1. Get involved in professional networks
The PA community is an active and supportive network. Social media, such as our Hays PA & Secretarial LinkedIn group and Twitter account, and face-to-face meetings of regional networking groups provide opportunities to learn from your peers. It is beneficial to your professional development to speak with experienced peers about what is needed to be a successful PA and find a mentor who can offer you professional support and advice.
2. Consider all career opportunities
If you are looking to excel in the role of a PA and gain as much experience as possible, consider all of your options. Don’t dismiss the opportunities offered by different types of organisations when looking for a new role. For example SMEs can offer you broad experience across many departments, large corporates may offer the kudos of a household name while many people find high levels of job satisfaction working in the public sector or for a charity. When mapping your career path you should consider which option is best for you.
3. Develop your skills
As a PA you will need a broad range of skills and characteristics to succeed. The best PAs use a combination of life experience, knowledge of the working world and excellence across administrative functions to excel. Consider training courses to ensure you are up to date with the latest technology to organise your work and your manager’s schedule. Don’t forget to develop your soft skills - a PA once said to me that a successful PA is someone that can build strong relationships which they then can use to influence at all levels within the business.
4. Be proactive and embrace flexibility
The most successful PAs will ‘always go that extra mile’ and accept new challenges according to survey respondents from our ‘What makes a successful PA?’ report. Be proactive and confident, and embrace the opportunities that are out there. Communicating your career intentions to your manager may open new doors to these opportunities and challenges.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you want to be a superstar PA you will need to use your innate hardworking instincts and proactive approach to drive your own career forwards, and I hope these tips will get you started. What would be your top tips for aspiring superstar PAs?
The ‘What makes a successful PA?’ Methodology
In the spring of 2015, we launched a survey across the UK, encompassing organisations of all size and across all sectors. We received over 2,500 responses from employees (PAs and EAs) and almost 300 responses from senior level employers (MDs and CEOs).
Respondents were asked for their views on the PA role: the chief responsibilities, duties, skills and characteristics needed for success. We also asked questions around career development and key goals for the future.