What does a Personal Assistant do?

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Five key PA duties explained

If you’re considering a move into a personal assistant job, you’ve come to the right place. Tiger has specialised in securing jobseekers their dream PA role for over two decades, so our understanding of the position is second to none.

PA roles and responsibilities have been highly valued across a number of industries for decades. The future of the PA role may always be evolving along with the many changes in technology and work culture but, at its core, the position remains the same: ensuring the Principal you’re assisting has everything they need to perform at their best. So, how does a personal assistant go about achieving that?

The gatekeeper

The amount of incoming calls and emails they receive will depend on the seniority of your Principal but, regardless, answering these will play a significant role in your PA duties. You will be tasked with filtering out unnecessary distractions and prioritising enquiries for your Principal to respond to. So, you’ll need excellent verbal and written communication, as well as relationship-management skills when in regular contact with clients and other business partners.

The diary manager

Senior-level staff can jump from meeting to meeting, office to office throughout the day, so naturally it can be difficult for them to remember their schedule. They’ll rely on you as a PA to manage their diary: booking meetings, phone calls, lunches and more, but also ensuring that they have enough downtime to travel or attend to personal tasks.

The travel booker

Management and executive-level staff will often be required to travel nationally or internationally for meetings and conferences. As their PA, it will be your responsibility to arrange everything surrounding these trips including visas, taxis, flights, hotels, meeting rooms and restaurants. Writing a well-planned travel itinerary, as well as the ability to respond quickly and effectively to cancellations, schedule changes and other issues, will make you an invaluable assistant.

The expense manager

Hand-in-hand with arranging travel and accommodation is dealing with expenses. You’ll be entrusted to ensure all bills are correct and paid for on time, and keep an up to date log of these and all other business expenses related to your executive. It’s thus crucial that you have a good head for numbers.

The MS Office wizard

Your manager/executive will regularly be moving between meetings covering different subjects. They may even be giving presentations. A personal assistant will help ease the transition by preparing notes, reports, PowerPoints and other documents for their Principal ahead of time. The best PAs are skilled with a variety of software useful to this task, such as Microsoft Office suite. If you lack confidence in these programmes, there are many online courses you can take to get up to speed.

There are many more ad-hoc tasks you’ll be required to undertake as a PA and, alongside mastering these daily PA roles and responsibilities, the most important challenge of a personal assistant job is to learn the preferred working style, rhythms, and quirks of your manager. If you can click with them and march to the same beat, you’ll be able to anticipate potential problems and distractions ahead and clear them from the path, keeping everything running smoothly.

If you’re ready to take the next step and apply for PA roles, submit your details today. And be sure to read our tips for PA interviews to prepare yourself!

Author Jane Leese Tiger Recruitment Team

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