Like most jobs, PA roles come in all different shapes and sizes. Depending on the company, industry, location and business leaders, the scope of an assistant or secretarial position can vary enormously. And while we certainly see the breadth of these roles on a daily basis, it has to be said that each and every great PA possesses a set of basic core attributes. These form part of an overarching character trait, and one we celebrate in candidates!
Some might call it tenacity, others might label it as strength of character. We’d describe it more as a humble sense of resolve. It goes without saying that if you want to be a great PA, you’ll need to sharpen up your skill set to a certain degree, but equally – get tough. To better explain this thinking, we’ve highlighted some of the key qualities that will expedite your journey to becoming a successful PA:
If you’re resilient, you’ll become an invaluable support to your team. Most of us, at one time or another in our careers, will occasionally be presented with the challenge of dealing with tricky situations and people. These might be clients, managers, time-sensitive projects or make-or-break presentations. PAs, however, see all these regularly – up front and centre. Not taking things personally is a given trait of a great PA, quite simply because they’re so frequently in high pressure situations and more often than not (rightly or wrongly) on the receiving end of a frustrated individual or team.
Discretion is one of the all-time top behaviours our clients look for in potential candidates. You’ll be exposed to a myriad of personal and professional confidences as a PA, and this unique characteristic will see the best candidates go far in their careers. A gossip might find their credibility is tarnished early on, while those who understand confidentiality will shortly prove themselves to be indispensable.
Travel, long days, late nights, dog walking, personal shopping, budgeting, or liaising with VIPs across the globe could form part of your day-to-day routine. Being a successful PA is highly likely to include a willingness to complete tasks that are out-of-the-ordinary, without complaint.
4. Positive Attitude
In times of high pressure, a busy team will look to their PA as a constant. This might involve playing a pivotal research role in a project, simply making tea, or dashing for a lunch run. But above all, your positive attitude and reassuring influence is the lynchpin for staff morale. As a support member of staff, it’s not uncommon to receive little recognition for the part you play. But when the weight of stresses starts to sway spirits, be assured your uplifting temperament will be sorely missed.
While the above might seemingly paint a stark picture of what life looks like as a PA, the rewards are significant for those who earn their stripes. You’ll strengthen relationships with business leaders, teams and peers whilst simultaneously earn great credibility in professional circles. Our most valued PA candidates, in addition to the financial rewards, will experience great adventures, meet incredible people and even travel the world. While it might take time and experience to reach those milestones, a tough PA will get there.