You may be researching interesting careers with room to grow, in which case you might consider becoming a personal assistant. This fast-paced career offers plenty of day-to-day excitement, as well as opportunities to make industry connections. Of course, finding a job as a personal assistant isn’t easy, as the people who usually hire personal assistants are often picky about who they choose. It takes understanding how to sell your experience to demanding clients to land personal assistant positions offering great pay and long-term stability.
Learn About the Position
Before you pursue a personal assistant position, make sure you know what to expect. After all, you don’t want to get the job only to find that it’s not what you had hoped. While every personal assistant job is unique, some expectations are standard in the majority of them. One of the main benefits of the job is that every day is different. One day you may be running errands, then you may be taking notes at a meeting the next. Because personal assistants are required to wear many hats, you may find this constantly changing workday to be overwhelming if you’re not able to switch roles regularly.
Another benefit of working as a personal assistant is that you may get to interact with important people fields that interest you. At the same time, you may be treated as just an assistant, and not an equal. Another downside is that personal assistants are often required to be on call 24/7. Working as a PA can be stressful, and it often requires you to work long hours. On the other side of the coin, if you work hard and prove yourself, you may find that new opportunities to advance your career become available.
Pursue Relevant Education and Experience
Now that you understand the pros and cons of the job, you can decide if you want to take the next step, which is beefing up your resume with relevant education and experience. While it may be possible to land a job using only your natural charm, you’re far more likely to capture someone’s attention if you have relevant skills to offer. One option is to take event planning classes. You could also look into training programs for secretaries. Check your local vocational schools to see what types of relevant classes are available.
In addition to taking classes, you may want to look into related entry-level positions and gigs. For example, you could start by working as a personal shopper for the elderly, then use that experience to leverage a PA position. Another option is to find a part-time secretarial job. If you don’t have the time to take on a regular position, check local message boards, social media pages, and classified ads to find one-time gigs. Sometimes just showing that you’re actively working in that field is enough to instill faith in a potential employer. Start small, and you may find that one gig leads to another until you reach your goal.
Network With People in Your Preferred Field
Many personal assistants get their positions simply by being in the right place at the right time. For many people in important positions, soft skills such as friendliness and confidence are more important than the hard ones on your resume. Because personal assistants work closely with their bosses, it’s very important that you get along with one another. For that reason, often informal introductions are more effective than professional interviews in landing a PA position. Attend relevant events, and do your best to get some face time with the person you’re hoping to work with. Mention that you’re seeking PA work. Getting the word out there is essential. After all, nobody is going to hire you if they don’t know you’re looking to be hired.
Improve Your Online Presence
In today’s digital world, the importance of a strong online presence can’t be overstated. You can be sure that if someone is considering hiring you, they’re going to search your name online. Make sure your social media accounts portray you in a favourable light, or make them private. It’s also a good idea to create a website that highlights your unique skills. An online portfolio makes sense because when you meet someone, you’re not usually going to have a resume handy to give them. And, even if you did have a resume to offer, nobody wants to carry it around with them — your role is to make their life easier, not more difficult. Instead, create a solid website and some attractive business cards with the address. That way when you’re networking, you can simply hand a prospective employer your card.
Communicate Your Value
As technology becomes smarter, you may find that other people aren’t your only competition — you also need to compete with virtual assistants. When you’re networking or interviewing, be sure to sell the unique human contributions that you bring to the table. Whether it’s your friendly demeanour, impressive handwriting, or ability to multitask, make sure that your potential employer is aware of the attributes that make you a better choice than a smart assistant (or another person).
Becoming a PA takes time and effort. Try not to get discouraged if you’re struggling to get the job. Sometimes just finding a person who needs a PA is difficult enough, not to mention actually getting your foot in the door. If you want more opportunities, you may need to move to a large city such as Montreal or Toronto. Start by taking small steps towards your goals. As long as you’re persistent, you should be able to work your way up over time.