Think you’ve got what it takes to be a PA?
Where would the rich and the powerful be without their personal assistants? The answer is lost; turning up to meetings late, missing important phone calls and forgetting to prepare for big presentations.
As Daryl Hall once said; “If you take a bunch of superstars and put them in a room where they don’t have their assistants, it’s funny to see what happens.” The truth is not a lot, because much of what they do is reliant upon the organisational skills of their trusty PAs.
Although, personal assistants have become synonymous with the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, only a small fraction will be tending to the whimsical demands of celebrities. More commonly personal assistants are found within big organisations, ensuring that the busy work schedules of senior professionals run smoothly and without a hitch.
The role of the office-based personal assistant is to work closely with the boss and to help out with whatever needs doing. This can range from managing a diary, to typing up reports and more menial tasks, such as, popping out to get coffee. It’s a job that requires you are able to turn your hand to anything and remain calm and collected in the process.
Being a PA has a lot to offer. It’s a dynamic, often fast-paced job role, with good potential in terms of career progression. With experience will come more responsibilities and the opportunity to train within different areas of expertise. It’s a job that’s both challenging and rewarding and, in which, no two days are the same.
While this makes it an exciting prospect; it also requires that you have certain fundamental skills in place, with which to succeed in the profession.
Here are a few tips for anyone thinking about becoming a personal assistant:
1. First and foremost, you will need to have excellent organisational skills. It will fall on you to ensure that a hectic, and sometimes confusing workload, is conducted effectively and efficiently.
2. A high level of skills within all means of communication is essential. This includes both spoken and written, on the phone and over email. It is likely that you will be required to correspond with many different people on a daily basis; so it is imperative that you are equipped to do so in the correct manner.
3. You will need the ability to multi-task and to be adaptable and flexible in the event of unforeseen complications. However much you plan ahead, there always needs to be room for error and this is something that a PA will have to deal with on a regular basis.
4. A sound knowledge of general office-based skills is a mandatory requirement. This includes, being IT literate, understanding basic processes and keeping up-to-date with the latest software and technology.
5. You need to be someone who thrives under pressure and isn’t fazed by long working hours or being called upon at short notice. Diplomacy and discretion are also desirable traits, as working with certain individuals can really put a person’s good nature to the test. As is the case with any job, it takes a certain type of person to be good at what they do, whilst enjoying it at the same time.