In Summary - Personal Assistant
Personal Assistants typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Personal Assistant
A personal assistant's (PAs) main role is to help managers make better use of their time and energy. For example, they screen telephone calls and incoming mail, dealing with some themselves, distributing others to the appropriate individual or department, and only passing on those which the manager must deal with personally.
PAs often manage their manager's diaries, arranging meetings and making appointments on their behalf, organising travel itineraries, booking rail or aeroplane tickets and hotel reservations. They use their organisational skills to arrange conferences and trade exhibitions, and try to make sure these events run smoothly. This may involve some public relations work, such as drafting press releases.
PAs make sure their managers are well prepared for meetings. They may be required to research information, for example, from trade periodicals or professional bodies. They may then summarise this information clearly and concisely for the manager's benefit.
They may have a range of administrative and secretarial duties, including word processing letters and reports. They have to use their initiative as far as possible, for example, composing letters themselves, without the manager's input. PAs often have a senior role within an organisation, delegating many clerical tasks to other staff. They may help to recruit and supervise staff, and may manage the office in the manager's absence.
In some organisations, PAs may travel locally, nationally or internationally, to attend meetings and conferences with their managers.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents, using word processing, spreadsheet, database, or presentation software.
- Answer phone calls and direct calls to appropriate parties or take messages.
- Conduct research, compile data, and prepare papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees and boards of directors.
- Attend meetings to record minutes.
- Greet visitors and determine whether they should be given access to specific individuals.
- Read and analyze incoming memos, submissions, and reports to determine their significance and plan their distribution.
- Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining records management database systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.
- File and retrieve corporate documents, records, and reports.
- Open, sort, and distribute incoming correspondence, including faxes and email.
- Make travel arrangements for executives.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Interests - Personal Assistant
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
As a personal assistant, you must have strong secretarial skills and a good standard of English. You should be capable of using a wide range of office equipment, including computers.
This is a responsible job, and you must exercise judgement when making decisions. You would be working for people whose work is often very demanding and often pressurised. Therefore personal assistants must be able to demonstrate initiative, for example, to relieve their manager of unnecessary pressures and frequent interruptions on less important matters. You should be efficient and able to establish priorities. Planning and organising skills are essential.
If you are responsible for staff, you will need the ability to supervise, encourage and motivate people. You must be flexible and able to work under pressure.
Entry Requirements - Personal Assistant
Pay & Salary - Personal Assistant
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 24k - 70k
Personal assistant: 24 - 60
Executive/CEO assistant: 24 - 70
Sigmar / CPL / Robert Walters / Abrivia
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.