Personal assistants keep the office of an executive organised and ensure they are effective at work. Ana-Maria Valente, the director of Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants and editor of CareerSuccess magazine, says being a PA is not for the faint-hearted as it "requires the ability to multitask and keep everyone sane". She has this advice: Hone the following skills: planning; providing order; scheduling; and organising. This will ensure that workflows mostly run smoothly and you are able to handle the unexpected more effectively; Exceptional PAs also have foresight and the ability to avert a crisis and are able to anticipate their boss's needs and reflect the manager's values. They are self-starters, are focused, see tasks through to the bitter end and can meet deadlines; Gossip and spelling errors are no-nos. "Gossip means a breach of confidentiality and spelling errors place the boss's 'brand' in a bad light as well as showing a lack of respect f...

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