The role of personal assistants is multi-faceted. They must be many things, often in the same day. They are their employers’ gatekeepers, advisors and, in some cases, maids. These duties are amplified when the employer is a high-profile individual. Whether wealthy, famous or both, these bosses require personal assistants who can rise to the demands of a life lived in the spotlight.
The day-to-day tasks of high-profile personal assistants depend on the industry in which they are employed. An assistant working for the CEO of a publicly traded company may primarily perform tradition administrative duties, answering telephones and drafting correspondence. He also greets guest and manages the boss's calendar. Some personal assistants, on the other hand, are employed by individuals, such as socialites, artists or entrepreneurs. In these instances, they may be asked to perform task atypical of those employed in office environments. They may procure personal items, such as food, clothing or hygiene products for their bosses. They may act as babysitters to their employers’ children. They may even be required to accompany their managers on vacations, which, depending upon the boss, can be viewed as a perk or a pain.
Personal assistants are required to have at least a high school diploma in most business environments. Certain industries, however, such as financial services and academia, require a formal college education. It is often more important for a candidate to demonstrate the ability, through references and past professional experiences, to follow instructions, learn quickly and be organized.
In addition to any formal educational qualifications and previous professional experience, a high-profile personal assistant must possess skills that are not necessarily taught in a classroom. Perhaps the most important quality is the ability to perform their duties confidentially. Public figures, such as movie stars, politicians and musical acts, are often hounded by paparazzi, reporters and other members of the media. As a result, personal assistants must work diligently to ensure that their high-profile employer’s private information does not become public. In fact, it is not uncommon for those in this profession to be legally bound to silence by a confidentiality agreement.
It is vital to have excellent interpersonal skills. When performing their day-to-day tasks, they work and act on behalf of their employers. Depending upon their bosses’ profession, they may have to interact with other important individuals, such as dignitaries and high-ranking corporate executives. As a result, they must be able to represent their bosses in a professional manner.
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