To progress to the PA level you will need good to excellent Microsoft office and Typing skills, as mentioned in the last blog. However, this is not the key to getting the job. You will also need to gain excellent PA Admin skills, such as diarising, electronic diarising, planning and international diary management (increasingly important in this day and age). You will need excellent communication skills both face to face and over the phone, as you will be the point of contact for your team or manager. Your written communication will need to be excellent and the ability to produce high-quality professional emails, memos, publications, presentations and letters is highly important.
You will need strong time management skills for your team, manager and your role.
The ability to deal with challenging and changing situations is important. In this era, booking and managing complex travel arrangements are extremely important skills. Other important skills include the ability to take minutes
at meetings, organise events, meet and greet people, organise meetings and manage the running of the office. There are many more skills that can be required, which are not mentioned in the above array of skills. Every job can have specific requirements and you will need to be a dynamic person, who is a fast learner to cope with this.
Progress to a PA and Executive PA
Advanced Level: Executive PA
The Executive PA is difficult. Naturally, you need an absolute advanced level of all of the administrative skills listed that relate to a PA or Secretary. However, the key to the transition to this level is the Executive name. You essentially need to learn to function at the executive level, which means the ability to present yourself in a new more assertive and professional manner. At this level, you should be able to lead others, influence them and delegate to others when it is appropriate to do so. This may sound easy but an array of soft skills and technical competence is required to master this area of the role.
You should also be looking to direct your own career and be able to operate on your own initiative, without being dictated to by your manager. This is a great role if you can get it as you get more freedom to develop yourself, more interesting work and to see more of a high-level variety of issues.
Communication, leadership, influencing, decision-making and problem-solving skills are all requirements that you will need to master. However, the list of skills can be much wider and you may need specialism such as Projects, Events, HR, Finance or other types of skills to be a success.