Six skills of highly-effective Personal Assistants

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Behind every successful MD or CEO is an incredible Personal Assistant. The list of tasks that they’re responsible for is no small feat. More often than not, there’s a large amount of office management involved. Although their work is behind the scenes, there’s a lot that goes into being an effective PA. From studying an office admin certificate or short learning programme, to a host of skills. Here’s what makes a good PA great.

The right programme for upskilling

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Thanks to a programme like an office admin certificate or The IIE’s Office Admin short learning programme (SLP), you can learn a variety of important skills necessary for facilitating daily tasks. At The IIE's Varsity College Part-Time, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), the IIE Office Administration SLP covers areas like management, communication, information systems and even the importance of proper administration within the business environment

An affinity for technology

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A new digital age has meant a host of interesting devices and apps. To be an effective PA, you will need to have a good knowledge of the devices that you interact with every day. The chances are that you will need to manage several devices across the board in order to facilitate your daily duties. From laptops to tablets, smart phones and even pieces of software, you’ll need to show that you understand them all. Should there be any that you aren’t as comfortable with, it will help to show a willingness to learn.


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Trust is a huge factor in whether or not you’ve got what it takes to work for some of the biggest names in the business world. To build trust, you need to prove that you are reliable. This comes from being on time, efficient and meeting your deadlines. Another way to do this is by showing that you are a proactive person who gets things done. This will help show your boss that he can really rely on you.


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This is one of the most crucial skills for a good PA. The ability to have several things on the go at once isn’t something that everyone can do. The best way to improve your affinity for multitasking is to actually start doing several things at once. With a little practice, you’ll soon see that it’s easier than you might think. Time is an important resource for every business, so being able to coordinate many activities at once will save time and help you stay ahead.

Listening skills

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The best PA is one who can listen and retain everything that is communicated to them. This is especially important when you are running the schedules of senior management members. It will also show that you are capable of taking instructions, which will help prove that you are attentive and reliable.

A positive attitude

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No one wants to hire someone with a negative mindset. Not only are people like this tough to work with but they’re often very demotivating. By showing that you’re a positive, high-energy person, you’ll be in demand. The fact that your boss won’t need to micro-manage you will also go a long way towards you getting that job.

Start your career with a short learning programme

Whether you’re looking to embrace new opportunities or make the most of current ones, a range of IIE short learning programmes at The IIE's Varsity College Part-Time can help.

We empower our students to be the best possible versions of themselves. Thanks to our passionate lecturers and our academic support structures, our graduates leave prepared for the demands of their chosen industries. For more on how this administration programme will help you make light work of office processes, please click here for more information.

The IIE's Varsity College Part-Time, an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). South Africa’s leading private higher education provider that’s registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training and accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC).

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