Personal Assistant: Who and What Exactly Are They Doing?

personal assistant

A personal assistant is someone who’s responsible to the director, both in work and personal matters. Entrepreneurs or directors, with their compact activities, need a person that can help them organize some of their work. In order to do that, this is where an assistant is needed.

Sounds like a secretary’s job, doesn’t it? But actually, they are two different types of work, especially in terms of work’s scope. Check out the following article to understand more about the topic:

What is a Personal Assistant?

Those who are trusted by their superiors to help take care of their personal matters and complete various tasks are called an assistant. Just like how the name is, usually, they’re only responsible to only one person and often known as the right-hand man.

Differences Between Secretary and Assistant

Often considered the same, but in fact, secretaries and assistants have quite a lot of differences starting from the scope of work, responsibilities given, and the challenges.

A secretary generally has a scope of work that’s limited to doing office administration work such as managing cash, doing correspondence, filing and others. While the assistant’s work is broader.

Regarding the administrative work, both of them may do the same but assistants have to take care of the needs of their superiors such as monitoring personal accounts, reading and replying to their emails, arranging meetings, managing tickets and hotels, and others.

Speaking of responsibilities, a secretary doesn’t have a direct relationship with their superiors. Whereas, assistants have direct responsibilities to their superior and the ability to understand the work they do in detail, considering they will work closely with their superiors.

In terms of challenges, a secretary will do their work in routine, but assistants have more challenging and dynamic jobs. For example, the intensity of doing meetings with other people will be different day by day. Not to forget, they’re required to do their work quickly.

What Does a Personal Assistant Do?

Being an assistant has the main responsibility and duty to help their superiors to focus on more important tasks. Below are some of the personal assistant job descriptions.

Organize Related Schedules

As an assistant, you will be assigned to manage superiors’ schedules including their meetings with clients and business partners. You’re required to have the ability to organize existing schedules in order to prevent any collision regarding the time.

Intermediary in Communication

The position of an assistant is in the middle between superiors and clients or the company’s employees. Therefore, you’re responsible to receive all phone calls and emails related to your superiors, including responding to their responses.

Organize Document and Paperwork

Organizing various documents such as archives of expenses and the company’s income. Their responsibility also includes keeping safe any documents and digital records.

Provide Reports and Notes

Whenever there’s a meeting, an assistant acts as the note takes or the person who records the result of the meeting then reports it to their superior. Including making reports on each presentation and taking notes of other important things.

Skill Needed By a Personal Assistant

Becoming an assistant may not require a specific educational background. It is not the main requirement. However, rather than pay attention to the educational aspect, it’s better to have some skills needed to become a personal assistant, including:

Time Management and Organizational Skills

A lot of work must be done for an assistant, most of which has to do with keeping the work of superiors organized and on schedule. Therefore, you’re required to have good time management skills.

Meticulous to Details

Another required skill is the ability to pay attention to details. If there’s work that happened to be missed, then it is very possible to disrupt or damage the work process. As a result, it may affect the professionalism of your superiors or other co-workers.


The communication skill of an assistant is very important to ensure that you can convey any task directions and also welcome clients well. Not only verbal but written communication is also needed to do tasks including replying to emails and making presentation reports.

Understanding Software to Work On

In order to speed up the work process, an assistant must be able to understand and operate various work-related software such as spreadsheets, calendars, desktop publishing, database, process presentations, and others.

Respond to Situations

You’re obligated to be able to read the situations such as when your superior needs help or know when’s the best time to react and come up with an argument. Not to mention, you also have to stay calm and keep various information confidential.

Tips to Become a Personal Assistant

To become an assistant, here are some tips that you can follow:

  • Come early. Being an assistant, it’s very important to arrive early to prepare for all your superior’s needs. Make sure the table and room are in neat condition and all documents are in place.
  • The faster you work, the better. As someone who’s being trusted, you must be smart in managing your time to complete your work as soon as possible. Make sure you know the priority of work that needs to be done immediately.
  • Have charisma. Be a charismatic individual because, as a personal assistant, you will deal with a lot of people. Make yourself presentable and stand out from other employees.
  • Know and understand your superior. It is important for you to be able to establish a good relationship and communication between you and your superior. It’s even considered as one of the best achievements of an assistant.
  • Flexible. Sometimes you are asked to complete sudden tasks. As a right-hand man, you need to be ready and able to finish them.
  • Appearance is important. It is mandatory to be presentable to leave a good impression since you will meet a lot of important people or your superior’s business partners.

An assistant is one of the trusted people by the superiors. This, of course, is also proportional to the challenges and tasks that you will do. So are you interested? Don’t forget to also visit Clockster for other information!


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