Examples of Personal Assistant Skills
This list is not exhaustive but includes some of the most important, sought-after skills for personal assistants.
Organization and Time Management
As a personal assistant, a large part of your job will be to keep someone else organized and on schedule. You must, therefore, be well-organized yourself. Fortunately, organization can be learned. There are specific techniques you can adapt to make your use of time more efficient and to otherwise keep your life and that of your manager in order.
Written and Verbal Communication
You will have to understand and follow instructions, and you will have to transmit information clearly and honestly. Depending on the details of your position, you might also have to welcome clients, reply to correspondence, or create reports and presentations. All of these tasks require top-notch communication skills including speaking and writing, listening, and reading.
Accuracy and Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a critical component of both staying organized and communicating well.
Vagueness or inaccuracy create inefficiency at best, and could also cause serious mistakes or alienate your manager’s colleagues.
Knowledge of Relevant Software
Which software you’ll have to handle might vary, but will likely include word processing, spreadsheets, databases, calendars, desktop publishing, and PowerPoint, or something equivalent. Being able to provide at least minimal tech support is a plus. You may have to evaluate several different programs and apps to choose for yourself which provides the best tools to accomplish your manager’s objectives. Always, your job is to make your manager’s job easier and simpler, and that might require a lot of behind-the-scenes problem-solving.
Tact and Discretion
As a personal assistant, you will frequently be exposed to sensitive material, from trade secrets to highly personal information that you will need to keep confidential.
A related skill is tact, the ability to react gently or not at all to information that other people might find difficult or embarrassing. You must, in other words, be a safe person for your manager to be vulnerable with. After all, only you will know how much assistance they need.
Personal Assistant Skills List
These skills are often part of the job description for a personal assistant or are skills of added value. Your employer may need someone who can do these tasks for her.
- Event Planning
- Implementing Procedures
- Maintaining Schedules
- Office Management
- Project Management
- Taking Dictation
- Taking Messages
- Taking Notes
- Travel Arrangements
- Travel Planning
As a personal assistant, all aspects of communications are important for the job. Be ready to show your experience or training.
- Answer Phone
- Greeting Visitors
- Handling Inquiries
- Nonverbal Communication
- Screening Calls
- Verbal Communications
- Written Communications
Do you have experience or training for these tasks?
Are you able to use different platforms and devices and do basic troubleshooting?
- Computer (PC, Mac, tablet)
- Database Management
- Microsoft Office
- Presentation Preparation
- Word Processing
Personal Mastery Skills
These skills are often part of your personality. Show how you have used them and developed them.
- Positive Attitude
- Problem Solving
- Professional Demeanor
- Team Player
- Time Management
- Work Independently
If you haven’t used these skills at a previous job, look at how you have developed them at volunteer or unpaid jobs or use them in your personal life. Do you use these skills as part of a faith community or for a student project at school? Have you developed skills as part of a sports team or individual sport? That experience can also be valuable and make you a better candidate for the position.