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Digital Skills: A Key Element For PAs Wishing To Rise Up Their Career Ladder

By Cassie Elias

Digital-first initiatives have become a priority for top companies across the globe, with around 70% of companies currently having a digital strategy in place or being in the process of commencing one.

These strategies involve not only the adoption of cutting-edge technologies such as AI, cloud, and blockchain, but also involve creating the right culture – one in which managers, PAs, marketers, and other professionals are able to source, evaluate, use, share, and create content using online tools.

If you are hoping to land a high-paying PA job in a chosen company, ensuring you are digitally savvy can be a deal maker or breaker. Which core skills should you master in order to excel at your profession?

The IoT Takes Over A Wide Gamut Of Industries

Ubiquitous connectivity and the explosion in innovative technologies have changed the way business is done across countless industries. Some skills – including coding and programming, creating robotic tech, and developing AI platforms – are specifically undertaken by computer engineers.

However, all team members – marketing professionals, sales teams, customer support, and PAs – to name just a few – need to master specific skills to keep up with current demands. These skills may include programming schedules and content, sharing calendars, programming social media content, utilising the Internet of Things at work and remotely, and working alongside colleagues on the Cloud.

What Digital Skills Should A PA Master?

The list of skills PAs need to master is wide, but just a few worthy of mention include cyber security skills – particularly with respect to keeping sensitive data confidential; communication (knowing how to use collaborative software such as Slack); Microsoft 365 (knowledge of how to use functions such as tables and revision on Excel and Word are evidently key for PAs); and communication tools (such as VoIP, Skype and Google Meets and Hangouts).

PAs may also be called upon to use personalised, curated accounting or administrative systems set up for orders, billing, cancellations, and the like. Digitally savvy PAs not only enter their chosen company with a strong skills set, but also have the ability to adapt their current knowledge to new programmes and systems they are called upon to use.

Answering Questions From Colleagues And Clients

When it comes to internal programmes – including CRM systems and order and pay systems – knowing how to answer frequent questions from team members and clients is important. Although deeper technological questions can be left to the IT department, knowing your dedicated systems in and out helps mark you as an important and knowledgeable member of your team.

Online ordering and payment systems sell, and they do so at an impressive rate, with research showing that they can significantly increase customer spending. The Harvard Business Review reports, for instance, that kiosk orders tend to have a 30% higher spend than cashier orders. Other companies report a big boost in orders from digital apps.

If your company does have a digital app, then the best way to familiarise yourself with it is to download and use it, as much from a customer’s as from a seller’s perspective. If you don’t know the answer to a specific question, you will know someone who does, and you can point the client or colleague in the right direction.

Making Your Managers’ Lives Easier

In addition to carrying out expected work using Office, you may also come across PA tools that you can suggest to managers – they will undoubtedly appreciate it if you can find more efficient, speedier, or more practical ways to carry out tasks or go about their day.

Just a few tools you might wish to look into include Nifty, which is divided into six modules: project homescreen, tasks, docs, files, milestones, and discussions. This software essentially allows you to create milestones that show your progress, enables you to collaborate with others, provides a forum for discussion, and has a direct messenger function. It aids with multitasking and organisation of various team members.

Another app you might wish to bring into meetings is, which automatically transcribes audio into text. After your meeting is finished, you can search for terms and share content with other members of your team. There are so many more tools that can make your work easier – from document scanning apps like TinyScan right through to Call Please (which enables you to streamline call logs so that all team members work from one single list).

Digital transformation is no longer optional: it is a necessity for any company wishing to remain competitive. This can be achieved not only by accessing required technology, but also by hiring and training staff so they can learn and stay updated on vital digital skills. PAs wishing to attract top companies should ensure they master more than Office and other usual tools. They should aim to expand their knowledge in areas such as social media content programming, communication, and organisation – to name just a few important areas.

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Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash.