Everything you need to know as a Personal Assistant!

Who am I and what have I done and experienced so far as an Assistant?

Hi, my name is Julie and I know everything about being a PA. Everything? Yes everything!

I have been in the Personal Assistant business as long as I can remember. I think I had my first Office Manager job by the age of 19 and today I am 29 years old.

I have always enjoyed helping people. With my problem-solving mentality, I would always have simple tips and tricks up my sleeve for literally everything. Being as practical and solution oriented as possible. So why not turn my skills into my superpower?

Believe me when I tell you that I had to take a leap of faith here and there. I was not exactly the nerdy type. I enjoyed gaining experience by working hard rather than pulling an all-nighter in the library like most of my friends did at that time.

So the adventure began. While all my friends were going to college, I was working nonstop at the age of 19.

I have developed a personal work mode over the past couple of years. I like to call it ‘boss mode’.

Learning how to work with different types of people; on all sorts of projects in various branches; perceiving different types of managerial positions and responsibilities, experiencing hierarchical working environments; learning new skills, adapting fast to new circumstances, new tools and innovations and the list goes on…

With every new job I gained new experiences and became more flexible, learning how to adjust. But most importantly, I gained new skills.

How cool is it that every company I worked with, I learned as much from myself as I learned from them? By sharing our visions, tips, tricks and insights with each other, we are able to learn, grow as a team and achieve our goals together.

My top 1-1 master skill tips, that I gained and experienced as an Assistant this past decade.

Prioritize wellLet go of the ideology of a perfect day planning. It doesn’t exist. Every morning you should go over your most important items for that day. The rest can – and absolutely needs to wait.
Your holy bibleYou would be a fool if you had to reinvent the wheel every time. Make your own ‘little black book’.
My go to is Trello. I use Trello EVERYDAY. This is where I keep all my lists, notes and to do’s.
Say what? Communication!I can’t tell you this enough, but clear communication is so important. Clear communication is where it all starts. I had to learn this by trial and error, but I’ve come a long way. If you feel like you don’t master this skill, try to get a training. Besides the fact that training courses are fun and little investments in yourself, you’ll notice that you will benefit from it a lot. Not only at work but also at any daily situation.
Put on that best work ethicIf you don’t feel like working, you’re at the wrong place. Work should be fun. Find something you really enjoy doing and that gives you energy instead of costing you energy. Otherwise, I’m afraid it’s going to be a long ride.
Being organized is being in controlBeing organized is a total must. Clean desk = clear mind. Also use online tools that work best for you. It doesn’t have to make sense to others, as long as you have a clear overview on your outstanding tasks and your to do’s, you’re good to go.
Merciless prioritizationFocus only on the most pressing issues and activities. As an Assistant you need to help your boss prioritize, and you absolutely need to be ruthless about it. Have no mercy and be bold.
Keep calm (and just breathe)Staying calm under pressure is a tough one, but serenity makes you a better problem solver. It’s easier to keep a clear perspective when you’re relaxed. You got this.
Impossible? No: we only do POSSIBLEIf you already start with the hunch that you’re not going to succeed, you don’t have the mindset to pull out all the stops to get it done. A good Assistant knows that in order to make the impossible possible, you must be resourceful and determined to just get it done.
Being a Yes-Man?Hell no-sir, not on my watch.
Believe in yourself and what you bring to the table. Your boss doesn’t want a yes-man. Your boss wants to hear what you really think.
It’s time to bring out the nerd in youTech skills. A fat plus and a total must. Know your way around with all tech tools your office works with.
Know your peopleA huge part of the job is reading people’s emotional cues and body language. Know when to keep your mouth shut or when to play dumb. Yes, even the smartest people I know, know when to play dumb sometimes.
Keep informed and updatedYou must know what’s going on to see the bigger picture and to be proactive.
If you’re not quite confident in your understanding of the ins and outs of your company, take a coffee break with one of your colleagues. Ask anything you need to know, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Maybe you have some 1-1 tips for me that I can add to my list? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Because she who dares, always wins 😉

Avatar Julie

Julie Hogestijn

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