You’ve reached a point in your administrative career where it’s time to either move upward or onward. However, you’re having a difficult time getting started. Should you look for a job in a new industry? Do you try to make the leap from being a receptionist to an assistant at another company? Or, should you pursue growth opportunities at your current company?
“These are all important questions to ask yourself before embarking on a job search,” says Britney Acquaire, a Senior Staffing Manager within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support division. “While it may be tempting to dive right in, taking the time to define your goals and get organized is well worth the extra effort. Not only will this help you narrow in on the right opportunities for your career, but it can help you avoid making mistakes when applying for jobs.”
Here are four job search tips to successfully navigate the job market and land a new position in office support:
Be aware of your background and skillset
While preparing for your job search, it’s important to understand what type of roles your background and skillset make you qualified for. “Keep your skillset and experience in mind when applying for jobs,” says Britney. “If you are going to apply for a specific position, pay close attention to the role’s specifics and be sure you feel comfortable with the day-to-day responsibilities. For example, if you can’t jump into the position with little to no training, this opportunity might be too high of a reach for you.”
It’s perfectly okay to pursue roles that offer more challenges, however, you need to ensure your goals are realistic based on your skillset. Breaking down your long-term career goals into smaller, more attainable goals, for example, is one way to put you on the path to developing the skills you need to make that big career leap.
Leverage your soft skills
Though your technical skills are important to landing an interview, the hiring manager will be looking out for signs you would work well with the team or executive you’d be supporting. Strategically highlighting your soft skills and/or personality traits throughout the hiring process can show employers you’re the right fit. “When thinking about the soft skills you’ve developed throughout your time as an administrative professional, try to find concrete experience and accomplishments that you can tie in with these skills,” says Britney. “Certain characteristics such as your ability to be a critical thinker and a strong leader, for example, can be useful to share with your future employers.”
Tailor your resume
Tailoring your resume to jobs you are applying for will not only help you organize your background and experience but will also help show you meet the job’s requirements. This is especially important if you are applying to jobs online, where many employers use applicant tracking systems to search for candidates with the right skills for the role. “When tailoring your resume to a specific job, be sure to list all technical skills on your resume even if they seem simple,” advises Britney. “For example, proficiency in Microsoft Office is a skill that many admins leave off their resume because they think it’s implied. Even if it seems obvious, err on the side of caution and include the skill on your resume.”
Utilize temporary opportunities
As an administrative professional, keeping your skillset current can be critical to your overall success. Considering a temporary assignment in your job search can open doors to new industries, giving you more flexibility while you assess your career needs. “Temporary opportunities can help you build the skills you need to transition into a new role,” says Britney. “Even if you’re in between jobs, it’s more beneficial to build your resume and keep your skills fresh through temporary opportunities instead of searching while unemployed.”