Many candidates often think that working in finance as a PA means being based in an ultra corporate quiet office looking at numbers all day and having to follow strict rules and regulations whilst not really showing much of your personality.
Thankfully, that is definitely not the case.
Firstly, like most industries the finance world is ever so varied. You could be working for one of the biggest hedge funds in the world liaising with ultra high net worth individuals on a daily basis and organising very complex roadshows from remote locations. You could also be part of a growing finance start-up managing all of their social media accounts and looking for inspiration whilst playing ping pong with the CEO. There are of course the more traditional corporate PA roles out there which most definitely suit many candidates too. I once interviewed a lovely lady who desperately wanted a 9-5 finance role that would not be challenging and where socialising after work was not part of the office culture. She ended up working for a lovely private equity firm and has been their PA for 5 years now.
The same goes for the creative industry. Many candidates think that a creative environment is more relaxed and sociable, others often think it is much more “glamorous”. I have worked with hundreds of creative companies and many of them were not at all the buzzy laid back office so many candidates want. One of my past creative client was a renowned PR company and with such quiet offices you could hear a pin drop. They also had very strict requirements and were certainly not the type of company with astro turf on the floor and a bowling aisle in the basement. If you are passionate about music it does not mean that you would necessarily enjoy being a PA within the music industry either. On the other hand it is always a plus to work within an industry that really inspires you. Clients will also often select the candidate who is most interested in the company even if he/she is a little more junior. However we always ask our candidates to really think about what they want in a role and not just be influenced by the industry type only. When I was a little younger I really wanted to find a PA role where I would get along with my work colleagues and work within a dynamic and successful environment. I ended up being a PA for a private equity firm and it suited me perfectly at that time. I would make sure I worked hard but I would always finish on time and would often go to the pub with my colleagues in the evening. This was the perfect role for me and even though I thought I was more of a creative soul I felt fulfilled.
I think it is very important that you really have a think about your ideal role and even though the type of industry can be a top-of-the-list requirement I urge you all to be open to the industry as each company is ever so different. A finance company can have a very creative department and vice versa, an advertising agency can also require a PA to the finance director where you would mainly be involved with the finance side of the company.
Getting along with your director and colleagues, feeling challenged, inspired, learning each day, growing in the company, etc. All of these points are important and should be considered whether or not you only want to work in one specific type of industry.
Everyone is different but every company is different too.