Skills Needed by a Personal Assistant

Microsoft Office Word 2007Image via Wikipedia
Personal assistants play a very important role in the lives of managers, executives, directors and other professionals - in fact they rely on personal assistants to make sure that their jobs are running smoothly. Without personal assistants business professionals could still do their jobs but they would not be nearly as efficient as they are with the help of personal assistants who are experts are what they do. Because personal assistants are specialized at specific tasks they can help business professionals get things done faster, which allows them to focus on the things that they specialize in.

Personal assistants do many things for business professionals that save them time and help them to be more efficient. Some of those things include:

  • Dealing with mail - business people tend to be overloaded with different types of mail, both e-mail and paper mail. It can take a fair amount of time to go through all of it and determine what is most important and what can wait until later. Personal assistants usually go through the mail first and break it down into manageable categories. They may simplify messages into easy to read notes and they may even help business professionals respond to simple messages.
  • Completing research tasks - in order to complete reports and gather data to be used for presentations research tasks are often needed. Doing research takes time and this is often something that personal assistants can do for their managers to help them get things done faster. This may include gathering relevant statistics, information on business transactions, or results from other reports and business summaries.
  • Greeting visitors and clientele - managers and other business professionals are very busy and sometimes do not have time to attend to visitors immediately so the personal assistant is often responsible for greeting clients and make them comfortable while they wait. Sometimes they may have to answer questions on the manager's behalf or they might be asked to supply them with information that the client has requested.

If you are considering becoming a personal assistant you can prepare yourself by making sure you have the skills that are necessary. A good knowledge of Word and Excel will help you to present information in the most usable format. The ability to work with different email systems, such as Office Outlook, will allow you to take care of your manager's email quickly. You should become knowledgeable in the industry that you wish to work in by reading industry focused magazines and journals. PowerPoint knowledge will help you to put together presentations for your manager and Access will allow you to create databases that are functional.

One of the best ways to gain these skills is to attend a quality business course for administrative professionals at an accredited business college. Courses like these will help you to learn the skills you need and they will often give you the opportunity to put them to use in a real world situation by fulfilling a practicum or work practice assignment.