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.
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.
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.
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.