Are you mentally AND physically prepared for your job interview?

With all of the fierce competition for jobs, PAs must stand out from the crowd to get hired

Competing for personal assistant positions in today’s job market is like a battle of the gladiators. Even having “celebrity PA” experience on one’s resume isn’t enough to land a job because so many candidates are competing for open slots.

 

It goes without saying that assistants need to go into interviews very well-prepared. My rule of thumb: Be over-prepared. Why? Because candidates that think they are “ready” for an interview actually are not – by a long shot.

 

It’s simply impossible to predict what kind of curve balls the employer is going to throw at you (especially the Fortune 500 companies). In fact, it’s standard operating procedure now for employers to ask job applicants off-the-wall questions just to see how they will react. There are plenty of websites that have lists of the craziest interview questions, which you can research on your own (billionaires are especially famous for out-of-this-world questions).

 

The point is this: If you are over-prepared for the interview, then you are going to be thoroughly prepared for anything that comes your way (nervous energy can’t take over if you have confidence, and that comes from doing homework).

 

As a friendly reminder, doing exhaustive research on the employer that you’re going to be interviewing with is a critical component to passing the multi-tiered process. If you don’t give them a reason to hire you (by proving to them that you’ve done homework), then making it past the first stage is almost impossible.

 

That covers the basics of being mentally ready, but what about being physically ready? I encourage a candidate to warm up their mind AND body before going into an interview. Because most candidates won’t do it, this will give you an alertness (an aura, if you will) that employers are going to notice – even if they can’t pinpoint it, they will say “that candidate had great energy”. Try the following:

 

    • Warm up your voice by doing some light singing to your favorite song. Not only does this get your vocal cords warmed up, it will lift your spirits too – kill two birds with one stone.
    • Do some stretching before you get dressed. There are plenty of tutorials online to guide you, but warming up your muscles will help you relax and get your blood flowing.
    • Deep breathing is also helpful to calm your nerves. This can be done on the ride to the interview.

 


Unconventional But Effective Ways of Scoring Celebrity Personal Assistant Jobs

Personal assistants must network in different and unconventional ways to get the best jobs

Scoring dream careers has never been easy, especially in today’s ultra-competitive job climate. But with the right techniques, cracking the hidden job market and landing personal assistant jobs with celebrities or billionaires is not as hard as one might think. If you’re not having luck applying online or finding work through your local employment agency, then here is a list of ideas for networking to find your next gig (be advised that a number of famous celebrity assistants that we have worked with obtained employment with these very same techniques):

 

Networking on LinkedIn is your first and most effective line of defense for job seekers. Searching for positions online can work, but you are effectively competing with thousands of other candidates. If, for example, you want to be an estate manager or personal assistant to a high net worth family or local celebrity in your city, use LinkedIn to find others that already work for the VIP. Send a short and sweet note asking about any open positions.

 

Contacting exotic car rental establishments in your area, believe it or not, is a great way to get some leads. Any facility that rents high-end brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari or Rolls Royce is going to know about the high-net-worth families in the area. Of course you have to approach them with tact, but you can establish a professional relationship with them by browsing their showroom (pretending to be looking for your boss of course). It goes without saying that those kinds of businesses also have relationships with other vendors that cater to the upper-echelon. Thinking out of the box like this will generate new leads for yourself. In other words, take the road less traveled.

 

Executive protection agencies are always in need of personal assistants for their clients. If they have a visiting celebrity, for example, the security personnel (often off-duty police officers or retired secret service agents) will not act as an errand runner for the VIP. So when a security detail is hired for a visiting billionaire, it’s very common for an assistant to be part of the entourage.

 

Five-star hotels in your city are also a great way to generate leads. The concierge desk, especially, works closely with the high net worth families and vendors in the area. They know a lot more about what’s going on in town then you can imagine. Fancy hotels are not just for people from out of town, they are often havens for the ultra-rich in the area (especially during wedding season).

 

Private jet companies could be a fabulous way to score a job. It goes without saying that anyone that can afford to fly privately can afford a personal assistant. Several well-known celebrity PAs in Los Angeles actually started as in-flight hostesses in the private aviation world and then were poached by well-known celebrities to work full-time.

 

Your local embassy, of course, deals with dignitaries, royal families and diplomats throughout the world. If you have the right background, you could be hired to assist visiting VIPs and could then parlay that into a full-time position.  In the end, the more you build your network, the better your chances for having your dream job.

 


What employers DON’T want in a job candidate

Quality employers are always going to disregard assistants who are job hoppers

Executive personal assistants who want to be taken seriously need to be vigilant when searching for a new job. Not only is this overly-competitive job market  the “new normal,” but celebrities and high net worth employers are especially selective simply because they can be. Here are some considerations for candidates who are looking for a new position:

 

Job hoppers should know that employers are cautious about hiring you. Assistants that bounce from one employer to the next are going to get their resumes deleted by recruiters – even if some of those jobs are with high-profile executives or CEOs. Sure, you may be able to explain away changing one or two jobs, but when applicants have a whole resume peppered with positions that range from three to nine months of tenure, then it’s a sure-fire sign that the assistant is on the wrong career path and isn’t a reliable investment.

 

Searching for a new job at your current job is death for your career. It shows a complete lack of respect and is, essentially, the perfect way to get fired from your current position. Even if you’re convinced there is no way your boss could know that you are using company time to search for a new job, headhunters are wise to your tactless strategy – especially when you use your company email (with auto signature no less) to submit your resume.

 

Careless use of social media: Not managing your online presence is foolish beyond words. Billionaires and celebrities are very cautious about who they hire because you, directly or indirectly, represent your boss. So if you’re spouting off on Twitter or Facebook, then it shows you are completely disconnected to the reality of today’s job market. The media is constantly showcasing stories that talk about how employees got sacked over online posts, yet job seekers heed no warning and continue to post their rants online without any regard to how it will impact their careers.

 


Idioms for Personal Assistants to Know & Live By

Advice from veteran celebrity personal assistants that can actually advance your career forward

Any personal assistant worth their salt knows that working for celebrities, high net worth families, billionaires or royal families takes patience and a great deal of creativity when solving problems. Here is a list of idioms from our PA veterans that have been passed on for posterity:

 

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence: Some assistants who work for the rich and famous never think they make enough money, so they quit in protest only to find out that they can’t get another job with a high net worth family, or that the new job they get pays less (or the same) with more duties than before.

Career advice from a Chief of Staff working for a billionaire philanthropist

 

Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched: Never be too confident when accomplishing your to-do list, especially when other staff members are involved in completing the assignment. Follow-through is essential. It’s not done until it’s done. On one occasion, for example, an assistant didn’t take Superbowl tickets directly to the Fed-Ex office and the driver arrived late, so the tickets didn’t go out on time. In short, the boss missed the game and had invested a million dollars in the vacation.

Career advice from a Hollywood Assistant working for a movie studio chief

 

Sour grapes (Fox and the grapes from Aesop’s Fables): It’s so easy to despise what one cannot have. Don’t be angry that you didn’t get the celebrity PA job. Instead, learn from your mistakes and find out what you did wrong in the interview and, for gosh sake, don’t do it again.

Career advice from an executive assistant working for a Fortune 500 CEO

 

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket: Personal assistant jobs come with a myriad of all tasks from A to Z. When executing orders, always make sure you have back up plans with contingencies built in. For example, if your boss is famous for being indecisive, make sure you make reservations at more than one restaurant in case he changes his mind. If you don’t leave yourself any wiggle room for the unexpected, then you set yourself up for failure.

Career advice from a lifestyle manager who works for an ultra-high net worth individual

 


How to be Successful If You Land a Celebrity Personal Assistant Job

Celebrity assistant jobs: Know the basics for success

One of the biggest surprises of my recruiting career was learning that about 80% of celebrity personal assistant jobs are in the hidden job market (word of mouth). And, amazingly, about 25% of those fall into the laps of unsuspecting candidates who aren’t even seeking employment (in other words, a friend called someone up and said, “Do you want to work for George Clooney, his assistant just quit”). Do you think you’re ready to make the transition from an executive assistant position to that of a PA?

 

If you score a job with a celerity or high net worth individual – whether it be through your own efforts or you get a surprise call from a friend – here are some hard and fast rules for being successful in the role (because keeping the job is much harder than getting the job):

    • Know your place: Regardless of the jobs listed on your resume, whom you know, or where you went to school, being a celebrity PA is the ultimate equalizer – so you can be fired at any time for almost any reason. Assistants in the field rarely get second chances because if you screw up, even small things, it’s likely going to be a big deal to your employer. Always be well-prepared each day you go to work, and never try to be a friend to your boss. Being too familiar leads to complacency, which could then lead to your termination.
    • Be over-prepared: When working for high-profile individuals, personal assistants are going to be bombarded with tasks, and the duties range from menial to prestigious. Regardless of where your assignments fall on your to-do list, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for executing them. Any seasoned personal assistant will tell you that sometimes it will seem as if the universe is conspiring against you, so every single thing that can go wrong will go wrong. In short, have back up plans with contingencies built in so that nothing can stop you from getting your directives accomplished.
    • Always go the extra mile: Learn as much as you can about your employer’s business – every single detail. Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more indispensable you will become. Never think that any task is below you, and treat every job duty as if it’s the most important thing in the world. If you are able to gain the trust of your celebrity boss, not only will you ensure your future employment, but you will move up in the organization. It’s no uncommon for celebrity assistants to become producers on their boss’s films.

 


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