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The role of a Personal Assistant has evolved over the years with previous duties of a PA being more defined, nowadays Personal and Executive Assistant roles have evolved into a broad range of skills and abilities.

Event more so now, with virtual support being required due to the Coronavirus pandemic with a more flexible/remote approach to work. Skills and abilities which candidates are required to hold have grown to meet changing and increasing expectations. We look at what these are in our latest blog.

 

The Traditional PA

Traditional Personal and Executive Assistants would very much take a 1:1 approach, managing their principal’s diary, typing correspondence and taking minutes, handling confidential matters and all areas of administrative support. Before WhatsApp, numerous other support Apps and the cloud, this could be a completely onerous tax of faxing, photocopying, telephoning and hand written note taking. Filing and typewriting were an every day eventuality, not to mention regular shredding of confidential papers and physical archiving of reports and files.
 
Fast forward and the evolution of mobile friendly technology and systems have made coordinating schedules and the principal’s activities much more efficient and time friendly. Instant messaging makes for far easier and faster communication around the world, while emails have eliminated the need for snail mail and faxes. Electronic filing has eradicated the need for hours spent amongst the binders and has eliminated the use of paper – a greener way to store information!
 
Although we do still see the need for the more traditional secretarial PA, the latest technology and changing working environments mean that many Assistant roles are changing and as a candidate, being adaptable and open to this is key.

The Evolved PA

Now the role of a Personal Assistant is more varied, perhaps supporting several Directors; maintaining and screening multiple email inboxes, managing multiple calendars and organising the wider team’s travel arrangements around the world. Event planning may also be part of the PA’s function; from sourcing locations and managing budgets, to overseeing external contractors from entertainment to catering. More and more the modern PA is becoming involved with special projects which impact the wider business, not just the day to day of the principal(s) and overall the role has evolved to not just be the secretary, but to play an active part in – and to understand – the business.

So, what makes a good PA?

Organisation is key! As well as adaptability and having a calm approach to your working style. Be the go-to person, whilst knowing how to prioritise and how to communicate this to your principals and the wider team.
 
PAs have traditionally been quick to sell their administrative skills to potential employers and recruiters, to meet the expectations set with shorthand abilities and typing speed, more than anything else. Today, the focus is on technology, planning abilities and strategic experience. Although, remember that every organisation is different and so a good recruiter will know how and what to get out of you for every role.
 

If you are a Personal or Executive Assistant looking for your next move Chace People can help. Keep an eye on our Job Board or Candidates area.

milliehutchinson

Author milliehutchinson

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