Personal assistants analyze, respond to and send out communications. Since they usually work in close proximity to top management, they generally need to pay particular attention to maintaining a professional appearance and manner. Some personal assistants, however, work from home and perform their job duties remotely.
The core skills needed to be successful include touch-typing and the use of desktop publishing and other office software programs. Since much of their responsibility involves the preparation of documents, personal assistants generally need strong writing, spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. They also manage documents by organizing both electronic and paper files; some companies might also ask personal assistants to set up or maintain a corporate library. Finally, some companies or industries require assistants to have the ability to read, write and speak a foreign language.
Personal assistants maintain executive schedules, organize and attend meetings, make travel arrangements and record minutes. Other duties might include completing personal tasks for executives, such as shopping for gifts.