Personal Assistant Duties and Attributes


THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT ROLE versus THE
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT ROLE

The Personal Assistant role is becoming increasingly similar to the Executive Assistant role as employers become more aware that titles are powerful incentives for employee recruitment and retention. Employers have discovered that they can pay employees less if they offer them a more impressive title. Consequently, many EA jobs could accurately be categorised as PA roles. (See attributes of Executive Assistant role.)

Personal Assistants should fully understand the scope of Personal Assistant duties and the required attributes. If you are considering a career as a corporate Personal Assistant, Senior Secretary or Senior Administrator, you will find the following outline of typical PA skills, goals, objectives and duties useful. They represent the attributes hiring managers and employment agencies look for when filling PA positions; especially PA jobs that command a high salary.


PERSONAL ASSISTANT ATTRIBUTES

The attributes of an effective PA are:
personal assistant, office personnel, secretary, PA, black PA, business wear, - efficient
- discretion
- flexible
- self-motivated
- organised
- proactive
- a good communicator

One of the most important requirements of the PA skill-set is IT literacy. At the very least, PAs should have advanced-level skills in Word for Windows and Microsoft PowerPoint. And at least an intermediate level knowledge of Microsoft Excel.


MAINTAINING PERSONAL ASSISTANT DEVELOPMENT

PAs manage and source resources and conduct research, so they need to be well informed, and internet savvy. They also need to keep up-to-date with the latest office gadgets and industry best practices; therefore, PA refresher training and advanced-level PA training are essential for maintaining the PA's continuous professional development.


WORKING UNDER PRESSURE

Personal Assistants are calm under pressure and capable of thinking on their feet in a crisis. They typically support senior managers, executives and teams. Gone are the days when PAs were dedicated to one boss. Private secretaries, Celebrity Personal Assistants and PAs who work for high-net-worth individuals typically work for one person. But over the past few years PAs have acquired more and more managers, and the diary and inbox management pressures that accompany them. This makes the PA role a highly stressful one, as PAs also have to accommodate special projects and deal with shifting priorities.

PAs should be capable of competently dealing with situations in their boss’s absence and should be confident enough to delegate upwards on their boss's behalf. Maintaining confidentiality is a fundamental requirement of the PA role. And building a strategic partnership with the boss is only possible if PAs keep abreast of the organisations goals and their boss's strategic objectives.


UNDERSTANDING PA DUTIES

Corporate Personal Assistant positions demand competence and skill at performing the following duties:

- reading, monitoring and responding to your boss's email,
- answering calls and liaising with clients competently,
- preparing correspondence on your boss's behalf,
- delegating work in your boss's absence,
- diary management,
- planning and organising meetings,
- organising travel and preparing complex travel itineraries,
- attending meetings on your boss's behalf,
- taking action points and writing minutes,
- preparing papers for meetings,
- taking dictation,
- planning and organising events,
- conducting research,
- drafting communications on your boss's behalf,
- preparing presentations,
- managing and reviewing filing and office systems,
- typing documents,
- sourcing and ordering stationery and office equipment,
- managing projects,

The above list is not exhaustive - the scope of the Personal Assistant role can be wide and varied.

As mentioned above, the Personal Assistant title and the Executive Assistant title are sometimes used interchangeably. But generally speaking, the senior Executive Assistant role is a middle management role that demands a good grasp of business operations.


MORE ARTICLES

Persuading Executives to Give PAs the Training They Deserve

The Executive Assistant role


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SEE ALSO:

Go to Executive Assistant Duties

Go to How to Build a Good Relationship With Your Boss

Go to How to Deal With Difficult People

Go to Job Burnout

Go to Personal Assistant Coach/Mentor

Go to Performance Appraisals

Go to Time Management

Go to How to Get a Pay Rise

Go to How to Write a PA Resume

Go to Tips For Dealing With Job Loss

Go to How to Prepare For an In-tray Exercise

Go to The 40 Most Common Job Interview Questions

Go to Writing Minutes of Meetings




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