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Personal Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

Day-to-day job tasks for personal assistants differ based on the services they provide and the environment where they perform the bulk of their work. However, these core duties are common across the profession:

Run Errands Personal assistants run errands for clients, such as grocery shopping and picking up dry cleaning.

Prepare and Cook Meals Personal assistants cook meals for clients based on their desires and dietary concerns.

Schedule Appointments Personal assistants schedule all appointments for clients. This includes managing the client’s schedule by giving them appointment reminders and filling out their daily calendar.

Make Travel Arrangements Personal assistants make all travel arrangements for their client. Sometimes personal assistants travel with the client to manage their affairs while they’re on the road.

Answer Phone and Make Calls Personal assistants answer incoming calls, take messages, and make phone calls for their client.

Sort Mail Personal assistants sort all incoming mail and prepare outgoing mail. This may include writing checks to pay bills and writing correspondence.

Clean Personal assistants keep home or office areas clean and well organized.

Manage Vendors Personal assistants manage all household and office vendors, such as lawn care companies and delivery services, by providing direction and processing payments.


Personal Assistant Skills and Qualifications

Personal assistants are detail-oriented multitaskers with strong customer service skills who perform any and all tasks requested by their client. Individuals who hire personal assistants look for professionals with the following essential skills:

  • Customer service – because personal assistants provide one-on-one service to clients, customer service skills are an essential component of the job
  • Organization skills – personal assistants use organization skills to manage their client’s daily affairs, errands, and appointments
  • Time management – because personal assistants are responsible for maintaining schedules and helping clients stay on top of their responsibilities, good time management skills are a must-have
  • Computer skills – some basic computer skills are required for personal assistants, who may create spreadsheets, make online bookings, and draft correspondence for clients
  • Problem-solving skills – personal assistants use problem-solving skills to manage daily issues and obstacles in their clients’ lives
  • Communication skills – personal assistants need excellent verbal communication skills to speak with clients of all ages and listen carefully to their instructions
  • Multitasking – because personal assistants juggle several varied tasks at once, employers prefer professionals with good multitasking abilities

Personal Assistant Education and Training

Education and training requirements for personal assistants vary widely based on the hiring client. A majority of clients require personal assistants to have, at minimum, a high school diploma or GED. Some employers require additional education or certification credentials. However, some employers may seek personal assistants who have no education or special training whatsoever. Almost all clients do seek personal assistants who have a valid driver’s license and their own reliable transportation due to the amount of travel associated with this job. Training is not provided to personal assistants in the strict sense of the word, as they learn what’s required of them and how to perform these tasks while on the job. All clients have a specific way they want certain tasks to be performed, so there’s a learning curve associated with the job.


Personal Assistant Salary and Outlook

PayScale data shows that personal assistants earn a median hourly income of $14.86. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that secretaries and administrative assistants (including personal assistants) earn a median hourly income of $18.21, or $37,870 annually. BLS data shows that these jobs will likely decline 5 percent through 2026. Benefits are not usually provided to personal assistants, who work for individuals rather than companies. Most personal assistants work on an independent contractor basis and are therefore responsible for managing their own healthcare, vacation, retirement, and life-planning needs. Some personal assistants who are employed by business professionals may receive basic benefit packages that include major medical insurance coverage, paid holidays, and vacation leave.


Helpful Resources

Learn how to become a great personal assistant, explore various job strategies, and master the skills needed to excel in this career using these helpful resources:

The Personal Assistant Network – learn how to become a personal assistant and perform the job well at this website

Be the Ultimate Assistant: A Celebrity Assistant’s Secrets to Working with Any High-Powered Employer – written by a celebrity personal assistant, this book provides real-world work tips for all professional personal assistants and teaches readers tools for giving every client the celebrity treatment they crave

Personal Assistant Tips – browse this website to find content for personal assistants, look for training courses, and search for mentoring programs

How to Be a PA: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Super-Efficient Personal Assistant – this book is full of practical tips and job strategies for personal assistants of all types, including information about making travel arrangements, managing schedules, and performing like a professional

International Association of Administrative Professionals – IAAP offers many tools and resources that are useful for personal assistants, such as dates for learning conferences, information about upcoming training events, and helpful certification programs

The Definitive Personal Assistant & Secretarial Handbook – use this guidebook to learn tips for great time management, communication with clients, and other skills personal assistants need to excel and advance in their chosen career path