Five personal assistant skills you need to succeed

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A young personal assistant working on a laptop and notepad.

When it comes to understanding how to be a good PA, it’s one thing learning about the tasks of a personal assistant, but it you want to thrive in the role, 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. Assessing yourself against these most desired abilities will help you build an honest picture of your prospects, and pinpoint where you can improve to boost your chances of securing your dream PA job.

So, what makes a good PA? 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 you sink or swim as a PA is your ability to multitask. Staying on top of your 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, you’ll 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 you 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, so as a PA you’ll need to stay vigilant at all times. Honing this skill takes time and focus, but it pays dividends.


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 your desktop for tasks like expenses, comms and presentations, while businesses will also expect you 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 your sociability. Not everyone has the people skills needed to succeed as a personal assistant, but we’re betting part of the reason you were drawn to the position is because you love helping and working with others! As the first point of contact for your manager, you’ll 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. 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 Jane Leese Tiger Recruitment Team

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