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Optimizing your role as a personal assistant

Being an executive or celebrity's right hand man or woman can be a stressful career choice, but a highly rewarding one for personal assistants that take the time to perfect their job skills.

A great personal assistant will bring more to the table than simply running errands and making their boss's coffee the right way. From improving their employer's life to even handling some of their workload for them, a personal assistant has to be able to function as their boss's right hand, foot or even ears. They will need to be able to sit in on meetings, offer business advice and even handle many of the basics of their life in order to simplify their daily needs.

Ultimately, there will be many aspects to a personal assistant's day-to-day life that will come into focus as ways to optimize and improve the services they provide, but there are a few distinct ways that any PA can improve their role immediately and start making a bigger difference – and therefore strengthen both their job security and relationship with their employer. These are:

Act as their memory – The key part of a personal assistant's job is maintaining their employer's schedule. This means you're acting as his or her memory, reminding them of important meetings, deadlines at work, family events and even when to take a break. You'll also want to be on the spot with things they need, but shouldn't have to remind you of – their morning coffee, lunch, getting their car washed and other minor tasks. It also pays to remember the little details that might escape them – a client's wife's name or the school that their employee's child just got accepted to. This will help them maintain their personal relationships more effectively and all the nuances that go with being a major player in their circles.

Always be professional – Maintaining a well-groomed, professional air at all times goes hand-in-hand with being a personal assistant. Even when your employer cuts back and lets loose a little, you need to maintain that professionalism to keep yourself above and beyond other assistants, and keeping yourself within his or her circle of trust. Furthermore, as your boss's right hand, you're an extension of their image, which means maintaining that professionalism both on and off the clock, especially when working for a celebrity. 

Ask them to mentor you – Asking your boss to mentor you shows that that you respect their opinions, ideas and work ethic, while also demonstrating that you are looking to continuously better yourself. This also encourages a closer working relationship with your employer, which helps you to know them better and anticipate their needs, making your job just a little bit easier. 

Keep detailed notes and records – Keeping detailed notes and records of everything important, such as meetings and functions to attend with or for your employer, as well as the conversations they have that are worth remembering, will help make it easier to keep their schedule and give them important reminders, such as when a coworker's birthday is approaching. Furthermore, it is important to keep notes and detailed records of your own schedule, so that if you're sick or take a vacation, they will be able to function comfortably without you – but not too comfortably.

Prevent unnecessary meetings – One of a personal assistant's primary job roles is keeping their employer's schedule and accepting, or rejecting, meetings. Knowing when to prevent unnecessary meetings will make you a boon in their eyes and cement your role. This means asking questions when taking messages, including what a meeting is about and why it is needed. Get comprehensive answers the first time round and you'll be able to prevent time-wasting and unnecessary meetings.

Understand their personal objectives – You always want to be furthering your boss's personal objectives in life, family and work. In order to do this, you need to have a firm understanding of what they are. Sit down with your employer and discuss their long- and short-term goals and ensure that everything you do fits within their framework. Meet regularly to update your notes and ensure you're always taking the optimal path.

For personal assistants looking for a new boss to work for where they can fill these essential roles, Colonial Domestic Agency offers high-quality job placement services. Personal assistant jobs in LA can be lucrative for the right person, with the right skills to make themselves an invaluable part of their employer's life.