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Quite often you'll be required to work independently when your boss is away and he/she must have full confidence in you so that in their absence all their work will be handled timely and accurately. You may also be asked to look after your boss's private affairs so you must have high levels of discretion as much of this work will be confidential.
It's also a requirement of a good PA to have an in-depth knowledge of the company they're working in. You need to know who's who in every department so you can liaise with those people on your boss's behalf - this is especially important when they are absent. You are also the first point of contact (both internally and externally) for your boss so you need to be able to prioritise calls and determine who your boss needs to have contact with.
Some typical daily duties of a PA include:
This is not an exhaustive list as the PA role is diverse and new challenges and tasks present themselves every working day.
Typical working hours are the standard 9 to 5 but due to the nature of the job, you're often needed after hours and you must be flexible and not mind the odd late night, especially when your boss is extremely busy. You are usually based in an office environment but on occasion can be needed to travel with your boss to meetings or conferences - these can sometimes be abroad which adds to the variety of the job.
There are no formal qualifications needed to be a PA, though many employers prefer a sound level of education and sometimes even a degree. If you have a recognised secretarial qualification (eg Executive PA Diploma) then this will be an advantage. Most employers are looking for a solid level of experience and you'll have had to have worked your way up the ladder, perhaps starting as an admin assistant, moving on to a secretarial role so that your core admin skills are in top shape.
Generally, potential employers will be looking for skills such as:
Average salaries for PA roles obviously vary depending on where you're working and in which industry. Starting salaries can be anywhere from £20000 - £25000 and salaries for experienced candidates in London can top £40000 plus generous benefits.
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