A personal assistant (PA), sometimes referred to as an executive secretary or personal/private secretary, works closely with senior managerial or directorial staff to provideadministrative support, usually on a one-to-one basis. PAs help managers to make the best use of their time by dealing with secretarial and administrative tasks.
PAs need extensive knowledge of theirorganisation. They need to know who key personnel are (both external and internal) and understand the organisation's aims and objectives.
Managers often rely heavily on their PA, trusting that work will behandled efficiently in their absence. Discretion and confidentiality are therefore essential attributes for a successful PA.
Typical work activities
Personal assistants (PAs) often act as theirmanager's first point of contact with people from both inside and outside the organisation. Typical work activities include:
screening telephone calls, enquiries and requests, and handling them whenappropriate;
meeting and greeting visitors at all levels of seniority;
organising and maintaining diaries and making appointments;
dealing with incoming email, faxes and post, oftencorresponding on behalf of their manager;
taking dictation and minutes;
carrying out background research and presenting findings;
producing documents, briefing papers, reports and presentations;
organising and attending meetings and ensuring their manager is well-prepared for meetings;
liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff;
deputising for the manager, making decisions anddelegating work to others in the manager's absence;
devising and maintaining office systems, including data management, filing, etc.;
arranging travel and accommodation and, occasionally, travellingwith the manager to take notes or dictation at meetings or to provide general assistance during presentations.
In addition to supporting managers, their team and departments, many PAs also have...
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