As a PA, you will often act as the manager's first point of contact with people from both inside and outside the organisation. Tasks are likely to include:
devising and maintaining office systems, including data management and filing;
arranging travel, visas and accommodation and, occasionally, travelling with the manager to take notes or dictation at meetings or to provide general assistance during presentations;
screening phone calls, enquiries and requests, and handling them when appropriate;
meeting and greeting visitors at all levels of seniority;
organising and maintaining diaries and making appointments;
dealing with incoming email, faxes and post, often corresponding on behalf of the manager;
carrying out background research and presenting findings;
producing documents, briefing papers, reports and presentations;
organising and attending meetings and ensuring the manager is well prepared for meetings;
liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff.
In addition to supporting managers, their team and departments, many PAs also have their own personal workload and responsibilities. The scope of the PA's role can be extensive and additional duties may include:
carrying out specific projects and research;
responsibility for accounts and budgets;
taking on some of the manager's responsibilities and working more closely with management;
deputising for the manager, making decisions and delegating work to others in the manager's absence;
being involved in decision-making processes.
Some PAs do all the secretarial work themselves, while others take responsibility for recruiting and training junior staff and delegate some of the less demanding and confidential work to them.
In addition to relevant experience and secretarial and administrative knowledge, you will need to show evidence of the following:
exceptional written and oral communication skills;
excellent word processing and IT skills, including knowledge of a range of software packages;
the ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines;
good organisational and time management skills;
the ability to research, digest, analyse and present material clearly and concisely;
excellent interpersonal skills;
the ability to work on your own initiative;
honesty and reliability;
attention to detail;
flexibility and adaptability to juggle a range of different tasks and to work extra hours to meet deadlines;
discretion and an understanding of confidentiality issues.
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