What does a Personal Assistant do?
A Personal Assistant helps an individual with a variety of professional and personal tasks. They can attend meetings, take detailed notes and deliver a full report. Personal Assistants often spend their time traveling, making phone calls, meeting with clients and speaking on behalf of their managers, among numerous other tasks.
Personal Assistant skills and qualifications
Desired skill sets for a Personal Assistant can vary. A few general skills to include in the job description are:
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Tech-savvy and experience with word processing and email programs
- Active listening and good communication skills
- Proactive approach to problem-solving
- Ability to multitask
- Strong time-management and organization skills
Personal Assistant salary expectations
A Personal Assistant makes an average of $13.04 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
Personal Assistant education and training requirements
The minimum education requirement for Personal Assistants is a high school diploma or GED. Personal Assistants supporting a high-level executive or CEO may need an associate or bachelor’s degree in business administration or business management. A degree related to the industry can also be useful. Some community colleges and private programs also offer certificates or diplomas for Personal Assistants.
Personal Assistants usually undergo on-the-job training by shadowing other administrative personnel. Training usually involves learning about company policies and procedures, scheduling and email programs and daily responsibilities. They will also learn how to take meeting notes, create correspondence and prioritize meetings.
Personal Assistant experience requirements
Entry-level Personal Assistants usually don’t need related experience, though some employers may require 1 to 2 years in an administrative role. Experience as a receptionist, secretary, administrative assistant or office manager is useful for this role. Some employers may also prefer experience in their industry. For example, an accounting firm may want a Personal Assistant with a background in accounting or finance in order to understand certain concepts and terms.
After earning some experience in an administrative role, Personal Assistants can work for managers and department heads. Executives and owners may require up to 10 years of experience for a Personal Assistant to accommodate a busier schedule and more complicated tasks.
Job description samples for similar positions
If you’re writing a job description for a related position to the Personal Assistant, see our job descriptions for similar roles:
Frequently asked questions about Personal Assistants
Who does a Personal Assistant report to?
The person a Personal Assistant reports to often varies depending on the environment they work in. Some of them may operate in a smaller office, where they’re responsible for assisting many different senior staff members at once.
Most Personal Assistants work in larger environments, where they’ll complete personal and business-related tasks for one senior-level staff member. The senior employee will provide the Personal Assistant will daily duties to complete and will work hands-on with them to provide valuable feedback and advice on how to improve their performance.
Do Personal Assistants have different responsibilities in different industries?
Personal Assistants can work in a wide variety of different industries, completing various tasks for their Supervisors. Many of them work in a general corporate atmosphere, conducting basic office tasks to help a senior staff member’s work life run smoothly. Some Personal Assistants may work in residential homes of their Supervisors, completing both work-related and personal errands for their employers.
They’re typically expected to have advanced knowledge and interest in the industry they’re working in to perform more in-depth and high-level tasks for employers. There are some employees who choose to be Personal Assistants to employees who hold titles that they’d like to pursue one day. Working as a Personal Assistant helps them gain more experience and knowledge in that industry and for that role.
What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and an Office Administrator?
While they both complete clerical work within an office, there are a few key differences between a Personal Assistant and an Office Administrator when it comes to their job responsibilities. An Office Administrator typically works at the reception area of an office, greeting visitors and completing clerical tasks for all of the employees. They’re also responsible for taking inventory and making sure the office functions properly.
Personal Assistants typically work near the senior-level offices, to make it easier for their Supervisors to communicate with them. They typically only work with senior-level staff members, while an Office Administrator usually assists the entire office.
What makes a good Personal Assistant?
A great Personal Assistant should have impressive writing abilities to draft, edit and proofread documents effectively for their employers. They should also have strong interpersonal skills to make phone calls and to collaborate with their Supervisors and other business professionals. Ideal Personal Assistant candidates must be highly organized and have great time management skills to properly prioritize the many tasks assigned by their employers and to ensure they complete these work items by their respective deadlines.