4 Steps for launching a successful career as a PA or EA

4 Steps for launching a successful career as a PA or EA

Are you thinking about changing your career to become a personal assistant (PA) or Executive Assistant (EA) or are you starting your career wondering what to do after you graduate from school? While there are many possible paths to becoming a PA or an EA, the following steps will give you a straightforward blueprint to launching a successful career:

1. Consider your options for education and training

In Australia, there are no formal, legally mandated academic requirements for becoming a personal assistant. You could theoretically secure an entry-level job; however, education is useful for personal assistants. The majority of PAs have completed year 12, and many have formal education beyond that. You may find it advantageous to obtain a certificate III or IV in a relevant subject such as business administration. Gaining a certificate would empower you to demonstrate that you have learned the business skills necessary to do your job as a personal assistant effectively. Alternatively, you could consider earning a bachelor’s degree; some personal assistants have earned degrees in subjects such as business or legal studies.

Successful personal and executive assistants need to have a broad knowledge base. The essential skills for the job include clerical skills, computer skills and basic maths. Requirements vary for each position; however, you will most likely need to have an understanding of word processing, cloud computing, managing data files, transcription, uploading, downloading, email and general office work. Excellent phone manners will most likely be an essential part of the job.

2. Secure work experience

You’ll often find that there are entry-level jobs available for personal and executive assistants. However, when it comes to getting hired for a job, it can be advantageous to have obtained on-the-job work experience.

If you’re still in school, it may be possible for you to gain relevant experience via year 10 work experience programs.

One of the beautiful things about being a personal or executive assistant is that they work for executives in a wide variety of industries. Some of the most common sectors where PAs and EAs are needed include technical services, public administration and healthcare. When you enrol in a work experience program, you can focus on taking a placement in an industry that suits your interests.

If there are no suitable work experience opportunities available through your work or school, another option is volunteering. It is possible to find volunteering opportunities by phoning or emailing various organisations who have the positions you would be interested in seeking to work.

3. Find open PA job opportunities

There are numerous ways you could go about finding viable work opportunities as a PA or EA. The most effective way is to network in person with people you know. Contact your friends and acquaintances and make them aware of the type of work you are seeking. Make yourself available to corporate recruiters who may be informed of relevant opportunities. You could check job postings online via employment sites and the “Work for us” pages that corporate websites often post.

4. Make contact and prepare to interview

Make contact with prospective employers. Pay particular attention when replying to any selection criteria you find in job postings.

Get interview ready by doing your research. You’ll want to learn as much as you can about the executive you’re interviewing with and the company he or she is part of. Prepare your resume and CV.

Then repeat steps 3 and 4 as many times as it takes to find suitable work. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a while to find a good match. At a minimum, it’s likely to take at least 6-8 weeks to find a job. It may take even longer. Best wishes for finding precisely the right PA or EA position to suit your abilities and interests.

Author: Andrej Kovačević

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