Five personal assistant skills needed to succeed

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A young personal assistant working on a laptop and notepad.

When it comes to understanding what makes a good PA, it’s one thing learning about the tasks of a personal assistant, but to gain the full picture you’ll need a firm grasp of the top PA skills that support those tasks.

These range from administrative to time management and interpersonal skills.

The best personal assistants possess a balance of hard and soft skills that allow them to handle the admin side of the job and, as the name suggests, the personal side. Let’s look at what these personal assistant skills are.

Organisation and timekeeping

The first skill that will see a PA sink or swim is their ability to multitask. Staying on top of the workload is a must for any job, but because the daily duties of a PA are so varied and often at the mercy of other people’s schedules, they will need to have a knack for organising, prioritising, and sticking to deadlines. We recommend getting to know the many useful apps and tools for PAs that will help a PA manage multiple projects and calendars.

Clear communication

A personal assistant must filter out the barrage of noise coming their manager’s way, and pick out only the most pertinent points to feed through to them. The manager will want quick and concise updates that they can then make a decision on, so learning to ‘cut to the chase’ when speaking or writing should be a priority for a PA.

Attention to detail

Having a good eye and memory for small but important details is a superpower of personal assistants. Working at a fast pace on a mix of tasks means crucial information is always at risk of being lost, be it data for a report, flight times, or a top client’s email address, a PA will need to stay vigilant at all times.


While a PA won’t need to be a tech guru to do their job effectively, general computer and software fluency is essential. Programmes like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint will be a permanent fixture on their desktop for tasks like expenses, comms and presentations, while businesses will also expect a PA to be able to pick up their internal systems quickly.

Be a people person

The number one soft skill for the role of PA is sociability. As the first point of contact for their manager, PAs occasionally deal with frustrated or angry colleagues and clients, not to mention the manager themselves. So, the best PAs have a thick skin, calm temperament, and the ability to connect with all sorts of personalities, ensuring even the trickiest situations can be resolved.

If you’re planning to apply for a PA job, being able to demonstrate these skills will greatly improve your desirability to a hiring manager, so don’t forget to include them on your personal assistant CV.

For more tips on your PA career, ready our guide to becoming a PA. When you’re ready, head over to our live jobs page to find your perfect role!

If you are looking to hire a personal assistant, read our guide to hiring a PA for a comprehensive rundown of every aspect of the recruitment process.

Author Rebecca Siciliano Tiger Recruitment Team

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