12 Personal Assistant Skills (Plus How to Highlight Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Personal assistants help management and other high-level professionals handle their schedules and job responsibilities. Personal assistants perform a variety of tasks, including record-keeping, updating schedules, planning events and running errands. If you're interested in becoming a personal assistant, it's important for you to consider which skills you may require. In this article, we share a list of 12 personal assistant skills and explain how they can help you perform your duties, plus how to develop and highlight them.

12 personal assistant skills

Personal assistant skills are the proficiencies that these professionals use to succeed in their roles. Understanding the skills you may require as a personal assistant can help you prepare for your career and prompt you to develop new abilities. Here's a list of the top 12 skills for personal assistants:

1. Time management

Personal assistants use time management skills to ensure they complete all of their job tasks. Time management skills include the ability to complete duties efficiently and to allocate the appropriate amount of time to each. One of the primary duties of a personal assistant is to keep another professional's schedule functioning effectively. Their time management skills can help them achieve this.

To develop your own time management skills, take note of how long it typically takes for you or another professional to finish a task. For example, if you work as a personal assistant to a business consultant, you might notice how long it takes them to respond to email enquiries each day. This can allow you to allocate the appropriate amount of time in their schedule to complete this task.

Read more: Time Management Skills: Definition and How to Improve

2. Communication

Communication skills include the ability to interact with other professionals and share information efficiently. Personal assistants use communication skills to receive instructions, create reports and share correspondence with other professionals. These professionals benefit from having excellent written, verbal and active listening communication skills.

To develop communication skills, practice sharing information in efficient ways. You can do this by discovering which communication medium is most effective for you and your colleagues. It's also helpful to improve your active listening and observation skills, as these can help you recognise the best ways to communicate with others.

3. Organisation

One of the primary duties of personal assistants is to organise their supervisor's schedule and perform other administrative tasks. Having organisational skills can help you monitor your supervisor's schedule, file paperwork and keep a tidy workstation. Being able to organise tasks and work materials can help reduce work-related stress and help you become more efficient. To develop these skills, consider using organisational tools such as a planner or a type of calendar software.

Read more: Organisational Skills: Definition, How to Use and Examples

4. Attention to detail

Attention to detail includes having strong observation skills and completing tasks accurately. Personal assistants can benefit from this skill as it helps them develop organisational skills, too. Having strong attention to detail can also improve the quality and accuracy of your work, which is very important for personal assistants.

To develop these skills, try to be specific with your actions and communications. It's also helpful to develop observation skills so you can recognise more minor details.

5. Computer proficiency

Computer proficiency skills include the ability to use technological devices and computer systems, including software and applications. Professionals with strong computer proficiency might also be able to learn how to use new software and technology quicker than those who don't possess this skill. Personal assistants complete many of their job duties through the use of technological devices, so it's important that they have these skills, especially regarding administrative software and applications.

To develop a higher computer proficiency, consider enrolling in a training course or gaining more practice using technology. It can also help to ask another professional who already has computer skills to help you increase your proficiency.

6. Discretion

Discretion is the ability to keep private data and information a secret and perform duties without others knowing. As a personal assistant, this is important because you may have access to your supervisor's personal information. You might also help them schedule personal events, which you couldn't talk about to others. Having these skills can help gain the trust of your supervisor.

These skills can be simple to develop. Try to improve your communication and emotional intelligence skills so you can understand which situations require more discretion. Ensure that you follow the proper protocols when handling sensitive data and refrain from telling others personal details about your supervisor.

7. Flexibility

Flexibility skills include the ability to adapt to new situations and use problem-solving skills. Because much of your workday as a personal assistant depends on your supervisor's schedule, it's important to be able to adapt to this each day. This can include having varying work hours or finding solutions to problems that may arise quickly. Many professionals can develop this skill through practice and by improving their problem-solving skills.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definition, How to Learn and Example

8. Event planning

Event planning skills allow personal assistants to plan meetings and social functions for their supervisors. This skill requires the ability to call vendors, organise schedules, create guest lists and plan for entertainment. Personal assistants can exercise their planning skills in multiple capacities, including planning small meetings with limited refreshments, such as coffee and larger social functions with entertainment and a catering service.

To develop event planning skills, it's important to improve your skills in related areas such as strategy, budgeting and communication. In many cases, it's also important to listen to the advice of your supervisor, as they may have specific requests for the event for you to follow.

9. Record-keeping

Record-keeping skills allow personal assistants to perform administrative tasks. Record-keeping skills involve the ability to work efficiently and complete administrative tasks with accuracy. This is an important skill for personal assistants to have as they may be responsible for keeping records for their supervisor, some of which may include documents and contacts with sensitive information. Being able to file records accurately allows personal assistants and other professionals to reference them when necessary.

To develop these skills, earn experience in administrative roles. It's also helpful to learn how to use administrative software to help you perform your duties more effectively.

10. Knowledge of company policies

Knowing company policies ensures that you act appropriately as a personal assistant and understand your job duties. This knowledge can also help you correctly perform tasks and understand how to contact certain professionals. It may be especially important to understand company policies concerning topics such as the management of sensitive data and discretion and conduct policies. Knowing these policies can help you handle your responsibilities as a personal assistant more effectively.

To gain this knowledge, read your employee handbook. Be sure to ask a human resources professional if you have any questions about policies.

11. Networking

Networking skills allow you to build relationships with other professionals, both in-person and through communication mediums. As a personal assistant, having networking skills can help you plan events and access career opportunities for yourself. Because you may schedule meetings with external professionals as a personal assistant, it's helpful to have these skills so you can make a good first impression and invite collaboration and business opportunities. To develop these skills, improve your communication skills. It's also helpful to attend professional conferences and other events to make connections.

12. Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills allow you to connect to other professionals and interact with them in an appropriate way. These skills combine networking and communication skills to help you build relationships and trust with others. As a personal assistant, you may spend an extended amount of time with your supervisor, so it's important that the two of you get along well. Interpersonal skills can help you improve your collaboration skills and encourage others to build connections with you.

Tips for highlighting your skills in your CV

Here are some tips to help you highlight your skills as an effective personal assistant in a CV:

Use keywords

Keywords are phrases and words that applicant tracking software (ATS) recognises and flags as important. Using these words can help you earn attention for your CV, as a hiring manager is often more likely to see it if your CV passes through ATS. Re-read the job posting to find the skills it mentions and include these in your CV, if applicable.

Include them in your work experience

It's important to include your skills in various sections of your CV, including in your professional summary and work history section. You can include personal assistant skills in your work experience section by listing job duties that allude to the use of the skill. For example, if you write that you use calendar software to manage schedules and plan events, it shows employers that you have computer and event planning skills.

List them in a skills section

Professionals typically include six to10 skills in the skill section of their CV. When doing this, try to use a mix of soft and technical skills. Also, be sure to only use skills that are relevant to the position or can give you an advantage over other candidates. It's often best to be specific, such as listing the computer programmes that you're familiar with.

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