A lot of people wonder about becoming a Personal Assistant. It’s not likely something you dream of being when you’re a kid — although there is now heightened awareness of the profession, with the advent of reality shows featuring celebrities with support staff.
Do you have what it takes?
A diverse background helps. If you’re well-traveled and sophisticated, it couldn’t hurt. Some experience managing staff, complex projects, resources, independent contractors, and vendors is good. An understanding of how to get things done in the face of adversity, how to operate within different cultures, and the ability to make your “customer” (aka employer) satisfied.
Having said all that, we’ve met some fairly young people, wet behind the ears, who are darned good Personal Assistants. So if it’s something you think you want to do, go for it.
How to become a Personal Assistant:
There are employment agencies specializing in placing Personal Assistants and other household staff, but they typically will not talk to you unless you’re an experienced Personal Assistant.
It can take some creativity to break into the field. Start with a good resume, and some compelling stories of relevant past experiences. Apply for jobs on craigslist. If you have a good network of contacts, send a blast out to everyone letting them know you’re available for Personal Assistant type projects. Give them a good idea of what you can take on and ask them to spread the word to others. An established concierge service with multiple clients might need seasonal help — can’t hurt to ask.
There is no tried and true career path, but if you’re tenacious and resourceful, you’ll figure something out. And if you’re not, it’s probably not the best career choice. (see “Insider Info” for more useful tips>>)
What is a typical Personal Assistant job description?
The answer is… there is no typical. You might be supporting an individual, or a family. You might be based in a home office, an office outside the home, or in a corporate office. Your job could be close to what is often called an “Estate Manager”, where you’re managing physical facilities near and far, or it could be similar to what used to be called a “Social Secretary,” with primary responsibilities being calendaring and fairly intimate daily management. It could be any of that, and everything in between, and some things you never thought of.