Personal Assistant (PA) Job Description
Job description of Personal Assistant (PA)
Learn Life and Management as a Celebrity Personal Assistant (PA)
Tips from The Experts: How Can I Be the Best Personal Assistant (PA)?
When people hear about my experience as a celebrity personal assistant, most think one of two things: 1. Wow, cool! You got to work closely with a celebrity! 2. Do you have any horror stories à la The Devil Wears Prada? While it is cool to work alongside someone well known and respected in their field and I do have my fair share of scary stories, I like to remind people that being a personal assistant takes a certain unique set of skills. You have to be incredibly organized, detail-oriented, and on top of everything—always.
Here are some of the strategies that the best personal assistants practice and can work wonders in your everyday life.
You are never going to be able to manage that growing stack of papers unless you set up an organization system. Yes, there is an initial time investment where you will have to spend an hour or two sifting through the stack, sorting health insurance papers from work documents, etc., but this is a onetime thing. File everything in clearly labeled manila folders or envelopes. The next time you have paperwork, don’t start a pile to be dealt with at a later time. Immediately put the document in the properly labeled folder. It takes two seconds now rather than another two hours later!
This same technique can be applied to your email inbox. Create a system for managing emails that works for you. Here’s mine: I have a bunch of folders that pertain to specific aspects of my life: finances, fitness, health, recipes, etc. When I’ve responded to an email, I delete it, or if it has useful information that I may need to refer to in the future (say image guidelines from my editor at MyDomaine), I move it to the relevant file (“MyDomaine” in this case). Emails that I still need to answer are left in my inbox.
Lists are an essential
Lists are an essential part of every personal assistant’s life. There are daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists, contact lists, and inventory lists. When it comes to managing them, Google is the best resource. It’s my preferred method of storing information because it can be reached from any computer anywhere in the world. If you send a lot of emails to the same groups of people, make a group in your contacts, such as Immediate Family, Extended Family, A-List Friends, etc. Then you won’t have to type out everyone’s name in the email field each time; you can simply send it to the whole group. Build a master Google spreadsheet with all of your passwords and log-ins. Create inventories of groceries and home goods. Each time I go to the grocery store, I print out the inventory and circle the items that need to be purchased. Same goes for a Target.
Google Calendar is another crucial tool. Put everything on your calendar: appointments, meetings, reminders, birthdays, etc. I often refer back to the calendar to cross-check bills (did I really go to the doctor on this day?) or figure out what I was doing on a certain date. It’s also helpful for managing work and social events. Seeing all of my weeknight activities on the calendar a couple of weeks in advance reminds me to make arrangements or otherwise prepare for certain events.
This is sort of a no-brainer, but when my boss is talking, I’ve got a clipboard with blank pages in one hand and a pen in the other. I’ll take vigorous notes of everything that is said, then later translate those notes into to-do lists or add them to the big project list.
Even if your schedule is hectic and your day-to-day tasks change constantly, try to establish a few routines. They offer some comfort that can help alleviate stress. Even if it’s something trivial like “every Tuesday I go to Whole Foods” or “every other Thursday, I go to Target,” some stability in your workday makes you feel productive and keeps you focused on the task at hand.
Answering a large quantity of emails is tedious, and if you find yourself writing the same sort of emails over and over again, set up a signature for it. For example, if you’re always asking for a mailing address, create a generic signature that says, “Hello blank, we would like to mail you a blank but can’t find your mailing address on file. Can you please email it to me as soon as possible?” Then when writing the email, all you have to do is choose your address signature, fill in the blanks, and hit send. This works well if you have to deal with a high volume of RSVPs.
Being a personal assistant means that you know everything about someone’s personal life, but they probably know very little about yours. There’s also little to no work/life balance when a person essentially depends on you to do everything from remember their passwords to email travel information to their family. This sort of relationship is fragile, and oftentimes the personal assistant gets the short end of the stick. Mean texts, emails, and voicemails are common, but good PAs don’t take them personally. They know that nine times out of 10, their employer is upset about something that has nothing to do with the assistant or the job the assistant is doing. Learning to apply this same mind-set to your work and personal relationships will make you stronger and more relaxed!
Being a personal assistant means that you know everything about Boss
- Always think ahead. Ask yourself, What's happening next in my manager's life, and how can I prep for it? "I love it when my staff makes my life easier," says Emma Bengtsson, executive chef at Aquavit in New York City. "I'm preternaturally happy when the walk-in fridge has been organized for the day without [my] mentioning it." When she was an assistant, Amy Peck, now the chief culture officer at SoulCycle, developed a Sunday-night habit of reviewing her boss's schedule for the week ahead. "I'd ask myself what facts she might need, like the time, location, dress code, other attendees, and what research I could do to help her walk into meetings like a hero." Peck then summarized the information in her boss's online calendar and handed off background materials in a labeled folder that could be read en route.
- End the day on a high note. Consider what more can be done at the end of the day before retreating to check your texts for the evening's social plans, adds Christine Kovner, PhD, a professor of geriatric nursing at New York University College of Nursing. "In a home-care setting, that might mean a nurse aide taking a patient's vital signs before the visiting nurse arrives or laying out patients' medications for review," she says.
- Keep it classy/ Be discreet with insider info, including on social media. "Violate your boss's trust and your career could come to a screeching halt," says Anita Bruzzese, author of 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy. "One legal assistant I know carried a file with her wherever she went, even to the break room. If someone tried to gossip, she would gesture at the file and say, 'Sorry, I'm supposed to be taking care of this. Got to go!'"
- Get your hands dirty. A great assistant is never too cool to fix a paper jam, make a Starbucks run, or do whatever dues-paying tasks are required. Showing others that you're a hard-working team player will lead them to give you more strategic work, says Alexandra Levit, author of They Don't Teach Corporate in College. "The better you are, the more quickly you'll get promoted out of it," she explains. (But you don't want to be pigeonholed as a helper elf just because you're a woman, cautions Bruzzese. Be wary of taking on office housework that male coworkers at your level are not doing.)
- Be a buffer. Making your supervisor's day go smoothly means prioritizing tasks and, yes, people for him —which calls he should take, when he can be interrupted, and whom to decline politely. "You're the gatekeeper and the filter," says Rachel Terrace, a senior vice president of brand management at Beanstalk. "Ask for a VIP list with names of people who always get time." Carving out time for personal matters — like knowing when to block off his calendar for his kids' school performance — will also impress.
- Learn to bounce back. Everyone has bad days, including your manager. She might have a migraine, be thinking about a fight with her husband, or have screwed up in a way that will upset her own supervisor … and then you came into orbit. "Assistants will often be on the receiving end of a variety of boss frustrations, which is why you can't take them all personally," Levit says. Think of it as practice for when the criticism actually isfor you. "People who try to implement suggested changes rather than making excuses master the learning curve faster and become invaluable," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
- Make allies everywhere. Ask for tough-to-access things in a way that makes others want to help you, says Joanna Marcovici, a marketing executive in Toronto. "An assistant asked me for box seats at a sports event — not for hosting clients, but for a kid's party — and she did it so nicely, I actually wanted to deliver." Show an interest in other people's lives. "Ask them, 'How was that product launch the other day? That vacation to Peru? Your cat?'" says Marcovici. Then move into a sympathetic remark that reinforces you're on the same team. "'I know how hard you guys work. You must be ready for a break.'" Rather than seeing gate-keepers as roadblocks, see them as contacts — people who might be helpful when it's time to find the next job.
- Help your boss look thoughtful. Your manager probably cares about icing-on-the-cake details but has a limited amount of time to see them through. You can help her be as conscientious as she really wants to be. Offer to reply to long-outstanding emails or ask your boss if she'd like you to send some flowers on her behalf to an ill or bereaved colleague. "A great assistant acts as an ambassador for the vibe their boss wants to present to the world," says Caroline Webb, a former McKinsey partner and author of How to Have a Good Day. Those small touches will reflect well on your employer — and on you.
Learn How to Stay Organised as a Personal Assistant.
Modern personal assistants have come a long way from secretaries working in typing pools. These days, a personal assistant is more likely to be involved in making key decisions, even managing budgets. Personal assistants now work with chief executives and, in some cases, perform roles on their behalf.
The increased job spec of personal assistants can be traced back to the economic downturn of the 2000’s, which caused many employers to reduce staff numbers. Secretaries that were retained were required to work for more than one executive, occasionally taking on roles that were traditionally assigned to middle management. The average PA now juggles booking meetings, running their own team, or conducting meetings on their boss’s behalf.
Successfully handling all these requires quite a broad skill-set, including being efficient, flexible, self-motivated, proactive, a good communicator – and much more. But of all the skills required to be excellent at their jobs, personal assistants find that being organised offers the most benefits.
After all, what’s the point of being efficient if you make sure your boss shows up to the right conference meeting but on the wrong day?
A modern PA’s role is pretty diverse; one day they may be assisting one executive with personal tasks, the next they may be making business travel arrangements for a different person. They are constantly pulled in so many different directions, that the only way to get anything done is to stay organised.
But how do you do that, exactly? To help you get started, here are my top 5 organisational and time management tips for personal assistants.
Develop your system
With your boss relying on you to get it right every time, how can you make sure that you remember every vital detail? The best way to do that is to develop a system that works for you.
Adopt the principle of “touching everything only once”. This means that you process documents as soon as they are received. Read it, process it, and file it away – never allow documents to pile up on your desk or in your inbox.
Grouping similar messages or documents together will also make them easier to retrieve later, but you can store them in a way that suits you best. Whether it’s using simple colour-coded folders or using an IFTT system to sort incoming email, developing your system now can save you hours later.
If you need some tips on how to do this, Activia has a detailed guide on why developing and sticking to a system is important and how you can get started and get the most out of your day.
Write everything down
Whether it’s notes, ideas, or plans, always make sure to write down everything. Unfortunately, no matter how smart we think we are, we’re only human. At some point, we’re bound to forget or mix up details.
In order to avoid this, make calendars, post-its, and notebooks your new best friends. Whether you are using an electronic device or putting pen to paper; make sure you take notes and write down everything.
Writing details down provides a record you can track and double-check whenever needed, and it also allows you to cross items off your list once they get completed. Ticking them off provides a proof of progress and makes you feel good for getting things done.
Automate as much as you can
Personal robot assistants haven’t arrived yet (Siri doesn’t count), but you can still use technology to your advantage. The Internet is filled with productivity tools, browser extensions and apps you can use to manage your daily tasks more effectively.
Want to ramp it up a notch? Enter the world of IFTTT recipes. These can help you automate the most tedious tasks, such as backing up your files as you work or scheduling recurring events. While there are no dedicated personal assistant apps, you can pick and choose based on your needs.
Stay one step ahead
With your boss relying on you to keep their general affairs in order, it’s important that you always stay a few steps ahead. To avoid missing important deadlines, remind yourself one week and again a few days before they are due.
With your boss’s permission, you can also copy their appointments into your phone or personal planner. With your calendars in sync, you can remind them of any upcoming appointments or commitments.
Apps and other task management software are your wingmen in the journey to staying organised; take the time to find the ones you like and use them.
Getting and staying organised has a big impact on how productive you’ll be at your job. Don’t buy into the hype that a cluttered workspace is the sign of a creative person. If your desk is so cluttered that you actually lose things on it, it’s time for a spring clean.
It’s time to ditch the “but I know where everything is” excuses. Clutter means you’ll take longer to find things and get your tasks done. If you have to, get more storage in to help you stay organised.
The same goes for your inbox. Do you dread logging into your email accounts? The rule of “handling each item only once” also applies here. Bothered by unimportant emails? Most email clients allow you set up rules that will filter your email. Take time out to set these rules up once, and you’ll never be bothered again.
Learn The Ways to Be the Best Assistant Ever.
Here's how to make yourself positively indispensable.
If you've ever found yourself saying, "I am stretched so thin with all the projects on my plate and sometimes it feels like getting help from an assistant isn't a help, but rather it's like adding another to-do to my plate" then these 10 tips will help.
I get it. On the one hand you say, "I know I need help managing the details and leveraging my time." But on the other, handing off more to your personal assistant takes time and effort too--especially in the beginning as you train him or her.
I want to share 10 concrete tips to help you more effectively leverage your personal assistant so you can get more done in less time.
- Have ONE (1) project list on which your assistant tracks everythingyou give him or her to do.
- Don't try to manage deliverables by email. Instead have your assistant have one excel spreadsheet where he or she puts everything.Make sure that your assistant--not you--owns the project list, and that everything (did I say everything) that he or she is doing for you gets on that list. This way you can trust that nothing will slip through the cracks because you've got one master list.
On my assistant's Project List spreadsheet there are 3 tabs:
– Active Projects
– Archived Projects (ones that are completed)
– Recurring Projects (tasks that happen over and over again each day, week, or month)
The project list has the following columns:
- Priority (1,2,3): The rule being, "Never do a 3 when you have uncompleted 2's; never do a 2 when you have uncompleted 1's you could work on."
- Project / Task : This is what you've asked your assistant to do.
- Date Assigned
- Date Due
- Status: Rather than have your assistant keep his or her notes on scraps of paper, get them to put them all on the Project List.E.g. "Talked with Martin at Acme Shipping at 10:15am on Friday September 4thand he confirmed that full shipment will be on road today and arriving by 4pm on Wednesday September 9th.")
- Use color to make finding new information instant.
I have my assistant put all new information she inputs in RED font. That way I can go straight to the new inputs and ignore what I've already reviewed prior. When I've read it I turn her red into BLACK. If I want to add something new, I put my new in BLUE, which I know she's read when she's turned my blue into BLACK again.
- Record your key "delegation meetings" for your assistant to review.
About once a week I'll sit down with my assistant for 45-60 minutes to both go over her project list and to hand her more projects and tasks.As you can imagine, that's a lot of information coming at your assistant in one sitting. So she has her recorder going and after the meeting, she goes back through her notes to compare them to the recording so that she captures everything.
I've found this one tip alone has made a big difference for both of us. My assistant remarked to me at one point that while she originally felt like my insistence on her listening to the recording after we met was frustrating, but after a few months of doing it she found it incredibly helpful and reassuring for her that she captured everything into her Project List.
- Have an organized system to capture your delegation items for your assistant.
For me, I've learned that the fastest way to capture tasks and projects for my assistant to do is to have three places I capture items:A) In email (I use the "categories" and "quick steps" functions in Outlook to just flag an email for her to: do, add to an appointment, add to my contacts, or discuss with me.)
- B) In a desk file. (This is where I put the scraps of paper or physical items that I will use to remind me to hand off to her.)
- C) On a written "Assistant" delegation list. (I keep mine in a notebook at the side of my desk.)
- You must be able to trust and train your assistant to filter your inbox.
This is a tough one for many business executives. They are afraid of what their assistant will see. My belief is that if you have the right assistant, with a clear understanding on confidentiality, they will be more than mature enough to handle your inbox with discretion and intelligence.Your assistant won't be able to handle every email you get, but with some training over time, they will be able to handle 20-50% of what comes in. This means they'll save you 30-120 minutes a day -every day--by screening your inbox before you get to it!
- Set up an "assistant handled" subfolder that you use to train your assistant to handle your email the way you like.
Every time my assistant answers or handles an email for me, she moves it into a folder called "Assistant Handled." Once or twice a day I do a quick scan through that folder and see what she's done there. When I see items that I think I should be handling not her, I flag it as "Leave in Inbox" or mark it to "Discuss with me". This way over time she gets better and better at learning exactly how I want her to handle my email.Because I know she's reviewed anything in the "Assistant Handled" folder, I can scan it much faster trusting that she's likely caught any critical emails earlier (which she would either leave in my inbox or asked me about if she didn't know how to handle.)
- If you must have a private email, set up a second email account that you access via webmail.
- Have your assistant sign a robust confidentiality agreement.
This one is fairly self-explanatory. The biggest reason for this is that it gives you a clear way to discuss the importance of discretion. You need to explain to him or her that they'll see things in the company that other people don't know. They must be adult about it and not gossip or share inside news.
- Let your assistant babysit any tech support you need for your office.
No more watching over the shoulder over the I.T. guy, your assistant is there to handle this.Alli schedules most of the tech support for my office when I'm traveling so that when I come back the list of both fixes and preventative maintenance has happened and I just walk in and get right to work, producing value for the company.
- BONUS TIP: Have your assistant build the "system" for being a great assistant for you.
Over time you'll likely have multiple assistants work for you.It is unrealistic to think you won't ever have to bring on a new assistant. So make from the point of hire one of the key responsibilities of your assistant to create the system of how to be a great assistant for you. Not only does this build depth into your office, but it also helps your assistant become a better assistant for you faster.
Tips to Leverage Your Personal Assistant to Get More Done in Less Time.
Qualities Every Great Personal Assistant Should Have.
Finding and placing quality personal assistants is one of Pavillion Agency’s staffing specialties. A personal assistant is someone who helps an employer manage various details of his or her business or personal life. How does one go about becoming a standout NYC Personal Assistant? Here are some of the most important qualities that employers and a personal assistant agency will look for in potential applicants:
Proactive approach: Employers don’t want to hold their assistant’s hand. They want to lay the foundation for someone else to figure it out and do it efficiently. This often takes time to learn, but taking a proactive approach to your work and your responsibilities is the first step. The ability to anticipate your boss’s needs, prioritize the tasks assigned to you, and follow through on everything is a personal assistant’s most important quality. You need to be able to show excellent judgment when decision-making; your role, in essence, is to take care of anything and everything that might distract your employer from the work he or she needs to focus on. Once you get to know your employer, it will be easier to act on his or her behalf.
Interpersonal relationship skills: A personal assistant will encounter a variety of people over the course of any given workday. To succeed in this field, you will need to have the perfect combination of an outgoing, agreeable personality and great communication skills, whether on the phone, in person, or via email. Because you are representing your employer, you should appear to the public as an extension of that person; this means you must be well-mannered, calm, and courteous at all times, even in unpleasant circumstances. A great personal assistant has mastered the skill of remaining polite while stressed; he or she is also able to seamlessly balance courtesy with assertiveness when the situation demands it.
Flexibility: A personal assistant’s job is naturally more hectic than most. Because your work will require you to support your employer’s personal needs as well as his or her professional needs, you’ll need to be able to juggle disparate tasks effectively. You will often be subjected to unexpected, last-minute changes; a good personal assistant will be able to adapt to these changes quickly and happily. If you are unable to control your stress level when plans go awry, this may not be the career for you.
Organizational skills: A personal assistant’s obligations often include tasks such as scheduling appointments, handling his or her employer’s calendar, answering the phone, and taking messages, among many other disparate responsibilities that often require precise attention. A great personal assistant has excellent time-management skills and is confident in his or her ability to organize and prioritize urgent assignments.
Tech-savvy: This skill becomes more essential every day; you can no longer perform a personal assistant’s most basic duties without being well-versed in computer systems and programs. Whether you are scheduling appointments, writing reports, performing Internet research, booking flights, or simply managing your employer’s email, you will need to understand how to appropriately and effectively use relevant programs, as well as proper email etiquette. You should also be proficient in any software commonly used in your employer’s industry.
Reliability: A PA’s ultimate goal is to become his or her employer’s “right arm.” To achieve this, you must be completely and totally reliable. Arrive at work on time (or early), complete projects on schedule (or early), and get to know your boss so well that you can predict what you will be asked to do—and take care of it before you’re asked. In the end, you want your boss to think of you as not just an asset, but as someone who is utterly indispensable.
Discretion and loyalty: It may seem like a lot, but what employers want most in a personal assistant is someone they can completely rely on, with no fears regarding their honesty or devotion to the tasks at hand.
As a personal assistant, you will often be privy to your employer’s confidential or personal information. To share this information with any other person would be highly unprofessional and a breach of trust. The best personal assistants are completely loyal and can be trusted to be discreet regarding all aspects of their employers’ lives.
In closing, you can source the highest quality NYC Personal Assistant as described, from Job Find jobs HR Agency, the best staffing agency in NYC! If you are an experienced Personal Assistant.
Be the best Personal Assistant.
The role of the Executive Personal Assistant is growing exponentially.
From humble beginnings the Executive Personal Assistant is now normally university qualified and required to perform demanding roles on behalf of their boss such as preparing executive reports, making presentations, attending and even making strategic contributions during executive board meetings etc.
Executive Personal Assistants have a highly visible and demanding role in blue chip corporations and government organisations.
So what makes an Executive Personal Assistant effective in the eyes of their Boss?
1.Understanding the business strategy
Fundamental to the role of senior executives in any organisation is the formation and delivery of the business strategy. These senior executives need the support of a high quality team around them if success is to come. The Executive Personal Assistant is at the core of this team and needs to be able to speak the language of the senior management team or Board. The old adage “Once you know why, you’ll figure out how” applies to the role of the Executive Personal Assistant. Executives and Senior Managers who enable their Executive Personal Assistant to gain this understanding get the significantly enhanced performance.
2.Understanding the wider business issues
The Executive Personal Assistant is the eyes and ears of their boss. The ability to listen and to communicate across the organization is a key skill that should be encouraged and learned. It is not so much as having the ear to the ground but it is more about being able to separate the wheat from the chaff. A clear understanding of the priorities, motivations and issues of others across the organization is invaluable to the Executive Personal Assistant in the daily tasks.
3.Operating efficiently and effectively
Senior Executives are busy people and need to rely on the Executive Personal Assistant to provide support not only efficiently but also effectively. Efficiently in terms of the Executive Personal Assistant’s time and effort but also ensuring that their Boss is operating efficiently. They say that efficiency is about getting the job done on time and effectiveness is about getting the job done correctly. Some would say that it’s not “what you do” but “how you do” it but I tend to disagree. It’s about both.
There is no point hammering out a 20-page report for your boss in 30 minutes if it is full of errors. Conversely there is little point issuing the same report three days late with no errors. The Executive Personal Assistant should aim to deliver the report on time with no errors. That is being both effective and efficient.
4.Being a natural problem solver
I may challenge the use of the word “natural” as problem solving is a skill that can be learnt. Some people do have a natural tendency in this regard but if they do not the effective Executive Personal Assistant can benefit significantly by attending Problem Solving training and applying these tips and tricks in their daily routine. It can be as simple as asking Why? enough times to get to the real root cause of an issue. However, fundamentally it is realizing that finding the solution does not have to come from yourself but will come more easily from involving others that differentiates a great problem solver from a good problem solver.
5.Being a rigorous planner
“People don’t plan to fail; they fail to plan.” This applies not only to the Effective Personal Assistant’s role of course but is one of its most critical aspects. The Executive Personal Assistant is not just planning their own work but is to all extents and purposes planning their boss’s. Efficient planning is not normally a solitary task. The effective project manager does not plan in isolation – they include their team. The Executive Personal Assistant does not normally have this luxury. The Boss is always too busy to sit down and get involved in the planning but still naturally expects it to go smoothly. Therefore rigorous planning is essential – but so is insisting that the boss does at least review his plans with you.
6.Being a strong influencer
Not all Executive Personal Assistants work for the top person in the organization. The majority operate at executive or senior management level and have to influence not only downwards but across and upwards.
Being enable to recognize when to use some or all of the seven key influencing tactics of Consultation, Rational Persuasion, Exchange, Ingratiation, Coalition, Upward Appeals and last but not least Pressure is a skill that can be learned and one that delivers excellent results.
The Executive Personal Assistant who tries to influence using the Boss’s position of power (the pressure tactic) may find it difficult to get an effective response and is more than likely to experience passive resistance. Whilst the pressure tactic has its place the effective influencer uses all the tools available to them.
Ways To Become A Good Personal Assistant.
Key Attributes of an Effective Executive Personal Assistant.
1) Understand Your Boss's Expectations
PAs pack their boss's parachute on a daily basis so it is essential that PAs fully understand their boss's objectives. This includes understanding your boss's work style, expectations, and boundaries. In the same way that you would collect a list of preferences for a frequent traveller, you also need to have a frank conversation with your boss about his/her expectations.
2) Take Thorough Messages
When taking messages for your boss, use your questions effectively to drill down to the heart of the issue. Asking "who", "what", "why", "where" and "when" questions will help you to take a comprehensive message that your boss can act on without having to return the call. If you put yourself in your boss's shoes when taking the message and ask all the questions he/she if likely to ask, you will also prevent unnecessary meetings.
3) Understand The Company's Vision
It is essential that you understand the vision and mission of your organisation. These factors impact the decision-making of your boss and the wider organisation. Understanding the vision and mission will help you to make solid decisions on your boss's behalf.
4) Become Your Boss's Mentee
Ask your boss to mentor you; particularly if you are new to the organisation. This will encourage better teamwork and help your boss to understand your challenges and gaps in your understanding of the business.
5) Be a Problem Solver
Always provide a possible solution when delivering a message to your boss about a problem. Your boss has enough to worry about, so if you can offer solutions, that will take some of the pressure off your boss. It could be something as simple as saying that there is a problem with "X" but you have spoken to a team member about it and they are looking into it.
6) Be Your Boss's Memory
Be a mind of useful information. Get clued up on personal things like the names of the wives of your boss's main customers (and their birthdays if you can manage it).
7) Have a Plan For Continuous Development
Don't allow yourself to be overlooked for training and development, or for promotion. Set goals for your development and tell your boss what is needed to ensure that you keep up with the latest best practice in your profession. It's the PA's responsibility to have such a plan. It says that you are conscious of the need for new ideas in your role to ensure the effectiveness of your partnership.
Finally, advancing effortlessly from a not-so-senior Personal Assistant role to a Senior Executive Assistant role requires a thorough understanding of the senior EAs objectives and responsibilities. It also sets a bar for development to ensure that you are growing in the profession.
Personal assistants can be a lifesaver to the person they are working for, as they assist them to be able to achieve their everyday tasks and lives. They are responsible for making sure that their bosses’ life runs smoothly and ensure a fluid-working environment. The life of a personal assistant will be varied and busy and being the best personal assistant takes dedication and enthusiasm for working in an often fast-paces and sometimes stressful environment.
Personal assistants take on my tasks, which include running family homes, arranging their employers lives, client meetings, children’s diaries to mention just a few.
Final Tips To be The Best PA
Some tips to being the best personal assistant are as follows:
- Know what your boss needs and how best this can be done, sometimes before the boss even needs the task completing. Once you get to know your roles and the boss, themself, you will begin to anticipate what he/she will need next. This will ensure that the tasks get completed on time and free up time for the next incoming item on the agenda.
- Be prepared and ready for anything your employer throws at you and don’t be thrown off balance if it is a new task. Being ready and getting to know your employer will help with this tip. Getting enough sleep before the next working day and being organised will help the PA to be full ready for the day
- Keep your skills and knowledge up to date to ensure that you are not falling behind in your tasks. Understanding that your role can change from time, as does life will ensure that you are ready for whatever tasks you may have to complete next? Taking any training offered is a good way to keep up with the lasts technology for example to make working life easier.
- Understand that sometimes mistakes will occur and not taking this to heart and ensuring you learn from the experience will help to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Letting your employer know when something hasn’t worked as planned will ensure that neither the PA nor employer get into a tricky situation.
- Keep a pen and paper or your device on you at all times is essential so that you can note down agenda items or requests throughout the day quickly, which will ensure you do not forget things.
- Understand that each employer is different and that no two PA roles are the same. A great PA will get to know the employer by observing how the employer interacts with their everyday life, this will effect how the PA needs to conduct their own work and get all tasks completed.
- Maintain confidentiality at all times and don’t discuss private matters anywhere outside of the employer’s home. This helps ensure trust is maintained and protects the employer.
- Take initiative and find out what new skills you can learn. This is important if you are new to the PA life or have added it to your existing working role, for example when a nanny takes on extra PA duties when children are at school. Ask your employer how tasks can be completed and find out what needs to be completed. Always ask if you don’t know the answer to a problem because you may make a situation more difficult in the long run, if you do not.
The best personal assistants are fast, efficient and proactive to ensure that their employer can work without having to direct their PA every step of the way. They trust that their PA listens and understand what needs to be done and has this almost invisible third arm, freeing up more time for them to complete their own tasks with ease.
I was recently asked to share the qualities that make an assistant invaluable. Though the tips below are written for personal assistants, they can also apply to others in the professional arena.
Business Etiquette for Personal Assistants (and Beyond):
Aim to become your boss’s “right arm.”
- Your goal is to become indispensable. It’s in an assistant’s best interest to learn as much as possible about his or her supervisor’s likes, dislikes, pet peeves, and personal preferences. Not because you are “sucking up,” but because it will be an important guide moving forward to assist you in making daily decisions for yourself, and on his or her behalf. For example, a good assistant knows how to multitask and prioritize multiple projects. If you know your boss likes to have completed projects on her desk in a particular colored folder, make an effort to include those folders in the weekly office supply order so you aren’t caught off-guard when it’s time to put the presentation package together. Rather than leaving a pile of papers on her desk with a sticky note that says, “Sorry, we ran out of folders... “ you will appear prepared and professional. Small details make a big difference.
- Own your mistakes.
- It’s an unfortunate truth that we learn much more by our disastrous missteps. The bigger the blunder, the more intense the lesson will be. When you are training, you are expected to have a reasonable number of learning curves; after a certain point in time, there is no excuse for confirming a lunch meeting for Tuesday, when the lunch is scheduled for Thursday. The worst thing you can do is make an excuse. It’s a sign that you are not willing to own your actions, which makes for a less impressive employee. When you make an error, own it, apologize and state a plan of action moving forward.
- “No surprises.”
- Your boss should always be the first to know when something goes right or wrong. Hearing it from a coworker, or someone other than yourself, is a sign that you are not being upfront or keeping your boss in the loop. No boss wants an assistant he or she can’t trust. If something critical is materializing with an important client, and you forgot to tell your boss that you received an email about the change, it could be a great disadvantage to you and your career. No boss wants to look as if he or she is ill informed.
- Keep your boss’s private and professional information to yourself.
- Working closely with a CEO or other supervisor means that you will be privy to confidential and personal information. It would be highly unprofessional to divulge phone conversations, bank balances, client conversations, recent medical scares, or anything else that would tarnish your credibility as an honest and trusted employee.
- Take notes. Never be without a notepad and pen. A good boss is always thinking about new and creative ways to run the business more efficiently and create opportunities that will benefit current and future clients. You can’t possibly remember everything; taking notes gives you a reference to look back on later in the day, week or month as new projects start to take shape.
- Watch and learn.
- You will gain important leadership skills by simply watching the way your boss conducts his or her day to day business. There is a reason your boss has become a success and you have the unique opportunity to learn from the best. If you are thinking that you have a boss that is “worthless,” “lazy” or “unmotivated,” you are in the wrong job! It’s solely up to you to find a path that will help advance your professional career and challenge you to be your personal best.
- Keep up with your boss’s calendar.
- Keep track of his or her schedule in your own personal planner. It reflects positively on you when you know where your boss will be, where she needs to go, and who she plans to meet. Make it a point to compare schedules at least twice a week to keep your calendars in sync. This routine will open the door to further discussions on upcoming meetings, projects and speaking engagements. Use this time to offer ideas, suggestions and highlight your efficiency, creativity and motivation.
- Don’t stop learning.
- There will always be something new to learn. Don’t hesitate to ask your boss what else you can do to take the pressure off; research information and facts for the online newsletter, create an updated PowerPoint, or become more efficient at social media.
- Finally, always be thinking of ways to add to your professional skill set.
- Your boss will no doubt notice your enthusiasm and commend you for your efforts in the form of a raise when the time is right.
If you’re a personal assistant, you may find my posts especially helpful as you work to advance your career.