What is it like working as an Executive PA for the publishing director of one of the biggest magazines in the country?
A recent Pitman London student knows all about the stress and the glamour of such a job.
She also recalls how vital the skills that she learned on a Pitman Training PA course were to helping her do the work to the best of her ability.
She is now the Events Manager at one of 13 titles issued by the publisher behind some of the most famous glossy magazines in the world.
She works at a prestigious publishing house in London, which she describes as an “honour”, and started working for her current magazine as Executive PA to the magazine’s publishing director.
“The media world is great fun and fast-paced. It’s a busy, fun social environment and it’s great. I love working in the office as well,” she enthuses.
“With my background in travel, even looking at the database – it sounds quite silly – but the names I’m familiar with, the celebrity names and also the destinations, so it’s all quite fun. It’s not just a boring database of numbers,” she adds.
She landed the job with when she returned from travelling around the world, but realised that she needed to do some PA training to make sure she was prepared for the role and therefore chose to do an Executive PA Diploma in London.
“I’d been travelling for the last few years so I literally hadn’t been on a computer at all. So it was really to brush up on the skills I had previously and to learn all the more corporate, executive stuff under the PA remit,” she explains.
As an Executive PA , she had to organise the publishing director’s diary, which is obviously jam-packed.
Handling databases of contacts, formatting emails, sending out invitations, writing letters and sending memos were just some of the other tasks she performed on a daily basis.
“It’s juggling a million and one things at once, as well as the phone ringing,” she explains.
She explains that the classes on Microsoft Outlook as part of her secretarial training were particularly useful as she learned how to manage appointments, set reminders for herself and generally organise herself as well as keeping track of her boss’ schedule.
“It’s a really fast-paced media industry I’m in so it was just very important that I had the confidence from the training to keep my wits about me and keep things organised,” she says.
The flexibility of the PA training was also ideal for her.
“I hadn’t quite finished the course when I started work although I’d done most of it. I could come in at the weekends and a few times in the evening just to finish the course,” she comments.
The staff at the Pitman Training centre in London’s Notting Hill, where she completed the classes, were also on hand to help her out when she had a difficulty at work.
“I remember the first week my boss sent me something and I just couldn’t think how to do it so I took it to the trainer and she helped me on the Saturday, which was just brilliant,” she recalls.
She was originally attracted to the nature of the training. “You can work at your own pace and fit it around you. I don’t like being lectured and I get really bored and my mind wanders and it’s just a more mature, independent way of learning I think,” she says.
Just 13 months after starting the Executive PA job, she gained a promotion to events manager. She says the optional mini courses she took during her PA course at Pitman have helped her in this new role, as she took classes in PR and marketing.
“Obviously a large part of what I do now is PR so I used all that information as an added value thing from the PA course, it just gave me that extra bit of know-how and that proved worthwhile to my promotion,” she insists.
She also maintains that the welcome she received when she went to the training centre at Notting Hill was a major factor in her deciding to do the course.
“They’re just so lovely. That very first initial meeting I think I needed a bit more encouragement and they were so helpful, that’s what sealed the deal for me,” she concludes.
What To Do Next.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a PA, just call our Course Advisors:
Notting Hill – 020 7792 5214
High Holborn – 020 7025 4700
Manchester - 0161 923 6814
Or contact us by email.
We’re happy to help!