What would you do with your life if you had more time to enjoy it? Between the demands at the office and the home, everyone gets stretched thin. Add in the important factors of professional associations, non-profit boards, children’s schedules, and the ever-present unexpected twists of a busy life, it can be downright maddening. Fortunately, there is a dedicated, efficient, and organized solution: the professional Personal Assistant.
Bridging the gap between the home and the office, a Personal Assistant can tackle everything from representing you at non-profit board meetings to organizing your closets. This specialized administrative professional utilizes all of the latest technological advances to maintain comprehensive calendars that merge your business, personal, and family members’ schedules – and can do it on the fly. Too busy to handle crucial errands like shopping, dry cleaning, and vehicle maintenance? The Personal Assistant can not only perform the work, he or she will also memorize your favorites and preferences, making sure that everything is done to your standard of perfection.
While all Personal Assistants are focused on making your life easier, there are different levels available to fit your particular needs and lifestyle:
The Executive Personal Assistant
Often working within the business office, the Executive PA is the pinnacle of personal assistance. Not only can this trusted right hand manage all of the duties of the typical, high-level Executive Assistant, he or she extends these services to the needs of your personal life or properties. Frequently, this includes helping with non-profits, from Board meetings to the planning and execution of large scale fundraising events. The EPA works very closely with the employer, which may include traveling with the principal for extended periods, both domestically and internationally.
Most EPAs possess extensive experience in business, often serving as an Executive Assistant for C-Level executives for many years before adding coordination of personal affairs to their repertoire.
The Personal Assistant
Instead of being attached to the office, the Personal Assistant is more closely related to the concerns of a single person or persons and their home. Ideal for anyone with a busy lifestyle, the PA is a trusted partner in meeting all of those obligations. Some of the typical responsibilities include personal shopping, event planning, calendar coordination, travel planning, and even domestic staff management. As each job is customized to meet the particular needs of the employer, the PA is the epitome of flexibility and adaptability.
Since these jobs are so unique, PAs may come from many backgrounds, such as event planners, concierge, hospitality, administrative assistants, and professional organizers. Regardless of their history, all true PAs are masters of technology, using everything from Microsoft Office programs to mobile devices to stay on top of all the demands of their employers.
The Family Assistant
For households who may not need a full Personal Assistant, a Family Assistant is a great solution. Many times, a FA may help care for older children after school, coordinating their activities and appointments. During the day, they handle the essential “business” of the home: budgets, shopping, home organization, social obligations, and home maintenance coordination. While they usually don’t perform the housekeeping or cooking beyond light housework, they do manage the staff or contractors who do.
Hiring Your New Right Hand
When considering hiring a new EPA, PA, or FA, start with making a job description. While it may evolve over time, you need to define what areas you need covered to accurately evaluate candidates. Next, think about the level of technical skills required. For example, do you need an expert with Microsoft Office and cloud computing, or can everything be accomplished with your iPad? Should they be an experienced event planner, or does errands and personal shopping fit your needs better? Depending on these requirements, your salary range should be competitive in the market to attract the right candidates.
Next, think about security concerns. When hiring anyone who will be involved with your personal affairs and family members, be sure to run complete background checks, including criminal and credit checks. Consider using testing measures as well, not only for their technical skills but also personality traits. After all, this is someone that you will be working with closely, and you want to make sure that their personality is compatible with yours.
Many times, private employers turn to specialized employment agencies to help with their search. In that case, do expect to pay a fee on top of the annual salary. However, keep in mind that these agents are experts in the private service industry. As such, they can help with every phase of the job search, from developing a workable job description to conducting comprehensive background and reference checks. Most agents are contingency-based, meaning that the placement fee is only paid when the new PA is hired. Some, like the Personal Touch Recruitment, offers retained searches as well as contingency hiring. In that case, the agent acts as your own personal HR department.
A Vision for You
Thanks to the help of a talented Personal Assistant, you gain the most precious commodity: time. Time to spend with your family, your work, and your true passions – like more golf!
About the Author
Donna Shannon is the President of Personal Touch Recruitment Services, a boutique agency that helps private employers find and onboard elite professionals such as Personal Assistants and Household Managers. For over 10 years, she has worked closely with the luxury lifestyle management industry, both as a recruiter and as a career coach for private service professionals. To find out more about Personal Touch Recruiting and all of their services, please visit: