As a personal assistant (PA) you will work closely with senior managerial or directorial staff to provide administrative support, usually on a one-to-one basis. You will help a manager to make the best use of their time by dealing with secretarial and administrative tasks.
PAs need extensive knowledge of the organization in which they work. You will need to know who key personnel are (both external and internal) and understand the organization's aims and objectives.
Managers often rely heavily on their PA, trusting that work will be handled efficiently in their absence. Discretion and confidentiality are therefore essential attributes for a successful PA.
A personal assistant is sometimes called an executive secretary, as well as a personal or private secretary.
As a PA, you will often act as the manager's first point of contact with people from both inside and outside the organisation. Tasks are likely to include:
Devising and maintaining office systems, including data management and filing;
Arranging travel, visas and accommodation and, occasionally, travelling with the manager to take notes or dictation at meetings or to provide general assistance during presentations;
Screening phone calls, enquiries and requests, and handling them when appropriate;
Meeting and greeting visitors at all levels of seniority;
Organizing and maintaining diaries and making appointments;
Dealing with incoming email, faxes and post, often corresponding on behalf of the manager;
Carrying out background research and presenting findings;
Producing documents, briefing papers, reports and presentations;
Organizing and attending meetings and ensuring the manager is well prepared for meetings;
Liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff.
In addition to supporting managers, their team and departments, many PAs also have their own personal workload and responsibilities. The scope of the PA's role can be extensive and additional duties may include:
Carrying out specific projects and research;
Responsibility for accounts and budgets;
taking on some of the manager's responsibilities and working more closely with management;
Deputizing for the manager, making decisions and delegating work to others in the manager's absence;