When you write a personal assistant job description, you want to get it right. The best job posting usually attracts the best candidates. Naturally, the most suitable person is the one you want to hire for the job.
In this post, we’ll go over the common roles and responsibilities of a personal assistant. We’ll also give you a few templates that you can use as a starting point. As you craft your own job description, keep in mind any additional items that you should include.
What is a Personal Assistant?
A personal assistant, similar to an executive assistant, does mostly clerical work. This includes answering phone calls, relying to emails, scheduling appointments, purchasing tickets, and booking hotels. Usually, people who hire personal assistants are business owners or senior-level staff members of a company. They work with the boss on a one-to-one basis, helping with a variety of aspects that relate to their work. This means that an assistant must know how to cater to these busy individuals’ needs in a very personalized way.
A responsible personal assistant will know how to provide secretarial and administrative support. This entails being highly organized to accomplish tasks accurately and on time. The best assistants know how to prioritize tasks without being micromanaged.
Key Responsibilities of a Personal Assistant
A personal assistant needs to do an array of clerical or administrative tasks. We can give you the most common ones, but the tasks are specific to their boss’s work life. This means that they can vary based on the needs of the individual who is hiring them.
Managing scheduling and calendars for the hiring party
Most personal assistants will, at some point, manage a work calendar. This mostly entails scheduling meetings, which can be within the company. Some scheduling involves personal appointments and arranging meetings with other company executives.
A calendar can get pretty full, so an assistant needs to know how to set limits. For example, a manager might want to limit meetings to 30 minutes each and have no more than three meetings per day.
Handling all communication and correspondence on behalf of the hiring party
A personal assistant will need to know how to skillfully handle all kinds of communications. They are the point of contact between the executive in their professional capacity and most everybody else. This includes company staff, business clients and contacts, and even family members during business hours.
Examples of managing company communications include screening phone calls. The assistant will connect the boss with people on the other end of the line only under specific circumstances. This means that the assistant needs to know how to evaluate a caller and their reason for calling. When it comes to passing along messages, the assistant will also have a system for judging which messages need to be specifically communicated. The boss and the assistant usually develop this communication system together to appropriately manage requests.
Organizing and coordinating travel arrangements and itineraries
Many business executives travel. This means an array of bookings, including accommodations, meals, and activities. If the boss is the hosting party, they may also need to book venues and accommodations for participants. Then they need to coordinate transportation. This includes transportation from the point of origin to the destination, and one locale to another, or point-to-point transportation.
Travel arrangements can get a lot more complicated than it looks on the surface. A good personal assistant takes the boss’s personal preferences into consideration at every step.
Conducting research and preparing reports or presentations as required
Personal assistants will often do a bunch of tasks that executives would rather not do. Let’s just be honest – every successful executive has to manage their time well. This means passing off tasks like doing research and creating reports and designing presentations. Usually, unless the company has a specific department for it, these tasks go to their personal assistant.
Required Skills and Qualifications for a Personal Assistant
The best assistants have certain skills that qualify them for the job. These can differ depending on what the boss wants them to do. Below are some of the most basic ones.
Excellent organizational and time management skills
Because a personal assistant will usually juggle many moving parts, they need to be highly organized. This includes great time management skills, which includes the ability to prioritize.
Effective communication skills, both written and verbal
Personal assistants need to be excellent communicators because most of their job is communicating. They work one-on-one with business owners and other executives. They field all kinds of questions from within the company and from outside sources. A personal assistant needs to be accurate at all times will all kinds of written and verbal communication. This means understanding what’s incoming and making sure all other parties understand all the outgoing stuff.
Proficiency in using productivity tools and software
The best personal assistants will know the best productivity tools and software because they thrive on these. If you need to up your performance game, ask an executive assistant for tips! These professionals know how to make the most of these tools to stay as productive as possible day in and day out.
Strong problem-solving abilities
Apart from staying organized and maintaining accuracy, personal assistants need to be problem-solvers. This is not an easy job where anyone can just breeze through every day. Personal assistants are like the guards at the gates to every executive. They need to hold down the fort and make sure things run smoothly. When trouble comes knocking, they must know how to handle it smoothly and quickly.
Education and Experience Requirements for a Personal Assistant
Experience is more highly valued than educational attainment for most assistant jobs. Below are the usual minimums for your average personal assistant.
High school diploma or equivalent is usually required
Most companies will require this level of education simply because of the need for strong communication skills. It also means a basic understanding of general principles of life and business, which is important.
Additional certifications or training in office administration is desirable
More than general education, a person with specific certifications can get hired faster. Companies highly value administrative training, whether learned as a course or through apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs.
Prior experience in a similar role is preferred but not always necessary
A personal assistant who has worked in the same role before can find it easier to find similar work. However, since the job is highly personalized, business owners and executives will not always require specific related experience. As long as a candidate has the skills and qualifications, they will be happy to hire someone new.
Sample Personal Assistant Job Description Template
For most personal assistant job description templates, you will find the following basic key sections:
- Introduction or overview of the position
- Key responsibilities section with bullet points
- Required skills and qualifications section with bullet points
- Benefits and perks offered by the hiring party
Below are some templates we like from a few trusted sources.
Here’s a template generated by Workable’s free tool.
Here’s one featured on LinkedIn’s Business’s talent solutions site.
Here’s a template from the Betterteam job posting platform.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who does a Personal Assistant report to?
A personal assistant will report to whoever they are personally assisting. Usually, they work for the owners of companies or other high-level executives in these companies. However, anyone can hire a personal assistant if they want to.
Do Personal Assistants have different responsibilities in different industries?
Personal assistants can have very different roles and responsibilities, depending on the people they work for. In different industries, these variations in tasks can vary wildly. Just think about how many differences there are among individual needs plus all the differences in jobs and you’ll get the idea.
What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and an Office Administrator?
A personal assistant focuses on helping one person do their job more effectively. An office administrator is also responsible for effective operations, but on a higher scale. They manage entire departments or offices versus taking care of one person’s needs.
How can one become a successful Personal Assistant?
The most successful personal assistants are those people who can serve the best. This means doing what an individual needs to function properly at work. Of course, there are limitations to what someone can ask a personal assistant to do.
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What do you want to emphasize on your personal assistant job description? Make sure that you include everything that is most important to you. After all, the best hire for this job is the one who can meet your personal requirements the best.