Even titans of industry could use a little help. More than 3.6 million Americans work as secretaries and personal assistants. That’s roughly one percent of the country.
Many people know about personal assistants from movies and television shows. Some people want to become one. Yet they don’t know what personal assistant duties are like.
What exactly is the job of a personal assistant? What kinds of work do they perform? How can someone find the right assistant for them?
Answer these questions and you can find a great aide who will help you achieve all of your business objectives. Here is your quick guide.
The Essentials of a Personal Assistant
A personal assistant is an individual who helps someone else with their daily tasks. Most assistants work with a high-ranking professional who has a lot of duties and obligations. A personal assistant who works for a company may be called a business assistant.
But some assistants do work for small business owners, celebrities, or busy families. Their tasks may be interchangeable with those of a nanny or a housekeeper.
A personal assistant is supposed to offer individualized services. They help the person they are assisting with their particular needs.
As such, personal assistants may perform different tasks every day. They should be flexible and attentive. They should be able to think quickly and make connections with others to get tasks done.
The common image of the assistant is an overworked junior employee. Assistants should have plenty of time off along with generous salaries with benefits. Many companies also help assistants with finding jobs when they decide to make a career transition.
Personal Assistant Duties and Tasks
Business assistants may perform a wide range of tasks. They may handle phone calls, serving as the point of contact for a professional.
They may write emails on the professional’s behalf. On rare occasions, they may generate short documents alongside the marketing and professional development teams.
Many business assistants help with travel itineraries. They book flights and reservations for professionals and their teams. They may travel with the businessperson, especially for a conference or major presentation.
Many assistants spend long hours conducting research. They find the right restaurant to run a meeting in, and they research people that a businessperson is meeting with. Some professionals like to have options so they can make a decision, so assistants will prepare lists for them.
Nearly all assistants provide some administrative support. They organize different papers and they make copies of old ones. Many of them sit in meetings and take minutes of the proceedings.
Domestic assistants may help with planning events and meals. They will provide a calendar for the family to adhere to, listing medical appointments. They may pick up children from school or perform some babysitting services.
Benefits of a Personal Assistant
Hiring a personal assistant has many distinct benefits. Many professionals struggle with the work-life balance. Medial tasks like reserving flights can exhaust someone who is trying to run a corporation.
A personal assistant can focus on those tasks for them. When the businessperson needs to perform something, their assistant can remind them of what they need to do.
An assistant can also provide businesspeople with a new set of ears. They can ask the assistant for suggestions on their business decisions. They can bring a fresh perspective on issues that have been affecting a company for years.
There are benefits for assistants themselves. They can gain experience and connections in their industry. They can see first-hand how powerful people in their industry work, and they can decide for themselves if they want to commit to it.
Serving as a personal assistant gives a company an opportunity to see what makes the person tick. If there is a good fit between the two, the assistant can receive another job within the company. Many industry leaders started out in an assistant role before moving upward.
How to Hire a Personal Assistant
There is no one way to hire a personal assistant. Some business executives may tap a friend or family member to serve as theirs. Others look outside of their personal circle.
A few companies specializing in finding personal assistants. They offer recruiting services, placing advertisements on job boards and examining the resumes of applicants.
But many corporations take it upon themselves to look for talented applicants. They post on their website and on sites like LinkedIn with a description for the job.
When you are putting an ad out for a personal assistant, you should do your best to write detailed expectations for the position. You should explain what your needs are and what the applicant can expect to do every day.
Experience is important, but it is not always reliable because the duties of assistants vary. You should conduct your own interviews and spend a long time talking to applicants about themselves and their skills.
In many situations, a new assistant will take over from an old one. The two should work closely together as the new assistant starts their job. Passwords for accounts should be handed over.
The Qualities of Great Personal Assistants
Many company leaders need a personal assistant. They take care of tasks like travel arrangements and meal preparations.
But personal assistant duties vary significantly, depending on who the assistant works for. Some people want assistants to prepare them options so they can make a final decision. Others are willing to give leeway to their aides.
Be very particular about your specifications for an assistant. Be willing to spend time talking to applicants and assessing their compatibility.
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