Personal Assistant

Job Description:

Personal assistants give secretarial and administrative support to managers.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • screening telephone calls and handling enquiries
  • organising your manager’s diary and making appointments
  • dealing with letters and emails
  • arranging meetings
  • organising and maintaining office systems
  • taking notes at meetings
  • making travel arrangements
  • looking after visitors

Many managers rely heavily on their PA and give them a high level of responsibility, so in some jobs you may have extra tasks like:

  • standing in for the manager in their absence
  • acting as office manager and supervising other administrative staff
  • dealing with accounts and budgets
  • taking on project work, like research or producing reports and presentations


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of English language
  • business management skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • administration and organisational skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Personal Assistant (PA), there are no specific subjects that are mandatory. However, certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing you for this role.

  1. English Language: Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for effective communication with your employer and other stakeholders.
  2. Mathematics: Basic numeracy skills are important for tasks involving scheduling, budgeting, and financial management.
  3. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software, email, and office applications is crucial, as PA roles often involve administrative tasks.

Post School

There are no set requirements to become a personal assistant (PA), but you’ll need proven experience of administrative work.

Employers will usually look for a good standard of general education, including school qualifications in English and maths. A recognised qualification in office skills or administration, or a business-related foundation degree, HND or degree could all help you find a job.

Foreign language qualifications may also be useful if you plan to work in an organisation that deals with overseas visitors and clients. Having extra skills like shorthand and audio typing can also help you get in.

Temporary work (temping) can be a good way of getting administration experience and can lead to a permanent job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week Monday to Friday, possibly with extra hours to meet deadlines.

You’ll be based in an office, but may travel to go to meetings and other events.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could take on more responsibility by moving to a larger company or working for a more senior manager.

Promotion to management may also be possible.