Required Skills and Qualifications to Find a PA Job in London
The PA profession is often misconstrued. Contrary to popular opinion, personal assistants do far more than take calls and make coffee; there are a whole host of required skills that make it a highly specialized and skilled occupation. As one of the world’s leading cities, London has plenty of job opportunities for upcoming personal assistants, from celebrities looking for an extra helping hand to global corporations in need of a translator.
When you’re working as a PA your day will be largely unpredictable. From sitting in the office answering calls to running errands for your manager, you never know what you’ll be doing next. Common activities include: screening and handling enquiries, organising your manager’s diary, writing letters, maintaining office systems, taking notes at meetings, taking care of visitors. If you have other skills, such as bookkeeping and accounting, your prospects will be greater and you may be hired to conduct minor administrative tasks as well.
Hours and Income
Like New York, London is a city that never sleeps. Depending on your job description, you could be working standard nine till five office hours, or via an international clock. Part-time work may also be available. According to National Careers Advice, the average starting salary for a PA in the United Kingdom is £18,000 to £25,000 per year. However, this will generally lean towards the latter in Central London areas. Some organisations, however, may be willing to pay between £30,000 and £50,000.
Personal qualities are equally as important as formal qualifications. As well as good people skills and the ability to adapt to different situations on-the-fly, you will also need a good standard of education. GCSEs in maths and English are generally essential, while diplomas and certificates will be looked upon favourably. The ability to speak a second language, particularly if you’re looking for a job in the international corporate sector, may also be a huge benefit.
Training and Development
Most personal assistant jobs will offer on-site training. However, getting a qualification will certainly help you acquire those precious interviews. Courses are available in London via Souters Training, that will give you a decent grounding in the various skills required to get started. While you’ll have to adapt to all PA jobs to develop and move up the ranks, having a qualification will open those initial doors.
With the rise of the Internet, there are an increasing number of PA jobs available in the online sector through virtual and serviced offices. While they may not offer steady, full-time employment, they could be a viable way to break into the business and gain some valuable, relevant experience in the industry.
To find a PA job in London, check job sites on the Internet, visit your local Job Centre, and try to network with other people in the business. As the role of a PA is highly personal, sometimes you’ll have to go that extra mile to find potential clients as certain openings may be awarded on recommendation.