Personal Assistant Skills List and Examples

List of Personal Assistant Skills for Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews

Personal assistant sitting at desk
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Personal assistants are similar to executive assistants or office assistants in that all perform routine administrative-type tasks so that someone else does not have to. Duties are likely to include screening or answering phone calls, letters, and emails, managing schedules, and taking notes at meetings.

The difference is that personal assistants only assist a single person, and they may also help with personal tasks such as shopping or scheduling social engagements.

Some people delegate project work to their assistants or have their assistants stand in for them in their absence.

Job Requirements for Personal Assistants

While there is no set minimum requirement for personal assistants in terms of education, a background in business or administrative work helps. A second or third language can be important in some cases, too. In general, the skills you have are more important than your education. A discussion of some of these necessary skills may help you decide if this type of job is for you.

Here's a list of personal assistant skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill. Look through this list and see if you have used these skills in previous jobs or have acquired them through training.

Make notes as to when and how you used or developed these skills.

Then add them to your resume and cover letter or keep handy for filling in job applications. The people who screen applications will often be looking for key skills. Match up your skills with those posted as required for the job. Then be sure they are mentioned in your cover letter and listed in your resume.

You should also develop interview answers about how you used your skills in previous positions. Have an example about how you solved a problem in the workplace using one or more of these skills. Show how using your skills contributed to the success of a project.

Examples of Personal Assistant Skills

This list is not exhaustive, but includes some of the most important, sought-after skills for personal assistants.

Organization and Time Management
As a personal assistant, a large part of your job will be to keep someone else organized and on schedule. You must, therefore, be well-organized yourself. Fortunately, organization can be learned. There are specific techniques you can adopt to make your use of time more efficient and to otherwise keep your life and that of your manager in order.

Written and Verbal Communication
You will have to understand and follow instructions, and you will have to transmit information clearly and honestly. Depending on the details of your position, you might also have to welcome clients, reply to correspondence, or create reports and presentations. All of these tasks require top-notch communication skills including speaking and writing, listening, and reading.

Accuracy and Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is a critical component of both staying organized and communicating well.

Vagueness or inaccuracy create inefficiency at best, and could also cause serious mistakes or alienate your manager’s colleagues.

Knowledge of Relevant Software
Which software you’ll have to handle might vary, but will likely include word processing, spreadsheets, databases, calendars, desktop publishing, and PowerPoint, or something equivalent. Being able to provide at least minimal tech support is a plus. You may have to evaluate several different programs and apps in order to choose for yourself which provides the best tools to accomplish your manager’s objectives. Always, your job is to make your manager’s job easier and simpler, and that might require a lot of behind-the-scenes problem-solving.

Tact and Discretion
As a personal assistant, you will frequently be exposed to sensitive material, from trade secrets to highly personal information that you will need to keep confidential.

 A related skill is tact, the ability to react gently or not at all to information that other people might find difficult or embarrassing. You must, in other words, be a safe person for your manager to be vulnerable with. After all, only you will know how much assistance they really need.

Personal Assistant Skills List

Administrative Skills

These skills are often part of the job description for a personal assistant, or are skills of added value. Your employer may need someone who can do these tasks for her.

  • Administrative
  • Appointments
  • Correspondence
  • Errands
  • Events
  • Event Planning
  • Filing
  • Implementing Procedures
  • Maintaining Schedules
  • Meetings
  • Office Management
  • Project Management
  • Research
  • Scheduling
  • Taking Dictation
  • Taking Messages
  • Taking Notes
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Travel Planning

Communications Skills

As a personal assistant, all aspects of communications are important for the job. Be ready to show your experience or training.

  • Answer Phone
  • Communication
  • Email
  • Greeting Visitors
  • Handling Inquiries
  • Networking
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Screening Calls
  • Verbal Communications
  • Written Communications

Financial Skills

Do you have experience or training for these tasks?

  • Accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Purchasing
  • Sourcing
  • Shopping

Technology Skills

Are you able to use different platforms and devices and do basic troubleshooting?

  • Computer (PC, Mac, tablet)
  • Database Management
  • Microsoft Office
  • Presentation Preparation
  • Reports
  • Word Processing

Personal Mastery Skills

These skills are often part of your personality. Show how you have used them and developed them.

  • Confidentiality
  • Diplomatic
  • Discretion
  • Flexibility 
  • Interpersonal
  • Multitasking
  • Organization
  • Positive Attitude
  • Problem Solving
  • Professional Demeanor
  • Self-Motivated
  • Team Player
  • Time Management
  • Work Independently

If you haven't used these skills at a previous job, look at how you have developed them at volunteer or unpaid jobs or use them in your personal life. Do you use these skills as part of a faith community or for a student project at school? Have you developed skills as part of a sports team or individual sport? That experience can also be valuable and make you a better candidate for the position.

Related Skills: Office ManagerAdministrative / Secretarial Skills | Computer Skills | Customer Service Skills | Receptionist Skills 

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