I am PA to Tiger Recruitment’s Managing Director, David Morel. My role includes diary management, liaising with clients and candidates and ensuring my MD’s life is running smoothly; at times this can get a little hectic, but it is all part of the fun!
Each day I like to arrive at work early to catch up on anything I have missed overnight and settle in before the working day begins. I start my day with a healthy breakfast packed with slow release energy to keep myself ready for action all day. I then bring out my notepad ready for my days check list.
Get your Priorities Right
It may sound a little vintage to write a check list, but I find this one of the most fantastic tools when it comes to prioritising and ensuring all tasks are complete before you leave the office each day. Write your check list in order of priority, this is crucial, leave the least important tasks until last and get your pressing tasks done before lunch. This really takes the weight off your shoulders and helps you keep a clear, calm and collected mind. I must say, one of the most rewarding feelings I find in my role, is when I see my check list completely ticked off!
Keep it clean! A tidy work place is a tidy mind – okay, I admit, my desk can get a little busy every now and again, however I ensure that each evening my desk is clear of mess and paper. There is nothing worse than looking at a messy desk when you arrive at the office in the morning, avoid the stress and tidy up.
It’s all about the Confidence
Being a PA, you need to be confident and strong, you need to stick your neck out on the line and occasionally make decisions on behalf of your boss – yes, this can be terrifying, but if you know your boss inside out like you should, this confidence will come easy. Never be worried to discuss things with your boss, essentially you are their ‘right hand man’ and they need you to work to their speed and accuracy, ask questions if you do not know exactly what you are required to do.
You may be required to liaise with bodies outside of your organisation; you need to ensure you approach this with confidence and ability. You are essentially representing your boss and you need to make a great impression. You need to be personable and work well with others, occasionally you may need to work with difficult personalities in pressurised situations, and you will need to adapt to this.
As a PA, and a face of your company, you need to keep up an appearance. Make an effort for work each morning, when you make an effort and feel great, confidence just comes naturally. Your office may not be suited and booted, but ensure that clothes are ironed, shirts are not transparent and you are modest without too much flesh being on show. Body language is important when meeting with people, be sure to keep a smile – it goes a long way!
As you are looking after a huge part of your bosses work load, it is so important to keep orangised. As I mentioned earlier, a clear check list to work from is absolutely ideal when it comes to organisation. You need to constantly stay one step ahead of your boss and ensure that you are able to organise whatever they request as soon as physically possible. Use your commuting time efficiently, use your mobile phone to monitor e-mails and catch up on what you may have missed during the night. I also highly recommend coming in to the office before anyone else, and staying late past your normal working hours, this can help immensely when it comes down to finishing work and ensuring that all completed work is at a high standard, whilst e-mails and telephone calls die down.
Be sure to proof read all e-mails before sending them – it may sound a little ridiculous, but in the fast paced role such as a PA, it is so important to get all details 100% correct. Take a few moments to look over all correspondence, you are representing a company and you need to maintain high levels of professionalism as well as being approachable and polite. An excellent telephone manner is essential, I like to treat those on the telephone as royalty, and I like to make the caller feel as though nothing is too much to ask. It is so important to be clear and concise. Where necessary, I often follow a telephone call with an e-mail to summarise all that has been discussed, particularly if it is only a voicemail that you have managed to leave, this makes life easier for yourself, the caller and your boss, as everything is laid out in writing. In order to do your job properly, and to meet deadlines, you will often need to chase clients, customers or suppliers, by doing this you will never miss out on any of your own deadlines and cause an inconvenience to your boss.
Of course it is important to build a good rapport with your boss and colleagues, but be sure to keep professional – this is a work place, not a playground. When communicating with your boss, you will need to keep all e-mails and telephone calls professional and remember that you are employed to support your boss as a professional, not a peer.
A Jack of all Trades
A PA should be happy to pick up any task thrown at them, whether it be running to the post office to pick up stamps, or booking a family holiday for your boss. A good PA is a ‘yes man’ and keeps positive at all times, as an integral part of your boss’s life, you are required to stay positive. Negativity reflects onto others, and if you are forcing negative vibes on to your colleagues, it will only end badly! No task should be too trivial for you to complete, as task has been given to you in confidence that it will be completed by the deadline never let this slip past you.
Be pro-active in your role, if something breaks, find a way to fix it, if someone needs your help and support, and be there for them. Constantly think on your feet and be up to date with your surroundings, keep records of the upcoming fire drills and inform the team of all important information regarding the office. You are most likely to be the go-to person in the office so never let your team down.
I have saved the best until last, being a PA can be stressful and hectic, and it is so crucial that you get the chance to wind down and relax. Yes, I must admit, I like to work in the evenings when I am in the comfort of my own home and can get small tasks done which I may not have had time to do in the office. However, on the occasional evening and during the weekends I like to put my feet up and enjoy some time to myself, relaxing. You may find the best way to shut off from work is to exercise, to meet up with friends and family, or to watch a great film with a glass of wine; whatever works for you, do it. Believe it or not, when you get the time to wind down and get some rest, the more energy you can put in to your role when you return to work!