Personal Assistants: No Longer Just Go-fers

Gone are the days when brewing coffee, picking up laundry, and typing memos defined the perfect personal assistant. In order to get ahead in the field of personal assistance today, a individual pursuing a career as a personal assistant  should consider acquiring an administrative assistant degree, whether Bachelor’s or Associate’s. The ambitious personal assistant may even take things one step further by seeking certification, which serves to take the place of or add to work experience on a resume – something incredibly valuable in a field where reputation is everything. Considering personal assistants are most likely to be hired by company executives, maintenance of a pristine image akin to what gains respect and admiration in the business world is essential.

From the angle of a more personal set of skills, personal assistants should be adept communicators. Your job will revolve around representing your client in the most professional manner possible. This may include keeping up with correspondence in the form of letters, emails, phone calls and, by today’s standard, even Facebook updates. Strong multi-tasking and proactive management skills make a personal assistant that much more valuable as an employee.

But these skills prove most valuable when applied to more recent evolutions of the role of personal assistants. Assistants that find themselves working for celebrities or public figures will devote a large chunk of their time managing and developing a website along with social media for their client. After all, using the example of everyday social media, not every single tweet or Facebook update from a celebrity is personally typed and submitted by the celebrity themselves. For this reason, personal assistants more than ever fill similar roles to public relations professionals, constantly on-message and consistent with handling of public affairs.

You may also find that, depending on the taste and requirements of clients, your face-to-face interactions may be more infrequent than they’ve previously been. The digital age has changed the face of the personal assistant role, evolving it from the position of a go-getting girl Friday to the role of a technically proficient and well-spoken communicator familiar with contemporary business trends and decorum.

As most fields of study change bit by bit with the transition to a web-dominated, digital golden age, personal assistants have evolved their roles to be more involved, demanding respect and notoriety as representatives of celebrities and top corporate executives. The aspiring personal assistant should shed those images of pseudo-slaves and envision the organized, business-savvy and passionate worker that embodies the personal assistant of today.

Submitted by Guest Blogger Anne Berlow. Anne is a content specialist at Capterra, a business software industry leader.


Ira S Wolfe