Every successful leader needs a responsible assistant who will be assigned a part of the administrative and executive tasks mostly related to the current routine work. It is worth noting that the importance of a personal assistant (PA) grows in direct proportion to the development of business. Many successful businesspersons point out that in the selection of a personal assistant, not only professional skills are crucial but personal qualities as well (Jones 101). The specifics of this position are expressed in the need for a high degree of confidence in the chief in a subordinate.
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Ms. Jane Smith is a personal assistant to the CEO, and she has been working for the company for five years already. She was hired for the position of an administrative assistant when the company was small, but it has gradually expanded its operations as well as the number of employees, which is currently more than 200 people. As Ms. Smith has been a part of the company since its onset, it was crucial to interview her to learn how her duties and responsibilities have shifted and what she considers to be the most important traits of a PA in a large-scale company.
According to the interviewee, an effective PA should possess such qualities as high analytical skills and logical thinking, advanced memory and the ability to multitask, perseverance, and the ability to handle stress. In addition, the successful assistant has to possess developed communication skills and have high loyalty to the company and to the CEO (Jones 164).
As for her main duties, Ms. Smith is involved in administrative support; she compiles the work schedules for her boss, coordinates and organizes meetings, and receives visitors. She is also responsible for preparing reports, presentations, various surveys, and general statements. She performs the search and processing of data and the overall implementation of the informational and analytical support to the boss. Ms. Smith prepares statements of negotiations, business meetings, and conferences, which are held by the boss (for instance, she is responsible for writing minutes of a meeting).
According to the interview results, one of the key competences of a successful PA is the knowledge of foreign languages and advanced accounting skills. Quite often, PAs need to work as translators, especially when doing the representative work (Jones 164). The interviewee mentioned that it is advisable to take the advanced accounting courses in addition to such subjects as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) as prior knowledge of such applications will ease the process of work. In addition, it is advisable to obtain such a degree as a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) to be able to work as a PA to the CEO.
In general, Ms. Smith mentioned that she is indeed satisfied with her job despite the fact that it does not allow any free time, and she has to be available 24 hours seven days a week. Nevertheless, this job provides an opportunity to develop such competencies that are relevant and useful for almost any type of work, and it also enables networking and making connections with influential people. In addition, to be able to perform her duties properly, Ms. Smith has to read a lot of field-specific literature, which contributes to her expertise as well. Thus, the job of a PA encourages becoming a versatile specialist and acquiring such competences and skills that will be useful and applicable to a variety of other areas.
Jones, Jan. The CEO’s Secret Weapon, New York: Springer, 2015. Print.
Smith, Jane. Personal interview. 2016.