Blog post

Is the job of a secretary for you?

Are you someone who likes to make sure things are organised and run smoothly?

Do you have a sixth sense and know who to inform with the right information at the right time?

If so, a career as a secretary or a personal assistant might just be for you.

What’s the difference between a secretary and a PA?

While there are lots of similarities, there are subtle differences between the two roles.

Generally, a PA is usually concerned day to day with one person.  This is likely to be a senior individual in the business who will rely on a PA to organise their schedule, such as sorting travel arrangements or making sure they have the information they need for a meeting.

Secretaries will probably also do the above but are more likely to work across the business rather than to one person.  For example, they might be the first contact a customer has with the organisation, before passing them on to the right person. 

What makes a good secretary / PA?

One of the key skills, which is not easy to demonstrate through qualifications, is an ability to read the organisation.  This means effectively being the eyes and ears. 

Having an oversight of the business and an understanding of how things are going are crucial to pass on to more senior colleagues, who might otherwise miss the detail.

Therefore, a person specific skill is likely to include essential traits such as:

  • An organised approach
  • Great communication skills both written and verbal
  • Ability to work hands on but with a strategic view as well
  • Good project management


Who can I work for?

Companies large and small, business professionals and high-profile individuals all require the support of a secretary or PA.  Even if the job title changes slightly, a company will always require organisational duties in carried out in some form.

What’s the T&Cs?

The place of work depends on the employer but hours are generally a standard, 9-5 and office based.  There is also a good chance of flexibility as there are plenty of temporary contracts on offer, allowing for some flexibility in hours and variety of tasks.

What qualifications do I need?

Advanced computer skills and proficiency in maths and English are essential for the job. Although not always a requirement, NVQs and diplomas are available in business admin.

Do I need any experience?

The majority of secretarial vacancies require some sort of relevant experience; the amount of experience varies according to the level of seniority the position holds.

In summary:

Efficiency, the ability to work across the organisation added with reliability and trustworthiness are essential attributes.  If you can combine these traits with strong written and spoken communication skills, then this is a career for you!

Take a look at more than 5,000 secretarial jobs here: