As a PA recruitment agency, we know how varied PA jobs in London are. It’s difficult to compare one with another, but broadly speaking, a private PA works for just one individual on a privately funded basis, helping them out with all sorts of tasks. A corporate PA or executive assistant works for a company, potentially supporting multiple executives and usually concentrating on traditional administrative and support tasks from travel management through to inbox management.
The roles are quite different, but the skills used in each are highly transferrable. At our PA recruitment agency, we’re increasingly seeing homeworking Londoners become private PAs to make their lives easier. As such, many looking to move from office support jobs in London and PA roles within offices are now looking to move to private work. Here are our top tips for a smooth transition:
Craft your CV
Your skills acquired in office support jobs are valuable, but when it comes to your CV, you need to tailor them to what a private individual employer is looking for. This means you may need to highlight certain skills that didn’t seem as important before. For example, how can you show that your travel management skills are as useful for booking a family holiday as a work trip?
Focus on personal support
Specifically, your role as a private PA is to make the life of the individual easier. Central to this will be a level of personal support beyond what is expected within the corporate environment. You need to be able to get into the mind of the parent with childcare issues or wobbling personal fitness goals just as easily as you can dash out a PowerPoint for a work meeting.
Within a corporate role, you will typically have a clearly defined set of expectations and job duties. Within the private PA role, things are far more fluid. You may be arranging interviews for housekeepers one week and then project managing a family event the next. You need to be prepared to get stuck into whatever is required of you and show you have the flexibility to do it.
Discretion is a must
Discretion in PA jobs is always important. However, as a private PA, you will have deeper access to an individual’s private life. Whether you’re booking medical appointments or are aware of the individual’s clothes size, it’s your job to be supportive and discreet. Your employer will need to trust you to make this relationship work, so it’s important to show that you’re authentic and that you value their privacy.
Individual bosses vary enormously
Whether it’s working for a high-net-worth individual (HNWI) or celebrity, an entrepreneur or business owner, private PA roles can vary as much as the individual themselves. Build a good and open relationship with your PA recruitment agency about the type of individual you would be willing to work with. They will then be able to match you to the most suitable roles.
Don’t neglect your tech skills
Finally, don’t neglect your computer literacy. If anything, you’ll need it more than ever because you won’t have others to fall back on for advice and support. You’ll need to know which apps and programmes will enhance the individual’s life — and you’ll need to be a pro at using them.
Ready to make the change?
It’s exciting when you decide to make a shift in your career, and this is a particularly exciting one. We’re here to help you make the move. Get in touch.
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