You don't need a personal assistant agency. These are the 10 most asked questions about finding out how to work for a celebrity, writen by Celebrity Assistant Brian Daniel of FindCelebrityJobs.com. (One on one consulting with an experienced professional for this subject is available)
How do I become a Celebrity Personal Assistant?
There is no clear-cut answer to this most commonly asked question. Although most celebrity personal assistants won't admit it, 90% of them fell into the job. There certainly isn't any college course an aspiring celebrity assistant can take. The fact of the matter is, in addition to having a strong resume, you usually have to be referred.
How do I get referred?
Before you can even get referred, you have to focus on the kinds of jobs and education that build a strong foundation for that kind of work. As far as higher education is concerned, Communications or Business is the best advised route. As far as professional experience is concerned, focusing on the service and hospitality business is a good start. Potential employers love to see 5-Star luxury hotel experience on your resume. All 5 Star properties are going to require several years of 4 Star experience first. So like everything else in life, you will have to work your way up. Don't worry, you can get a job as a celebrity personal assistant if you didn't go to college.
What is the difference between all the titles I hear of?
Celebrity Personal Assistant: Is just as the title suggests, working for a celebrity. Most recruiters and human resource professionals never use that name. The proper title for the position is Executive Personal Assistant.
Executive Personal Assistant: An Executive Personal Assistant is usually the title for the person who is in the number one position, the right hand to the Principal (CEO, celebrity, or patriarch to a high net worth family). The Executive Personal Assistant is usually in charge of other subordinate assistants, maids, nannies, chefs and drivers.
Executive Administration Assistant: An Executive Administrative Assistant usually works in an office. In many ways they are the opposite of an Executive Personal Assistant. They work exclusively in a business setting. A four-year degree is always required. Although a four-year degree is preferred with an Executive Personal Assistant position, one can obtain employment in that field without one. An Executive Administrative Assistant must also know how to type and be completely fluent in programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Like the Executive Personal Assistant position, an Execuitive Administrative Assistant is usually in charge of multiple subordinate assistants. However, although the Executive Administrative Assistant position requires a four-year degree and fluency in most computer applications, it usually pays less than the Executive Personal Assistant position and is certainly not as glamorous.
Personal Assistant: Depending on how high profile the Principal is, they can have numerous Personal Assistants. The Personal Assistant's job can range from picking up laundry to booking airline tickets. Any Personal Assistant position, even at the Executive Personal Assistant level, covers a myriad of all things from A-Z. Doing PA work is an obvious first step to moving up to becoming an EPA.
Personal Concierge: The term Personal Concierge is sometimes used when a Personal Assistant is contracted for a short-time, usually through an Employment Agency. It is still a PA position.
Estate Manager (EM): An EM is in charge of everything involved in the home of the Principal: Hiring gardeners, auto detailers, plumbers, etc. Sometimes the EPA takes on this role. However, if the workload is enormous, a dedicated EPA is hired. Usually in ultra-large mansions were butlers and maids are employed.
Can Employment Agents get me placed with a celebrity?
Yes and no. For the most part, the answer is a big NO. There are dozens of Employment Agencies that specialize in placing domestic help. They're a dime a dozen. Most all of them claim to be "the best." In actuality, most of them place maids and sometimes butlers. They usually advertise Executive Personal Assistant placement, but the openings are few and far between. As I mentioned before, most high-profile Principals are going to get someone through a referral. Going to an Employment Agent is usually a last resort. The agencies charge enormous placement fees.
How do I apply directly to a celebrity?
Most big celebrities have an agent, personal manager, business manager, publicist and lawyer. I recommend sending letters to all of them. JUST SEND A SHORT LETTER! If you bombard representatives with a letter, resume and recommendation letters, you're likely hurting yourself. It's way too much information at once, especially for the busy people who will be opening it. Just send a brief note stating your interest and qualifications. Add some compelling bullet points and wait for them to ask for the resume.
What kind of schedule and workload can I except to have?
This is the part that is usually the deal-breaker for aspiring Personal Assistants. If one is married and/or has kids, the Personal Assistant life is probably out of the question. Any Personal Assistant job that's really worth having is going to require that you dedicate your life to the job. You literary have to choose this profession as a career or forget about it. The competition is way too stiff for any charlatans.
Can I make connections in the entertainment industry when I'm a Personal Assistant?
Any person that wants to work for a celebrity because they want to gain "connections" has got a really rude awakening coming. Not only will you not make connections, the moment you're discovered you'll be wearing a scarlet letter. I've known countless Celebrity Personal Assistants and they've never once been able to parlay that experience into landing acting gigs. Entertainment Agents, Managers, Lawyers and Publicists all frown upon people who are deceptive and have ulterior motives. In fact, if you are dedicated enough, some celebrity personal assistants have gone on to create their own companies, like that of Al Pacino, Madonna, and Oprah's personal assistant.
Are my chances better if I apply to several types of jobs?
NO! I always see applications that say "I'll do anything to get my foot in the door." At that point, you're done. Pack up your tent and say goodbye to the job. It looks desperate, and even worse, it makes you look like a novice. Applying to be a butler, estate manager, nanny and personal assistant is like throwing darts while blindfolded. It shows you're not proficient in one field. Don't be a "Jack of all trades, master of none."
How much should I know about the business for which I'm applying?
As much as possible. If you're applying to work for a celebrity, you should know about the mechanics of the industry, and especially the life of a professional actor. The more you know, the better you can eclipse your competition. If you're applying to be the Executive Personal Assistant for an investment banker, you should at least know what a hedge fund is. Knowledge is power. Remember, your interview is like an audition. The better you shine, the better your chances are for getting a callback and booking the job. It's very important to get advice from someone who has been a Celebrity Personal Assistant so that they can tell you how to get your resume past the gate-keepers.
What kind of Personal Assistant job is the best to target if I don't have prior experience being a PA?
Going straight for the celebrities is not recommended. An applicant has a much better chance working for someone outside the entertainment industry. Once you have that first vital Personal Assistant credit on your resume, you have a much better chance of flipping to the more glamorous job. However, the chances of getting fired are much greater in the entertainment sector. If you have a good non-entertainment Personal Assistant job and the money is decent, keep the job as long as you can.