what is a personal secretary?
A personal secretary provides support to an individual within an organisation. That support comes from administrative and organisational work and is typically provided to a high-level manager or business executive. Your primary responsibilities as a personal secretary include coordinating meetings and appointments, managing schedules, maintaining files and records, and handling correspondence for the person you support.
Personal secretaries form the first point of contact for the executive or manager they support in most situations. As such, you play a critical role in ensuring that your executive or manager's daily schedule runs smoothly. In addition to your administrative duties, you may also act as a personal assistant (sometimes referred to as a PA) for your executive or manager. This role involves handling tasks such as making travel arrangements, overseeing household tasks, and managing finances.
To succeed as a personal secretary, you must have good organisational and time management skills. You will also need good communication skills and strong interpersonal skills. Your role involves a lot of computer-based work, so proficiency with typical office software applications and services will make success in this role easier.
Personal secretaries provide an important service to busy executives and high-level managers, making them an essential part of the team. Does this sound like a role that would suit your skills and drive? Then keep reading to find out what competencies and qualifications are needed to succeed as a personal secretary.personal secretary roles
average salary of a personal secretary
According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a personal secretary in India is ₹295,584 per year. This figure may include additional factors, like bonuses and profit sharing, but is primarily the base salary. The figure falls roughly central to the average pay scale for this role in India. At the lower end of the spectrum, entry-level personal secretary roles make around ₹119,000 per year, while the most experienced personal secretaries can make as much ₹650,000 per year.
factors that affect personal secretary's pay
Many factors can affect how much you earn as a personal secretary in India, including education, experience, and the industry you end up working in. Personal secretaries with higher levels of education—such as a degree in business administration—secure a better salary. Your experience also significantly affects how much you earn, with personal secretaries with more years of experience typically earning more than entry-level or less-experienced personal secretaries.
Another factor affecting your pay is the industry you work in. High-demand industries such as legal, finance, or technology may pay more than similar jobs in other industries. Finally, the location of the job will make a difference. Working in a major city like Mumbai, Bengaluru, or Delhi may increase your potential earnings compared to smaller cities and rural areas.
types of personal secretary
There are many types of personal secretaries, although, for the most part, these types are determined by the industry in which the employer operates. Some of the most common distinctive types of personal secretaries are:
- executive secretary: in this role, you provide administrative and organisational support to a top-level executive (or executives) and high-level managers. It is common, though not guaranteed, for secretaries of this type to work directly for a single person.
- personal assistant: a personal assistant works for a single person more often than not. In this role, you provide scheduling services, help manage finances, and oversee household tasks.
- medical secretary: in this role, you mostly provide support in the same capacity as other personal secretary roles, but you provide it for healthcare professionals.
- legal secretary: as with medical secretaries, a legal secretary fulfils the same role as above, but for professionals working in the legal industry.
- virtual secretary: as a virtual secretary, you fill the role of a personal secretary remotely, staying in touch with your boss through phone, email and other online platforms.
working as a personal secretary
Your primary function as a personal secretary is to reduce the potential workload for the person or persons you are supporting. These will typically be high-level executive staff who are very busy. Taking things like routine correspondence and scheduling off their plate makes it easier for them to execute their duties.
duties and responsibilities
The specific duties of a personal secretary include:
- scheduling appointments and managing calendars: one of the core duties of a typical personal secretary is scheduling appointments and general calendar management. These tasks require good organisational skills, as it is your job to ensure your executive is not double-booked and their schedule is not too gruelling.7
- handling correspondence: handling correspondence is another fundamental aspect of the job. You receive most incoming correspondence via email, phone, or another medium. From that point, you essentially act as a respondent and screening service. In some cases, you can reply directly. In most cases, you determine if the correspondence is important enough to pass on to your executive.
- maintaining contact lists: as part of your correspondence duties, you maintain a list or database of important contacts. This will include adding new contacts, updating existing ones, and removing contacts that are no longer needed.
- prepare reports and other documents: you prepare reports to make the information that passes through your hands more digestible for your executive.
- coordinate meetings: sometimes your work as a personal secretary will involve aligning your boss' schedule with other parties when they need to hold meetings.
- performing various administrative tasks: in addition to the specific tasks mentioned above, you carry out a range of standard administrative tasks, such as updating spreadsheets, writing letters, and more.
Your work environment as a personal secretary is largely office-based, although you may work in other environments, depending on the specifics of your job.
Working in an office setting typically means working in close proximity to others. You work near your boss to provide the services you were hired for. This environment will be recognisable to anyone who has previously worked a typical office job.
The exceptions to this norm are virtual secretaries and personal assistants. In both cases, the work environment is likely to be at home. Virtual secretaries tend to work in their own homes. Personal assistants more often work in their employer's home.
who are your colleagues?
As a personal assistant, your colleagues usually involve other administrative staff, especially if you work in an office-based environment. The one constant, of course, is that you will be working closely with your boss or bosses.
Being a personal secretary can be very fluid in terms of hours. You are there to help your boss, so your hours are tied inextricably to theirs. It is still quite common for personal secretaries to work roughly standard business hours throughout the week. However, some personal secretaries—especially personal assistants—work more unsociable hours, as their role involves assisting their boss in their day-to-day lives.
The job outlook for personal secretaries in India is fairly positive. This is partially due to India's growth, which in turn is increasing the need for administrative support. The internet and a shift towards remote working is also likely to keep demand high for virtual secretaries.
advantages of finding a personal secretary job through randstad
Finding your personal secretary job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:
- a wide variety of training and development opportunities
- an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
- a range of opportunities in your area
- get paid weekly or monthly, depending on the job
- temporary and permanent contracts
Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a personal secretary is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too!
education and skills
Some of the academic qualifications that enable you to succeed as a personal secretary include:
- post-graduate degree: while not every employer will require a degree before hiring someone for the role of personal secretary, many do. This degree should be in economics, commerce or something similar
- computer proficiency: you are required to work with a variety of office software and computer systems in the course of your duties. Knowing your way around these systems makes the job much easier, and employers look for qualifications or evidence that you possess the necessary skills and know-how.
skills and competencies
Some of the desirable qualities of a personal secretary include:
- organisational ability: the ability to organise is the most fundamental skill you need to succeed as a personal assistant. Your role involves keeping your executive's schedule in order, organising meetings, handling correspondence, and a host of other activities that require good organisation.
- communication skills: you work closely with various people in your role. Your job includes handling correspondence and working with other company administrative staff. Good communication is essential to ensuring you can carry out your duties effectively.
- flexibility: working as a personal secretary can sometimes require flexibility in terms of the hours being worked, especially if working in more of a personal assistant capacity.
FAQs about working as a personal secretary
Here are some common questions about working as a personal secretary
is it stressful to be a personal secretary?
The amount of stress one feels will differ based on the individual and the specifics of their role. Wprking as a personal secretary may be more stressful than regular secretary roles, as you will be working closely with your boss and must be more flexible with your time.
how much does a personal secretary earn in India?
The average wage of a personal secretary in India is approximately ₹295,584. The lower end of the pay scale for this profession is around ₹119,000, while the highest-paid personal secretaries can earn as much as ₹650,000.
what qualifications do I need to become a personal secretary in India?
While it may not be required in every personal secretary role, a post-graduate degree should be considered useful. The degree can be in commerce, economics, or something similar.
what does a personal secretary do?
Personal secretaries provide administrative support for executives and high-level managers, handling matters like routine correspondence and scheduling.
how do I apply for a personal secretary vacancy?
Applying for a personal secretary job is easy: create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!