Tuesday, December 19, 2006

10 Steps To Becoming A Celebrity Assistant

Ok so how about exploring some new ideas for your career.
Forget the regular 9-5 jobs. I was reading the other day about unique career paths and came across this fabulous article and I thought I would share it with you.

Celebrity personal assistant's can make upto $100,000 per year, and enjoy an incredible lifestyle that most people can only dream about. In return for screening fan mail, answering phones, and planning parties, celebrity personal assistants are allowed to enter an exclusive world and live like a star.

After all, celebrities need to buy groceries and schedule doctor's appointments just like everyone else, but unlike everyone else they also have movie shoots, important meetings, and volumes of phone calls to make. The personal assistant makes sure that everything gets done, allowing the celebrity to enjoy a semi-private life. A good "CPA" functions as coordinator, accountant, and just about anything else that a famous person might require. They offer organization and peace of mind to those who need it the most.

CPA perks often include tickets to sold out concerts, first-class air travel, expensive gifts, and great gossip about what other celebrities are really like. Does this sound like a great day at work to you? If so, here are 10 steps to breaking into this growing field of employment, based on the fabjob.com How to Become a Celebrity Personal Assistant.

1. Choose a Type of Celebrity

Actors and rock stars are not the only ones who need personal assistants. You could decide to assist professional athletes, politicians, directors, bestselling authors, wealthy families, motivational speakers, dot-com millionaires… basically anyone with enough money can hire someone to be a personal assistant. It's probably best to work for someone in a field you're interested in, because the more you know, the more you have to offer. Potential employers will find you more appealing as a new hire.

2. Develop Your Skills

CPAs need to know a little bit about everything, and know where to find out more. Celebrities are currently looking for Internet-savvy, technologically competent employees who can show them how to transfer information from their palm pilot to the computer, send an e-greeting to Mom, or keep track of their personal finances.

Most celebrities are also interested in your typing skills, etiquette knowledge, and party planning or gift buying ability. Above all, celebrities need to know that you will not reveal their intimate secrets to the National Enquirer, so make sure you get used to practicing the art of discretion as well.

3. Get Some Training

There is currently no formal long-term education program to become a personal assistant, but you can develop many of the necessary skills in related programs, such as computer courses, household management courses (for butlers and household managers) and event planning courses offered by community colleges.

4. Get Some Experience

One great way to learn the skills of being a celebrity personal assistant is to be a non-celebrity PA first. You may even discover that being a personal assistant to a non-celebrity is more your speed if you really enjoy organizing but don’t like the stress of the celebrity lifestyle.

5. Find a Job Opening

Networking is an important first step: let everyone know that you are a CPA who is looking for work. Think about all of the people you know, family and friends alike. In that vast network, is there anyone who is closer to a celebrity than you are? You can also meet celebrities through volunteering, working as a production assistant on a movie set, and job listings.

6. Contact a Celebrity

Although you may not speak with the celebrities themselves, you can usually get in touch with their publicist, agent or even their current personal assistant. Even if they aren't looking for an assistant immediately, they may have an opening in the future or know someone who does. There are many books and websites available that list addresses and contact information for celebrities.

7. Avoid Common Mistakes

It would be great if you could just strike up a conversation with someone like an agent and get an immediate referral to a celebrity. However, most people who are starting out don’t find it easy to say the right things off the top of their head. This is when having a script can be a tremendous help. A script is simply an outline of what you want to say. To sound like a professional avoid disclosing too much personal information about yourself, sounding too eager, or mentioning that you are hoping to launch your own showbiz career. Instead, focus on what you have to offer the celebrity.

8. Join an Agency

Most CPAs agree that this is a great inroad into the industry. Once you’ve located one (more than a dozen agencies are listed in the fabjob.com How to Become a Celebrity Personal Assistant), send a brief email query asking who you should contact about becoming a CPA for one of their clients. Sign up with as many agencies as possible.

9. Ace the Interview

According to Jonathan Holiff, former personal assistant to several celebrities, "Assuming you have the skills and the temperament, it really comes down to a personality match." You will more than likely have to go through a number of interviews before you get to meet your celebrity. Don’t let it faze you; just be honest and direct with everyone you meet. And when you meet your celebrity? Don't gush. Concentrate on being professional and establishing an immediate rapport with them.

10. Join Professional Organizations

There are professional organizations that assist celebrity personal assistants with their career development. Once you start working as a CPA, you will be able to join these organizations and they will become an invaluable source of support and information.

FabJob.com publishes e-books that can help you break into a "fab" job. Visit www.fabjob.com for information.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Purdue University's OWL or Online Writing Lab - Great resource

Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers a wonderful resource. Don't sabotage your job search with grammatical and/or spelling errors in your resume, cover letter, and other correspondence. Brush up on your knowledge here. It is a great resource. I have used it for my kids and its all worth it. Very easy to navigate.

Here is what they say..........

In this section of our site, we offer you handouts and exercises on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. We also have PowerPoint presentations related to grammar, and we have an entire section of handouts and resources for English as a Second Language learners that might also prove useful.

We now have printer friendly versions and Adobe PDF versions of all of these handouts available. Visit our printer-friendly grammar, spelling, and punctuation index to download and print any of these handouts, or click on the link on any of the handouts to visit the printer-friendly version.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Not hiring: pretending you didn't get their resumes is no way to deal with rejection. Applicants need to know when it's over - Staff Smarts


For growing companies, finding the perfect person for a job is just another thing to check off the to-do list. If one resume doesn't look good, keep rifling through the stack. You have plenty to choose from, and you only have to call the best people. The rest should get the hint when the phone doesn't ring.

But for unemployed job seekers on the other side of the fence, applying to your company is a serious endeavor. Ignore them, and you could be encouraging some desperate job seekers to become what Carole Martin, an interview coach in Danville, California, and the interview expert for Monster.com, calls "Tasmanian devils": overly aggressive job "stalkers" who hound you with calls and e-mails, or stop by the office hoping for some face time to find out where they stand.
These applicants don't know when to quit, says Martin. "They're thinking 'If I call just one more time, they'll take my call.'" Add to this a cultural message that tells applicants to be aggressive and persistent with employers, and you can end up becoming the hunted if you don't know how to handle the situation.

Hello, Goodbye

In this fragile hiring climate, some applicants are mistaking professional courtesy and friendliness--in the form of "We'll call you"--as a sign you like them, says Martin.
It's crucial for you to give firm messages instead of mixed signals. If a candidate is not in your top 10 percent and won't be interviewed, say so. If you won't be hiring this person but want to keep the resume on file for future openings, let the applicant know. "You have to close the door," Martin says.

Of course, doing it is the hard part. Brian Barth, CEO of SideStep, a 21-employee online travel search company in the Silicon Valley with annual sales topping $3.5 million, hears a few times a week from aggressive job hunters and recruiters who contact him directly rather than going to the company's Web site, which lists job openings, accepts resumes, and generates an automated e-mail response letting applicants know their applications have been received. "We prefer that people send their resumes to our e-mail address," says Barth, 36. "Some people don't want to follow the process."

Barth forwards the unsolicited messages to his HR person, who screens up to 25 new resumes every day. With such volume, getting back to people who won't be interviewed is impossible for one person to do, Barth says. But if a rejected applicant follows up after a job has been filled, the company tries to offer closure. "When you're clear with people, you don't have a problem," he says.

Take some simple steps today to make the rejection process easier for everyone involved. Start by minimizing the things you don't need to do. A lot of small employers interview every person who applies, a mistake because it only encourages applicants while making it harder to get back to all of them. Instead, select the top 10 percent of the resumes for phone screenings and narrow this field even further for in-person interviews.

Also, limit "mercy interviews"--interviewing friends of friends--which can easily lead to unreasonable expectations. If you feel obligated to speak with someone who doesn't seem right for the job, set it up as an informational interview where you answer basic questions about your company and your industry, but make it clear that it's not a hiring situation, says Patrick J. Lennahan, principal consultant of P.J. Lennahan & Associates, a career consulting firm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. That way, you fulfill an obligation without leading the person on. "Don't build up people's hopes if there's no opportunity there," he says.

If you're deluged with applications, consider bringing in an extra person for a few hours a week during a hiring phase to send out rejections and arrange interviews. Also think about setting up separate voice mail and e-mail boxes for applicants so their inquiries are easier to track. While a stock e-mail reply isn't as nice as a letter or a phone call, it's a cheap and easy way of letting applicants know they didn't make the cut.

Good Impressions

Of course, a form letter rejection won't be enough for the occasional applicant. What should you do with someone who calls wanting to know why they were rejected? In many cases, employers aren't getting back to people they've rejected because they're worried about potential legal liabilities. Take the time to resolve the issue, but keep the conversation away from specific information that can get you into trouble, such as a personality fit. "Say 'We found someone with more skills and experience,'" says Martin.

Furthermore, letting applicants know where they stand is a good public relations move on your part. The people you come in contact with during your hiring efforts are more than just job seekers; they're also potential consumers who will run and tell their friends how your company treated them. Besides, it's a small world out there, and the applicant you ignore today could someday end up working for your main competitor or biggest client tomorrow.

Whatever interaction you have with [applicants] is going to bespeak your reputation," Lennahan says. "You've got to make a good impression."

Freelance journalist, NC

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Know Your Worth ! Find out how much you should get paid !

Never underestimate yourself. Your experiences and education make you what you are. So how much is all of you worth. Here are 3 great sites to find out just that.

  1. Salary.com had a wide range of job descriptions.
  2. SalaryExpert.com, I found was a little better as it asked you relevant questions. Made sense. It gives you a Salary Report Summary at the end of it all.
  3. Monster.com has a great salary calculator.

Try them all to see what you get.