A Private PA has many duties and responsibilities, including managing diaries, organising international travel, home and office management and much, much more. Private PAs oversee anything from secretarial and administrative tasks, managing a household, to managing complex events. A Private PA is someone who works within a private household or for a private individual; this may be for a A-list celebrity, a Venture Capitalist or often, a Russian or Saudi family office.
Working directly with UHNWI’s certainly has it benefits, such as 5* trips abroad, flying privately and working aboard 200ft super-yachts to name a few; however, the role often comes with long hours and a whole lot of responsibility!
When working so closely with an individual or even a family, the goal is to become indispensable. To perfect the dance of your working relationship and establish how you engage and interact with each other effectively.
An insight into the life of a Private Personal Assistant:
Working long hours
It is not your typical job with a ‘9 to 5’ policy. You may be expected to be contactable outside of these hours and sometimes be on call around the clock! No matter the time of day, if you are required, you will be expected to assist. If your principle is working to a different time zone, you can expect to also. Flexibility is key!
People often assume that if you work as a Private PA, you have a lot of free time. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Get your head around being an unsung hero.
A lot of responsibility
The Private PA role comes with a lot of responsibility and trust; fortunes and generations of wealth and reputation can be at stake if something were to go wrong. It is very important to adopt the correct persona, that of the Assistant – happy to be in the background if need be, ensuring everything is running seamlessly for the Principal, if solo representing your office you should adopt the appropriate demeanour to fit in with the occasion.
A Private PA job comes with many responsibilities; you must be comfortable taking on a leadership role. You may have to resolve a paparazzi scandal or be managing the ever-changing diary of your principle within multiple time-zones.
Remember – walls have ears! Discretion and diplomacy are key at all times
Don’t discuss anything from the office in public; you never know who may be listening. Although it is tempting to become a raconteur when out socially, with unusual anecdotes and stories of meeting high brow people, it is vital to remain wholly confidential. Needless to say, it’s a small world and it is easy to let something slip that may seem innocuous to you, but in the wrong hands could be misconstrued with damaging consequences.
Variety of jobs
The job can be very varied, ranging from making beverages to managing finances. One day you could be organising round-the-world trips, getting involved with corporate governance, and the next day booking a hair appointment! The ability to flex up and down is paramount.
Within a Private PA role, no two days are the same! It is an extremely fast-paced environment, initiative and intuition go a long way.
Events – mastering the art of conversation at any level
You may be invited to events – Remember, you are representing your principle. When talking to guests, look for commonality and ask them questions as opposed to talking about yourself. It’s a real skill to make someone feel like they are the only other person in the room.
Avoid the classic monotony of weather and holiday chat. Also, err on the side of caution and steer clear of politics and religion. If pulled into either of these topics, in a work situation best not to be too opinionated one way or the other as you are a representative of your employer and your own views may not be appropriate, but you can nevertheless be informed!
Keep abreast of current affairs.
How can we help?
Preparing for a Private PA job interview can be difficult. It’s a job where you will learn mostly by being thrown in at the deep end. And often, head first.
However, working for a UHNWI will expose you to a world of great wealth, opulence and privilege. You may get to attend some amazing events which can be ‘once in a life time’ opportunities, meet some extraordinarily, fascinating people. However, the key is to live this life vicariously, in the knowledge that you are there solely in a professional capacity.
Felix Farlow, comes from a heavy Private PA background, supporting CEO’s, Founder’s and UHNWI’s. Here at Executive Partnerships, he specialises in recruiting Private PA’s and EA’s for both UHNWI and Family Office staff. If you’re interested in working as a Private PA or hiring one, then get in touch with Felix today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you an EA, PA, or business support professional looking to take your career to the next level? Executive Partnerships can help. We’re a specialist recruitment agency working with leading companies and organisations to connect them with talented staff. Learn more at www.executivepartnerships.co.uk.