an offer of employment can be retracted if there are inconsistencies.

Final Tips For Writing A Stand-Out EA CV

  • Customise your CV for each potential employer. 
  • Match your skills and experiences to the job description.
  • Avoid information overload.
  • Proofread.
  • Ensure contact details are up to date.
  • Be concise and focused.
  • Seek feedback and continuously update your CV.
  • Consider writing a cover letter if not being represented by a recruitment agency.

A Strong EA CV Is Really Important To Secure Your Ideal Role

Writing a strong CV can be time-consuming, but it is one of the most important documents you will compose. You want to ensure you are presented in the most attractive and accurate way to any future employer and open up as many opportunities as possible. You can access a free EA CV template, ready for you to customise here. 

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