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Personal Assistant - the 21st Century Way

As my first job was as a PA at NCR to two sales managers who didn't speak to each other, I learnt early how difficult the life of a PA can be.  I enjoyed getting everything organised, though, and loved working with all the sales guys and getting to understand the sales processes.   And so my very first job exposed me to two things which enabled me to grow in business, sales and IT.

Today being a PA is a well paid career choice, and the incredible abundance of information available online, from weather patterns abroad to the rules of etiquette in different locations globally, has helped to establish a new generation of personal assistants – people who create the kind of structure that can help make their bosses look good.

We are starting to notice that executive level leadership within companies are looking to hire personal assistants who not only have ICT skill sets, but can utilise these skills to source relevant and accurate information to help manage the office.

These are the small matters, the trivial things that also require attention, but do not necessarily have to be done personally by the executive in charge. These tasks could be left to the PA to resolve  - or the PA could use technology and information to be proactive, take the initiative and help clear out these responsibilities.

Managers of businesses want to employ personal assistants who possess the confidence and skills to gather information, if and when necessary, to take care of day-to-day tasks in the office that will alleviate some of the pressure off senior management.

For example, a forward-thinking and competitive PA, knowing his or her boss has a trip abroad scheduled, could look up weather conditions at the destination and email an advisory message on what ought to be packed. 

It is a small thing, really, but it is very helpful. It removes one of the many items that the boss would have otherwise had to pay attention to. By simply taking a bit of initiative and accessing information resources, the PA has added measurable value.

From there it moves into strong skills in Excel, Word and PowerPoint, creating presentation material, managing board input, enabling senior management to spend less time doing, and more time thinking and planning.   A great PA is an asset most executives don't know that they are missing, until they find the perfect match.

And being an expert PA can be the ideal grounding for moving into many different roles within business.   Just think about some of the skills that are required, logistics, travel knowledge, computer skills, time management, catering and event planning.   All career possibilities in their own right.

www.accsys.co.za/peopleplace

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