Nobody can argue that the role of a Personal Assistant is the same from one day to the next. The great thing is, it never gets boring! With tasks ranging from screening telephone calls and handling enquiries to organising your manager’s diary and making appointments… and that’s without the presentations to prepare, minute taking in meetings and looking after visitors!
A job for superman/woman you may think? Well there’s no denying that super powers would help, but here’s the next best thing…our top ten ‘need to know’ digital tools to become a super-star PA!
1. Smartphones – be your own genius
These days, not many of us can live without our phones – it’s the current way of living. It’s therefore imperative that you are a dab hand at being able to deal with any common phone related issues (yes, it’s possible your boss may be a techno-phobe who needs you to ‘set up’ a new work phone!) By this, I mean anything from setting up their preferences, email and itunes accounts, calendars, and taking the initiative to download any apps they wish to have.
2. Tablets – know your apps!
Your job is to make your boss’s life as easy as possible and one way to do this is to take charge of downloading the apps most relevant to their work needs. (This one applies to phones as well but you’ll probably find they do most of their work ‘on-the-go’ via a tablet of some sort). Use your initiative – download an airline app if they travel frequently, or a tube map if they have meetings in various parts of the city. Not forgetting the app for the company you work for if they have one (a very important point!)
3. Brush up on your internet skills:
Often you’ll be asked to carry out research online which will require a good knowledge of using the internet. Knowing how to use specific keywords when searching on google (or any other search engine for that matter!) will work wonders when you’re given that very important research project to complete!
4. Become a friend to Social Media
In some companies you may be given the task of updating/maintaining their social media accounts – a vital part of increasing brand awareness. Although it may sound fun sitting on facebook and twitter at work, on a serious note it’s important that you know how to navigate round the sites and use them to your company’s advantage.
5. Know how to write the perfect email
Responding to emails on your boss’s behalf will play a significant part of your role so as well as knowing how to press ‘reply’ and ‘send’ (which goes without saying really!), there are lots of other little features you can’t afford to not be a pro at! From mastering the mail-merge function, to being able to properly structure the content, even down to creating your own signature! After all, you’re your boss’s right hand man (or woman) so any poor emails from you will reflect badly on them – and that’s bad news for both of you!
6. Be one step ahead of any ‘techy’ developments
Often you’ll be asked to recommend changes in office technology to improve efficiency and be ultra cost effective so it’s important you make that extra effort to keep up to date with what’s hot and what’s not in today’s technologically advanced society!
7. Printers, projectors…and paper-jams!
Like it or not, you’re likely to be the first port of call when your boss needs equipment setting up – setting up projectors, scanners, or simply replacing printer cartridges which means you’ll need to be super speedy with all things gadget related!
8. Managing the ever-changing diary!
Put a note in the diary to familiarise yourself without Outlook and other similar online calendar programmes. This is probably one of the most important parts of your job – your boss will be relying on you to tell them where they need to be and when, so ensuring all entries are correct and up to date is reliant on your ability to use the programme well. Not one to take lightly!
9. Basic design programmes…the know-how
When you’re given the task of preparing a presentation on a Friday afternoon in time for 9am the following Monday, you’ll need to put together something that not only addresses all of the relevant topics, but that also looks professional…and fast! In these situations it comes in handy if you have some basic knowledge of one of the design programmes (could be basic ones such as powerpoint/clip-art or more advanced ones such as Illustrator or Photoshop if you want to be a real show off!) This isn’t an essential skill but it will definitely make you stand out from the rest if you manage to pull it off!
10. Milk and two sugars please…
We’ve left the most important (and slightly tongue in cheek) til last…pretty much all coffee machines these days are digital and the best way to get in your boss’s good books is to make the ultimate cuppa! And if you can remember how their important external contacts/clients take theirs then even better! A minor point you may think but you’d be surprised at how far it could get you!