Secretary or Personal Assistant

Office and Administration

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Secretaries or Personal Assistants assist professionals, managers and executives by performing clerical and secretarial duties. Future Growth Decline

ANZSCO description: Performs liaison, coordination and organisational tasks in support of Managers and Professionals

Alternative names: Executive Secretary, Office Professional, PA

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A personal assistant needs:

  • a desire to assist people in their work duties
  • a friendly and polite demeanour
  • good communication, writing and listening skills
  • planning and organisational skills
  • administrative skills
  • decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • good command of the English language, both written and spoken
  • sound organisational and interpersonal skills
  • able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • able to work independently
  • aptitude for working with computers
  • good grooming and presentation
  • able to act with tact and discretion.

Secretary at DeskDuties and Tasks

Secretaries or Personal Assistants may perform the following tasks:

  • screen telephone and personal callers
  • make and record appointments
  • operate office equipment such as photocopiers, fax machines, switchboards and computers
  • file correspondence and other records
  • receive and process incoming and outgoing mail
  • write letters and reports on behalf of the organisation
  • store and retrieve data on computers
  • talk to clients
  • prepare agendas or programs for meetings
  • attend and take minutes of meetings, both in the office and at other locations
  • organise business itineraries, travel arrangements, conferences, meetings and social functions
  • hire and supervise staff
  • maintain budget and account records
  • purchase office supplies.

 

Working conditions

Personal assistants work in offices. They may travel to attend meetings or to help co-ordinate the work activities of senior professionals. They usually work regular office hours, but may be required to work longer hours at times.


Tools and technologies

Personal assistants use office equipment such as computers, and need to be familiar with word processing, data management and presentation development software. They also use photocopiers and faxes, and may also spend a lot of the time on the phone.
 
Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a personal assistant without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in business administration. The Certificate III and IV in Business Administration are widely available from TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The junior personal assistant and executive personal assistant traineeships usually take 12 months to complete.

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