Career Development

Personal Assistant Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Personal assistants are a common fixture of the business world. They are the people who keep things running smoothly for their bosses. They’re often tasked with handling a variety of administrative duties, including arranging travel plans, booking appointments, ordering supplies, and performing a wide range of other routine administrative tasks.

Personal assistants are a common fixture of the business world. They are the people who keep things running smoothly for their bosses. They’re often tasked with handling a variety of administrative duties, including arranging travel plans, booking appointments, ordering supplies, and performing a wide range of other routine administrative tasks.

Personal assistants also commonly perform more personal tasks for their bosses as well. They may handle personal errands such as shopping or they may even interact with clients or colleagues on behalf of their boss.

Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a personal assistant and what it takes to become one yourself.

Personal Assistant Job Duties

Personal assistants perform a varied and wide range of duties that typically include the following:

  • Setting up meetings and appointments for senior executives based on their schedules
  • Making travel arrangements by booking flights, selecting hotel accommodations, and ordering ground transportation such as rental cars or limousines
  • Organizing business trips by planning itineraries to include scheduled business appointments as well as recreational activities such as sightseeing tours or dinner reservations at restaurants
  • Arranging meals and events for senior executives by contacting caterers, event planners, or other personal assistants
  • Greeting visitors at reception desks or building entrances to facilitate efficient meeting preparations or help them locate appropriate individuals within the company
  • Answering phones, taking messages, and relaying messages to individuals’ voicemail boxes when busy
  • Making copies of documents such as memos, reports, presentations, or spreadsheets
  • Processing expense reports by collecting receipts and scanning documents into software programs that calculate costs
  • Composing letters and preparing word processing documents such as agendas for meetings and progress reports for managers within organizations

Personal Assistant Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for personal assistants is $40,427. The highest earners make over $85,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in the entertainment industry.

Demand for personal assistants is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade. As more people continue to seek assistance with daily tasks such as running errands and managing finances, they will turn to professional personal assistants for help with these tasks.

Personal Assistant Job Requirements

The requirements for a personal assistant are as follows:

Education: Personal assistants do not need a specific degree to get hired for this role. However, it is helpful if they have a degree in an administrative or business-related field. They should also be familiar with computer programs like Microsoft Office, since they will be responsible for typing and creating documents.

Training: Most employers will offer the training necessary to learn the skills required for this job. During training, candidates typically learn how to perform administrative tasks like scheduling appointments and handling mail. They also typically learn business etiquette and how to interact with clients and other employees in the organization. Candidates who lack previous experience or training may be assigned responsibilities like answering phones or greet clients at events until they become more comfortable with the role.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not required for this job, but many personal assistants choose to obtain certifications that show their expertise in their field. Some popular credentials include Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE), and Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). 

Personal Assistant Skills

Personal Assistants typically require the following skills:

Communication skills: Personal assistants must have strong communication skills, both written and verbally, to effectively communicate with managers, co-workers, clients, and vendors on a regular basis. Interpersonal skills are core to this role.

Organizational skills: Personal assistants must be exceptionally organized as they need to coordinate their manager’s schedule and workload.

Self-motivation skills: Personal assistants should be self-starters who possess the ability to motivate themselves.

Administrative skills: Personal assistants are responsible for varied administrative functions; they require administrative skills, and they need to pay high attention to detail.

Adaptability: Personal assistants must be flexible as they may need to take on new tasks, handle last-minute requests, multi-task, or learn new procedures.

Computer skills: Personal assistants must possess computer skills in order to handle electronic correspondence, report preparation, research, etc. They also need to know how to use basic office equipment such as scanners.

Personal Assistant Work Environment

Personal assistants usually work in a wide variety of settings, including private homes, corporate offices, and government buildings. They may work for a variety of different types of employers, including executives, politicians, and entertainers.

Personal assistants may also work for private companies that provide personal assistant services to clients.

Personal assistants must be willing to put in long hours, and they must be willing to work on weekends and holidays. They must deal with high levels of stress, as they are often responsible for handling their employer’s personal and professional affairs.

Personal Assistant Career Path

Getting Started

Personal assistants are usually the first employees hired by the company’s executive, and they are given many responsibilities that can be daunting to someone new to the field. They are expected to learn a great deal of information quickly and perform a number of different tasks for their bosses. While they may have a mentor or “shadow” a more experienced assistant, they have to perform their duties on their own for the most part. The hours can be long and unpredictable.

Five Years On The Job

Five-year veterans have become more comfortable with the demands of the job. They have established relationships with coworkers and executives, and they have become adept at juggling many assignments. Satisfaction is high; the work is challenging and requires a great deal of responsibility and attention to detail. Many enjoy meeting people who make up their boss’s social circle, and the job affords them plenty of opportunities to travel with their boss or to take advantage of business trips themselves. Depending on the employer’s needs, salaries can be quite good. Some choose to leave the corporate world and pursue more self-directed careers as freelancers or entrepreneurs.

Ten Years On The Job

Ten-year veterans have solidified their reputations as skilled administrators capable of managing their bosses’ careers. They may supervise other administrative staff members or act as coordinators for groups of executives who rely on them for direction on administrative matters. Many personal assistants take advantage of opportunities for lateral moves within the company so that they can broaden their knowledge of the business world and possibly move into management positions more quickly than those with only administrative experience. Promotions are common at this stage, resulting in increased levels of responsibility and satisfaction with career progression. Many people feel that there is a ceiling to advancement for this career path after ten years, especially if they haven’t moved into management roles by then—or find themselves working for a boss who doesn’t appreciate the value of a good assistant—so it’s important to keep looking for new challenges.

Personal Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how personal assistants work. Personal assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increase in Use of Technology to Coordinate Travel and Events

While the travel industry has historically been one of the most technology-dependent industries, advances in travel technology have led to a more streamlined experience for those working within this field.

Travel apps allow personal assistants to keep track of flights, itineraries, and hotel accommodations from their smartphones, as well as coordinate calendars and manage multiple tasks without having to contact their employers for every minor request.

Social Media Is No Longer Optional

Social media is no longer optional for today’s personal assistants. In fact, research has shown that almost half of all companies now require social media activity as part of the hiring process, particularly in fields like marketing and public relations.

Increasing Importance of Virtual Assistants:

Virtual assistants, who work remotely to provide assistance with various administrative tasks, are becoming increasingly popular as they allow businesses to save money on overhead costs and provide better service than full-time employees can offer.

Furthermore, virtual assistants also often possess skills that cannot be found in local candidates, such as language fluency or technical skills. This is especially true for small businesses that do not have the resources to hire someone with specialized training or experience in their industry.

How to Become a Personal Assistant

1. Planning Your Career

As a personal assistant, you will be responsible for coordinating schedules and activities for your employer. These tasks may include managing travel arrangements, organizing business trips, and creating expense reports. In this role, your job is to take care of your boss’s tasks so that they can focus on their work; as such, you should be someone who values efficiency and feels at ease multitasking.

It is also important to think about what type of personality you have and how you can best manage the demands of the job. Some personal assistants thrive in an environment where they are constantly on the go and involved in many different projects; others prefer a more laid-back environment that allows them to focus on fewer responsibilities. It’s also important to consider whether you prefer working with people or tasks; either way, this is a career that requires interaction with others on a daily basis.

2. Writing a Resume

This position requires a combination of excellent organizational skills, discretion, and a great deal of flexibility. Showcase these qualities with an attention-grabbing resume. It should be neat and organized and tailored to the position in question.

If you have a history of working with a busy executive or a large household, you should include it on your resume. When writing your resume, make sure to highlight all of your work experience and give examples of how you could help someone get organized or provide assistance to them. In other words, make sure your potential employer knows why you are the best candidate for the job.

It is also helpful to list any additional personal assistant skills you have that aren’t typically included in most resumes. These could include computer or tech skills (i.e., knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite), foreign language fluency, secretarial experience, etc.

3. Applying for Jobs

Finding a job as a personal assistant is competitive, but there are plenty of opportunities out there for those who are proactive. Make use of your network, and also look for job listings on Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, and other job boards. Having an online presence such as a professional LinkedIn profile indicating your availability can also be beneficial. 

It’s important to research each company you’re applying to work for. When applying, be sure to include any references that will support your application. A reasonable time after applying, you should follow up with a brief, professional email to make sure they have received your application and to check-in. Taking this initiative will help you stand out, establish rapport, and add the personal touch that personal assistants need to have.

4. Ace the Interview

As a personal assistant, you are essentially an extension of your boss, so your ability to relate to them is crucial. During the interview, try to find common ground between you and your interviewer(s). If you have interviewed for other jobs in the past, ask questions about how this job is different from the others.

You will want to show your dedication and work ethic. Be prepared to talk about what you’ve done in the past that shows these qualities, and also be ready to answer questions about why you would be a good fit for the job. Remember that employers are looking for more than just good organizational skills in a personal assistant candidate; they are also looking for someone who can build strong relationships with other employees. This means being friendly and personable, especially with people in positions of authority (such as directors and supervisors). If you get an interview, show up on time and dressed professionally, and be ready to talk about your accomplishments.

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