You Might Be Hurting Your Chances at Getting a Job

Julie Shenkman
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If you've applied for numerous administrative assistant jobs without any luck, it's time to look at your approach to the application and interview process. Resume mistakes, uninformative, bland cover letters, and bad interview skills all hurt your chances of getting a job. By reviewing your process, identifying areas of improvement, and making necessary changes, you increase your chances of landing the administrative assistant job you want.

Write a Killer Cover Letter

Your cover letter, or introductory email, is typically the first thing a potential employer sees when reviewing your application. This is your first impression. It needs to impress, and everything from the length of the letter to overselling yourself can hurt your chances of getting a job.

A well-written cover letter shouldn’t be too short or too long. Determine the length of your cover letter by the method you are using to send it to the hiring manager. Limit introductory emails to two paragraphs and cover letters to between three and five paragraphs.

What your cover letter says and the way it’s worded also matters. Write a strong opening sentence, address the hiring manager by name, if possible, and highlight any applicable skills you have. Use your cover letter to sell yourself to the hiring manager, but be careful not to sound arrogant. Focus on how your job skills and experience fulfill the company’s needs, instead of focusing entirely on yourself.

Get Your Resume Noticed

Your resume needs to stand out because employers receive a multitude of applications for administrative assistant jobs.

When you write your resume:

  • Use bulleted lists instead of paragraphs.
  • Include dates of employment for previous positions.
  • Give specific details.
  • Highlight your accomplishments, not your job duties and responsibilities.
  • Include your contact information.
  • Remove irrelevant information.

You don’t need to include every detail of your previous jobs. Instead, consider the skills and attributes employers are looking for when hiring for administrative assistant jobs, and highlight any accomplishments you have pertaining to these skills.

Ace the Interview

Employers want to fill administrative assistant jobs with friendly people who have good social skills. By turning your phone interview into a conversation, you give the interviewer a better idea of your personality. Throughout the interview, you should:

  • Use active listening skills to show that you’re paying attention.
  • Respond to questions professionally.
  • Ask questions.

Landing a face-to-face interview indicates that an employer is interested in hiring you. Prepare for your interview by:

  • Dressing professionally.
  • Arriving on time.
  • Turning off mobile devices.
  • Being prepared to answer questions.
  • Preparing questions to ask during your interview.

Competition for administrative assistant jobs is fierce, so the last thing you want to do is make a small mistake that hurts your chances of landing the job. By writing a compelling cover letter and resume that are relevant to administrative assistant jobs and preparing for interviews before the scheduled time, you’ll increase your odds landing the position.


(Photo courtesy of stockimages /


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