Thursday, 30 October 2014

Getting the most out of the the PA and manager relationship

Image courtesy of and author nirots

The manager and the PA always have the same objectives. They will attend to different tasks in order to achieve these objectives. 

The manager and the PA are a team. It is important that they communication regularly throughout the day in order to achieve these objectives. Communication is also vital with the team or department. Imagine what it would be like if a team of twenty people came to work for nine hours every day for one week and not utter one word (not even emails). You will go mad! 

So you need to set aside time each day to meet with your manager, ideally to discuss the diary and important tasks needing attention. This time can also include planning the week or month. It would be lovely if this is done over a cup of coffee where you are both quite relaxed before you face the pressures of the day.
The meetings with your manager are very precious moments to both of you. Therefore, you should prep yourself beforehand as the meeting should be two way communication and not one way. You should write down all questions you need to ask, guidance you may need, points you need to bring to his attention and anticipate any questions he/she may have for you. In this way you can get on with you work confidently should he be unavailable during the day. 

These meetings will help greatly in understanding your manager’s rational and you can confidently, make the right decisions on his/her behalf.  Your manager, in turn, will trust and rely on you more. 

At these meetings, do not be afraid to make suggestions or offer a solution to a problem. It may be dismissed immediately, but, you should look at it as a learning curve. Also you are developing your thinking and reasoning abilities.

As you gain your manager’s trust and are more confident in your role, you can be more proactive and see if you can assist in taking on some of his/her minor tasks; ideally one at a time – there is no rush as you are looking to gain confidence in yourself and he also needs to trust you to do a good job. 

The essential tool in a PA’s job or in any courses an aspiring PA attends, is preparation. Preparation can be done by planning your day’s work and prioritising tasks throughout the day.  

Networking internally and externally is also vital to your career. Take every opportunity to improve your skills by learning about anything that is new on the market and you know it will help you to work quickly. This may entail enrolling on a course in order to achieve this. Remember you will be more confident if you are working quickly and last but not least, it will boost your career real. 

Find out more about becoming a PA or EA at

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Microsoft Office skills required by a PA

IT skills are vital to all careers now, but a PA needs a wider range than the average career. Why is this the case? This is because a PA has a wide range of tasks and often has to adapt to different situation in order to ensure that all runs well. This means that you will need the range of IT skills to meet any issues.


Firstly, a fundamental part of PA and EA work is being able to organise and prioritise. This means that you must be able to use Microsoft Outlook, and possibly Lotus Notes. It will depend on the company that you work on, as to which is most important. This means being able to use the diary and calendar function and the email management part to the highest level.


Another useful planning tool in the longer term for small projects or events is Excel. Using Excel as a calendar or to plan resources is used in Project management frequently and knowledge of this product will help any planning. However, your knowledge of Excel is likely to be more important for if you receive tables, numerical or financial data. This is common for a PA nowadays and all the more important if you work in an industry where Excel is a common product. This means for those of you in London that Excel is likely to be important given the large numbers of Accountants and Financial Services.


PowerPoint is a fundamental programme for any PA who has to assist, edit or deliver presentation for themselves or on behalf of management. This is a programme that can really help you to produce high quality presentations.  A good quality presentation can be seen by all in management at times, so this can really raise your profile and get you noticed for your high quality work. This type of benefit should not be underestimated.


Word is a key of course; you are likely to need to produce letters and other forms of written communication. This means that you will need to be able to use the formatting, layout and editing tools that are in Word. There is quite a long list of attributes that Word can offer and ideally you should look to gain as much skill as possible in this programme. This again means that you can get yourself noticed for the professional output that Word can provide you, when delivering documents.

Find out more about PA Courses and Microsoft Office Training at

Monday, 27 October 2014

Core skills for a PA

A PA needs to have some key technical skills which include the ability to organise, work to tight deadlines, diarising and scheduling. These tasks can take up a lot of the day and the requirements for these tasks can vary, so you will need to be highly adaptable to your jobs requirements.

Other core skills that are vital are good writing skills in all different forms of communication. You will need to write excellent emails for all levels formality and always maintaining a professional and high level of Business English.

You will need to have a full range of IT skills in key software for the office, so Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook are likely to be core.

Typing and Audio skills are still important in some jobs, but are less important in others. You will not necessarily need 80wpm, but a competent typing speed is ideal of say 50wpm. Naturally, the more jobs will be open to you to apply the higher your speed. Audio transcription is less common, but again there are jobs that require this, so the skill will make more opportunities open and with a wider range of jobs than with audio skills.

Soft skills are the key to a good PA, so this means that you will need to have great people skills and be able to adapt them to each situation. This means being able to teamwork with your colleagues, manage upward with bosses and deal with complaints.

Client care skills are very important skills as well. However, negotiation and taking the initiative are also very useful in this type of job. All of these skills again need to be employed in a way that suits the conditions that you encounter. A PA is a flexible and dynamic worker who needs to change to suit their conditions.

Advanced and specialist skills are a great opportunity for a PA to be noticed. Projects are a skill that is a new part to many PA roles now, either working with the Project or even managing some Projects. Events are another similar skill. Bookkeeping and Finance are areas that PAs often find they have interaction when dealing with finance reports, budgets and expenses. Social Media and communications are now often managed by a modern PA and this offers a great opportunity to get noticed. This will mean understanding how to coordinate your Social Media work with the corporate strategy which is not as easy as it sounds.

Go to to find out about PA Training.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Tricks to get a job interview

When you are looking for a new role and the job is either a little higher than your previous job or different, it can be tough to and the job interviews. Unfortunately, it is far easier to just look for another job that is similar to your last, but you will not get ahead if you just keep looking for the same type of job.

Here are tips on how to get the job interview that you want, by just tweaking your job seek.

  • Networking: Social media networking on LinkedIn can get you the contact that you need to land an interview. However, general old fashioned networking and telling your friend and acquaintances that you are looking for jobs in this area can lead to referrals. The key to this being a success is making sure you keep contact with a wide range of people and this is a process that will reap rewards in the long run.

  • Training: Update your skills if you need more current qualifications. Or if you need more relevant qualifications find an appropriate source of training and get the certificate. This is the most logical and easy way to gain the necessary accomplishments to get a job interview. However, it is going require some hard work, but nothing comes to those who don’t try to put in more effort.

  • Amend your CV: Amend your CV and covering letter to match the requirements of the jobs that you are applying for. Your previous roles and experience may be great for another role and things that you did not emphasise may be more relevant now. You need to be prepared to think totally from the perspective of your new job role.

  • Customise your covering letter: Ensure that when you apply to an individual company you include details of the company. This shows that this is not a mail shot to many different companies. It will even show an interest in the specific company.
Image courtesy of and author stuart miles

  • Follow up when appropriate: Because this shows interest and can even encourage the employer to take action, if they are procrastinating on the CV that they have received.

  •  Persevere and keep motivated: There are many reasons why some companies don’t get back in contact and try not to read anything into, as you will get through provided that you persevere and don’t lose sight of your objectives.

To find out more about training courses please go to

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My Life and how become a PA helped me to develop my life

My life is not the same as with other 28 year old people. My mother has been married three times and I am the only daughter of four children. Also I am the last of her children. My father is wealthy and has four grown up sons from a previous marriage.

I was very bright at school and had many prizes for passing subjects with a distinction. I did not have to work very hard at school. After graduation, I stayed at home as my mother like having me around and, besides, there was no need to work.

My first boyfriend was lovely and showered me with the attention to which I was so used. I fell pregnant so we decided to get married. I soon found the married life was very different to my single life as he became very possessive always wanting to know where I was; in other words he wanted to control me. I soon began to resent this and the married crumbled.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphoto

I moved back home to the welcoming arms of my mother. My daughter and I now had a carefree lifestyle that I once enjoyed. My aunt, who was a career advisor, would often encourage me to have a career and be independent. I just listened but really had no intention of doing anything about it. In order to quieten her, I had a number of temporary jobs but resented them demanding too much of me and having no ‘chat’ time so I would just walk out.

My father’s business collapsed and we had to tighten the purse strings. With my allowance cut back drastically, I had to generate income for myself and daughter. Through contacts, I found a job as a Secretary. My boss empathised and encouraged me to develop and gain the necessary skills. 

My aunt stepped in again and reviewed the skills required in my job and suggested courses I should take in order to achieve these. I had to drastically change a lot. First was my attitude to my job which was pointed out would be greatly rewarded by my salary. 

I was lacking so many skills such as telephone etiquette, planning my workload, writing and prioritising emails on behalf of the company, organising meetings and so on. Also my IT skill was nil but, I was good at texting. I found the ideal course that covered these weaknesses. This course was intensive and I was fully qualified within two months.

My boss is now giving me more responsibilities such as dealing with confidential matters. I just had my appraisal which was most complimentary, just as it was at school. So watch this space!

See more about training to be a PA at

Monday, 15 September 2014

What is needed to be a good PA?

PA work is challenging because the role is less clearly defined many other admin roles. Therefore, you have to respond to any challenges that are faced by your boss, company or team. This means that you need to be very adaptable and possess a wide range of technical and soft skills to be a successful PA.

A good PA needs a wide range of technical skills and we will focus on the most common. One very important skill is Microsoft Office software. PAs need to have excellent Outlook skills so that they can organise diaries and manage email accounts. They need great Word skills for business letters, document production and memos. PowerPoint is essential for editing presentations and finally Excel for budgets, planning and many other things.

A PA also needs excellent communication skills. This means that they need to be able to possess the best writing skills. The ability to communication formally or informally through written communication is essential.

Communication skills are not only written, but they can incorporate a wide range of verbal and visual communication. Mastering body language and the way that you communicate verbally is essential to ensure that you build networks, influence others and work well with others.

There are numerous other technical skills that are required. Typing competence is often required in PA roles, although with modern technology and changes in the nature of the job there has been less of a fundamental requirement for fast typing. Good minute taking skills are often required, as PAs who can take effective minutes will be desired in many roles.

Bookkeeping skills or the ability to maintain budgets is often required in roles. This is a skill that can be hard to find amongst PAs, but a PA with Bookkeeping skills is an attractive prospective candidate to an employer. Event Management and Project skills are often desired by companies who are looking for a PA who can get involved in a wider range of responsibilities.

These are just the most common skills required but they can vary greatly from job to job. The industry that you work will also impact it and the size and nature of your company, organisation or department. However, generally speaking a good PA should look to master all of the above skills, if they would like to be a great success in their long-term career. 

To find out about PA Courses go to