How to become a Personal Assistant

What is a personal assistant?

A Personal Assistant (PA) works with senior staff to provide one-to-one support. Unlike an administrator who tends to look after a team, a personal assistant typically carries out administrative work on behalf of one individual. 

A Personal Assistant needs to have a deep understanding of the company and know who the key personnel are, as they are representing a senior member of staff.

How to become a Personal Assistant

To become a personal assistant, you could take a college qualification to help you get a job as a junior personal assistant. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Business Support
  • Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration

You could do an intermediate or advanced level apprenticeship in business administration before working your way up to a personal assistant position.

For the entry requirements, you’ll usually need:

  • Some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Personal Assistant Duties:

There are many roles and responsibilities of a personal assistant, including:

  • Monitoring a reporting manager’s email and responding if required
  • Preparing communications on behalf of a manager
  • Answering phone calls
  • Act as the point of contact between the manager and internal/external clients
  • Handle requests and queries appropriately
  • Organising events and conferences
  • Typing, compiling and preparing reports, presentations and correspondence
  • Implementing and maintaining procedures/administrative systems
  • Liaising with staff, suppliers and clients
  • Deputising for the manager, making decisions and delegating work to others in the manager’s absence
  • Booking and arranging travel, transport and accommodation

Personal Assistant Skills:

To be an effective Personal Assistant, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Excellent administration skills
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Honest and reliable
  • Discretion and an understanding of confidentiality issues
  • A calm and professional manner
  • Time management skills
  • Ability not to flap in a stressful situation

How to find a personal assistant job

Personal assistant jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the personal assistant jobs near you;

  • Search for Personal Assistant jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Personal Assistant Job Titles

When you search for a personal assistant job online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for personal assistant jobs include;

  • Personal Aide
  • Personal Secretary
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Executive Assistant
  • Office Assistant
  • Administrative Coordinator
  • Administrative Secretary

What does a personal assistant do?

The day-to-day tasks of a Personal Assistant include;

  • Taking notes and writing minutes during meetings
  • Conducting or preparing any research that the reporting manager may require
  • Various ad hoc requests
  • Source office supplies
  • Produce reports, presentations and briefs
  • Devise and maintain office filing system
  • Organising events and conferences
  • Reminding the manager/executive of important tasks and deadlines