How can I Become a Personal Assistant?

Diana Bocco

In the past, a personal assistant (PA) worked only with celebrities and millionaires, but that's no longer the case. Today, anybody can become a personal assistant and work with executives, attorneys, politicians, or even ministers. When you become a PA, you are in charge of organizing a great part of your employer's life, so initiative and a facility for leadership are vital. The ability to work under stress and to multitask is also invaluable.

Personal assistants are generally responsible for keeping their client's life organized.
Personal assistants are generally responsible for keeping their client's life organized.

While there are no minimum qualifications required to become a personal assistant, there are some important skills to develop. To begin with, a personal assistant should be Internet-savvy and comfortable using modern technology. This includes everything from sending e-invites to managing data download. Event planning, time management, and etiquette knowledge are also essential, since a lot of professionals host social events on a regular basis. If you plan to work for a family, it may be useful to take some household management or accounting courses.

Conflict resolution and communication skills are essential for becoming a personal assistant.
Conflict resolution and communication skills are essential for becoming a personal assistant.

To become a personal assistant, you should also have "people skills," the ability to communicate professionally, remain calm under pressure, be tactful, and, above all, obtain results. Knowledge of a second language can also be valuable. You may be expected to travel along with your employer. While this may sound glamorous at first, it sometimes means being away from home for long periods of time and working longer days.

Some personal assistants are organizers who help people better manage their personal time and energies.
Some personal assistants are organizers who help people better manage their personal time and energies.

The best way to learn how to be a PA is by doing it. Start by looking for a job opening locally, even if you have to volunteer your services at first. If your ultimate goal is to work for a celebrity, for example, you can't expect to start in that capacity. Join professional organizations, network, and hone your skills so you have something to offer besides enthusiasm. Once qualified, a personal assistant is usually trained in-house so he or she can be molded to fit the employer's requirements.

Some personal assistants help their clients by taking care of domestic chores.
Some personal assistants help their clients by taking care of domestic chores.
Personal assistants need to be good at multitasking.
Personal assistants need to be good at multitasking.

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Discussion Comments

glamour

I'm about to start a masters degree in order to become a personal assistant but I'd like to know what should I study (marketing, public relations or business management) and which is the best advised university in uk? do you think shorthand is necessary?

anon83868

me and my friend would love to become personal assistants in the near future and we would like to find more information about this career. thank you.

osmosis

Advertising yourself is key - don't look for job openings as much as announce what you want to do. Craigslist is perfect for this, or you can go low-tech and put up flyers. Explain exactly what you're willing to do and add that you are flexible and willing to do other tasks also. Make sure you have recommendations and play up any experience you may have that makes you look responsible and experienced. Don't be shy.

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