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.