Ten Steps To Becoming An Outstanding Personal Assistant
The role of a Personal Assistant is difficult to define as no two roles will ever be the same. You may be working in an office environment, in the home, on site at various locations, or any combination of the three. While your daily structure will depend on the nature of your employers work, one thing is certain: as an ambitious Personal Assistant your goal is to become indispensable. It is a position of great trust that can be both challenging and rewarding, offering great opportunity to grow and learn. With all this in mind, here are ten tips to consider as you strive to stand out as a shining professional:
1. Cultivate Practical Intuition
As you get to know your role and your employer better, aim to be a few steps ahead and try to anticipate what is needed. If you know there is an important meeting coming up, check that all relevant reading material is prepared in advance. Is there any equipment that needs to be in place? Does the venue need to be confirmed? Are their transport needs to be met? Anticipate needs and double check the roles of others crucial to your planned schedule. Pre-empt everything from the catering options down to having a spare pen handy! By developing intuition as to your employers needs you can ensure that they are best able to focus on their work.
2. Be Flexible
It is the nature of this type of position that you are flexible and adaptive. As you begin your role it is important to establish what sort of parameters your employer will expect in terms of hours and availability, but keep in mind that whatever this may be, as your employers “right arm” you may need to be by their side in the case of unexpected challenges and emergencies. You will likely need to be easy to contact outside of working hours, and can also maintain your oversight by keeping an eye on work related emails over weekends or days off so you know what is coming and can react to anything that may throw a spanner in the works.
3. Communicate Effectively
The importance of clear and timely communication cannot be overstated in this role. Cultivate a concise, professional tone when relaying instructions or requests to others, both written and spoken. Keep your employer informed and up to date, taking accurate notes to ensure that nothing is forgotten or overlooked.
4. Develop Great Interpersonal Skills
There are many directions of communication to grapple with as a Personal Assistant. You must interact with your employer, any potential co-workers, and your employers clients. With so many potential personalities to navigate, your interpersonal capabilities will dictate your success. When pressure ramps up around you, focus on staying calm and clear, and maintaining a respectful tone at all times. Listen to and acknowledge what others say while try to balance an assertive but empathetic voice. You will find that by maintaining a positive outlook others will support your efforts and gravitate towards your goals.
5. Embrace Constructive Criticism
Your aim as a fantastic Personal Assistant is to learn and progress, so try not to take constructive criticism of your performance as a reflection of yourself but rather as constructive feedback that will enable you to perform your duties more effectively. Each role and employer is different, so you will have to find stride with each new set of expectations and strategies. Focus on using feedback to enable you to gel with your employers style. If you make a mistake, own it and move forwards.
6. Organise, Organise, Organise!
To be efficient, take an approach of aiming to handle everything only once. When receiving information immediately act on it – get it into your planner or passed on the necessary people. Process paperwork as soon as it comes in and keep your work area tidy and functional. Respond to emails as soon as they arrive and do not let anything mount up. If you need to arrange something on your employer’s behalf do it promptly. Anything left for later can be forgotten or confused. Develop efficient organisational systems that work well for you.
7. Invest In Key Skills
Make time to ensure your relevant skill set are up to date. For example your role may require up to date working knowledge of spreadsheets, slide-show software for presentations, or marketing tools on social networking websites. You may need to brush up on your typing skills, minute taking, or read about management and customer service developments. Whatever skill set your job involves, the more you know about it the better prepared you are to dazzle your employer and embrace each new challenge faced.
8. Represent Your Employer
Try to project yourself as if representing your employer at all times. You are, after all, acting as an extension of their personal brand. Learn what you can about their goals and ethos. Observe the tone of your employer and match or exceed their level of formality. Maintain discretion – the values of loyalty and confidentiality are prized in a Personal Assistant and are two of the many areas in which trust must develop if your employer is to consider you an invaluable asset.
9. App, Sync And Tech Up
Beyond addressing your basic software skills, view technology as something that can work for you. There are so many fantastic Apps to help you with your role. You can sync your devices for to-do lists and reminders and coordinate your calendar with your employers, keeping track of events, meetings and appointments. Your diligent preparations will pay off!
10. Take Every Opportunity To Learn
A key opportunity as a Personal Assistant is the chance to work very closely with someone who is excelling in their chosen field. The potential to learn in this role is vast, in terms of specific skills and more general qualities. You can discover a great deal about time management, overseeing staff, customer service, professional etiquette, and a multitude of other skills relating to the field you are working in. Choose to maintain an open mindset to these fantastic opportunities rather than just going through the motions. Who knows where this unique profession may take you next!