A private secretary often reports to a corporate executive or small business owner. This special assistant may perform routine tasks such as answering phone calls, opening the mail, and setting appointments. The job could also involve attending meetings, taking notes, and typing up the minutes of these sessions. When a manager is required to travel, the secretary may be responsible for making airline and hotel reservations or getting funds approved for expenses.
The main purpose of a private secretary is often to handle mundane tasks that would otherwise take up a great deal of an executive's time. This worker is also used to prevent the manager from excessive interruptions, both in person and by phone. For this reason, a secretary often screens phone calls and visitors, taking messages for the boss rather than allowing individuals to speak to that person directly.
A private secretary might also screen written correspondence. This could involve picking up the mail and opening it. Letters that need to be handled by the boss personally could then be passed along. In some instances, the secretary might have access to corporate e-mail accounts and screen those as well.
When an executive holds a meeting, a private secretary will sometimes attend. This is so the secretary can take notes of the meeting and write down questions that are posed. After the event, the secretary might be responsible for typing up the minutes and distributing them to the attendees.
A private secretary often acts as a sort of personal assistant. This sometimes means taking care of travel arrangements for the supervisor. The assistant could also schedule appointments for an executive to conduct business relating to this travel, for example picking up a rental car or dropping off dry cleaning.
In many organizations, this special assistant has a great deal to do with a department's budget. The private secretary may be responsible for submitting proposals for new projects and getting estimates for labor or materials. In some instances, this worker could be in charge of a petty cash fund or shopping for office supplies.
The amount of education needed to become a private secretary varies from one organization to the next, but generally involves at least a high school diploma. College courses in business administration could also be helpful. A pleasant personality and ability to work well under pressure is expected, as this secretary can be required to perform a number of different tasks throughout the workday.