Being a personal assistant isn't just about diary management. Gone are the days of old school typing pools. Nowadays, PAs are organising global events and managing budgets. Interested in a career as a PA? Wondering exactly what the role entails? We got the inside scoop from one of our top PAs.
What does an average day at work entail?
I currently work supporting our executive board which consists of five members. The collaboration of different personalities means that the role is always challenging and never dull! I have learnt to adapt my style and technique accordingly which always helps me to hit the ground running in a new role.
Diary and travel organisation are a prerequisite to this type of role but the traditional PA role has evolved to incorporate large scale events (a personal favourite of mine), projects and marketing.
What skills are required?
PAs within the financial services sector need to be especially polished - you are an ambassador for your business and are representing the executive you work for so professionalism is key. Skills include the ability to prioritise, strong organisational skills, adaptability and good communication skills. I have always taken a keen interest in the structure and workings of the bank and have found that this has set me in good stead to contribute where needed. All said and done, the relationship you have with the person you are supporting is vital. In a nutshell, a PA is the right-hand woman/man to a very busy and important person. Our job is to make their life easier and more efficient in any way possible.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really like getting to know my boss and working with him closely - the more you know them and their idiosyncrasies, the more you can pre-empt what they need and gain their trust. I love organising and thinking of new, more efficient ways to do things. I get an enormous amount of fulfilment from taking my hectic and utterly shambolic (however, brilliant) boss and transitioning their work life into one that is completely the opposite.
What advice would you give to an aspiring executive assistant?
Hard work gets you noticed although you won’t be praised daily. You need to be willing to do the uninteresting tasks - your boss will pass the buck on boring or repetitive tasks and, unfortunately, the delegation ends with you.
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