Education and Training: Diploma in business administration, or bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $45,000
A personal assistant job is quite varied, and someone doing this job needs to be quite multifaceted, a good communicator, and to be able to get things done under pressure. You will need to be competent at running an office, and must be able to utilize the latest technology. You must also be good at keeping confidences and comfortable dealing with people from all walks of life. If you are good at dealing with challenges and crisis and thrive on sorting out problems then this may be a suitable job for you.
Part of the job involves screening incoming phone calls and booking appointments and meetings, and attending to e-mail and mail. You may also be required to organize events and parties and may even have to manage household staff. Personal assistants frequently have to organize travel arrangements for their employer. It’s essentially all about organizing someone’s life for them, and this may include both their business and personal lives.
Personal assistants generally work for people whose jobs are particularly demanding, and who do not have the time to organize day-to-day necessities and events. The type of people who hire personal assistants include authors, musicians, speakers, politicians, athletes, and business executives. Some people with particularly busy lives may require their personal assistant to be on call 24 hours a day.
Education and Training Requirements
There isn’t actually any standard training for becoming a personal assistant, but a diploma or bachelor’s degree in Business Administration will help provide a good grounding in some of the necessary skills. It is also possible to gain professional certification via an exam offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
Much of the training is done on the job, and a personal assistant may well be promoted from a secretarial position in the firm. They need to have good word processing skills and data management, and to be able to handle presentation development software. Good secretarial training will be extremely helpful.
Getting the Job
Some personal assistants may be promoted within the company they are working for, so you could try starting off doing general office work, and work on developing your knowledge and skills. Make sure that you are Internet savvy and comfortable with using new technology, and it may also help if you have a second language, as personal assistants are sometimes required to travel with their employers.
Once you have some experience in working in a general office then you can start looking around for opportunities to become employed as a personal assistant. A lot of personal assistants are trained in-house, as this enables the employer to mold them to the company’s exact requirements. The best jobs are often found through word-of-mouth, so it pays to network or to join a personal assistant agency.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Job prospects are extremely good, as there will always be a real need for good personal assistants. It really is up to you to make sure you hone your skills so that you have something valuable to offer besides enthusiasm. It’s unlikely that you will start off by being a personal assistant to someone powerful or famous, but it is a job where if you have enough talent, you can work up to this position if you wish.
Working Conditions and Environment
The working conditions and environment of a personal assistant can vary greatly according to which task they are being asked to do, and who they work for. In general, because they are working for people who are wealthy enough to require a personal assistant, the working conditions will be extremely good. However the hours may be long and unpredictable if you work for someone with a demanding job, making it difficult to arrange your own personal life.
Salary and Benefits
The salary earned by a personal assistant depends largely on the hours demanded by the employer. Someone who is required to be available as needed may earn between $850 and $2000 a week. A new personal assistant may earn $450 a week, while some of the most experienced will earn $100,000 a year or even more. Some personal assistants work on an hourly basis, charging between $20 and $50 an hour. A number of personal assistants receive jewellery or other expensive gifts as a bonus from their employers who are often very wealthy.
Where to Go for More Information
International Association of Administrative Professionals
P.O. Box 20404
Kansas City, MO 64195-0404
University of Phoenix School of Business
Virginia College-Business Administration-Associate Degree