If you are considering moving out of a secretarial role, or you’re just about to begin on the career ladder, you might be wondering whether becoming a personal assistant is for you. Here, we ask the experts at Attic Recruitment to provide some insight into the different tasks personal assistants (PAs) have to complete in a variety of different businesses, and explain why the role of a personal assistant is so much more important than many realise.
What is a Personal Assistant?
A personal assistant student is somebody who works closely with senior members of staff in a variety of different tasks. Typically, they will deal with the day to day administration tasks that will make it easier for senior management to concentrate on the essential role they need to undertake. A personal assistant may also be called an executive assistant and they will likely be the manager’s “right hand person” who they rely on to give them information, arrange things for them, and eventually, instinctively know how to manage the manager’s work life effectively.
What Tasks Does a Personal Assistant Cover?
The tasks you will be expected to complete as a PA will vary depending on the business you are working in. We have listed a variety of tasks below that you may be asked to perform:
- Dealing with incoming email and post and telephone calls, and highlighting important requests to your manager. You may also have to screen telephone calls from those who your manager does not need to speak to and distribute mail that your manager should not have to handle.
- Meeting and greeting those who come to meet your manager. You may also be involved with setting up appointments with these people, on behalf of your manager.
- Carrying out research on a project your manager is involved with and presenting the findings.
- Delegating work to other members of staff where appropriate.
- Producing presentations, reports and briefings on topics your manager has asked you to look at.
- Organising meetings, including ensuring refreshments are available, and each person attending is aware of what the meeting is about, which may include producing an agenda. You may also have to take minutes of such meetings
- Liaising with staff, clients and suppliers on the manager’s behalf.
- Maintaining office systems, such as data management and filing.
- Arranging travel for your manager, which may involve arranging visas, accommodation and flights. You may also be asked to attend an event alongside your manager.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Good PA?
Along with the required technical skills relating to the business you’re working in, such as finance, sales, or accounts, for example, you will also require a multitude of soft skills. A good PA requires skills in organisation, communication and effective time management. Managers also rely on their personal assistant for a variety of sometimes-confidential tasks so they will need to trust the personal assistant to be discreet and understand the importance of confidentiality in matters relating to the business.
It is also essential for a PA to be able to multitask. It is likely that this role will be a dynamic one, and you may be pulled away from one task to deal with a more pressing matter. The ability to manage your own workload effectively and delegate where appropriate is a vital part of most PAs’ roles.
If this insight has given you an interest in becoming a PA, and you have the skills needed to succeed, there are sure to be plenty of managers looking for a candidate like you to help them do their job better.