PA Prep: What to expect day to day in your new PA job

September 6th, 2019 by

The first day at work in any new job can be challenging as you try to learn the ropes as quickly as possible, but when you’re a personal assistant it’s even more important to hit the ground running so you can excel in your role.

Once you’re past that first day, week and month, you’re likely to settle into more of a routine – although of course there will be surprises along the way too.

Here’s our guide to what to expect on the first day as a PA and what is likely to follow on a ‘normal’ day after that…


How to prepare for a PA role

By the time you’re given the job as a PA, it’s likely that you will know exactly who you will be assisting – and you probably met them at the interview stage.

This gives you a great opportunity to do your background research, find out the kinds of appointments and commitments you will need to keep on top of, and start planning a daily schedule.

Make sure you know what tools you would like to use to keep track of things. You might prefer a paper diary or calendar you can easily jot things down on, or an electronic or email-based calendar that triggers automatic reminders – whatever works best for you.


First day as a PA

Your first day is about getting your bearings, and as much as you might want to start at full speed ahead, it’s not always possible to do that.

There’s likely to be certain orientation sessions, whether that’s meeting your managers and colleagues, learning about the company culture, health and safety, and fire evacuation routine, or some other kind of icebreaker or introduction.

But you’ll usually have at least some time to yourself too, and this is your chance to familiarise yourself with your new working environment, any computer equipment and other tools at your disposal, and start your planning.


How to excel quickly

The PA role is all about organisation, so the sooner you can get your plans in order, the better.

You might want to start by drawing up a timetable for regular commitments and available appointments for one-off meetings, interviews and other events.

Even if you’re a natural when it comes to time-keeping, you may also want to set up some reminders so you don’t miss anything important in your first few days.


Day two and beyond…

Congratulations, you survived your first day in a high-stress PA role – now comes the rest of your career!

That planning you already made will prove helpful in the long term, as you settle into a routine of repetitive weekly meetings and other commitments, occasional interviews and one-off events, and ongoing responsibility for timekeeping

A lot of your role may prove to be admin support, from ghost-writing correspondence from your boss, to photocopying spare copies of important documents.

Don’t sweat the small stuff – it’s the bread and butter of the role, and should leave you able to put your attention on making sure your boss never misses an important engagement, no matter how long you are their PA.


If you’re interested in becoming a PA, give us a call today to get started on the road to success!

CV do’s and don’ts – our top CV writing secrets

July 12th, 2019 by

A strong CV can not only make the difference when it comes to getting a job, it can be a deciding factor in whether or not you even get an interview.

When you send off your application, your CV has just a few seconds to stand out from the crowd before probably being lost among a sea of other applicants.

Here are some CV do’s and don’ts, CV hacks and instant wins that together add up to give you our top CV writing secrets.


CV do’s and don’ts

Do give your CV a logical structure, with separate sections for basic contact details, education, career history and outside interests. Our CV Builder can help you make sure you’ve covered everything you need to mention.

Don’t go into too much detail. Make sure the important points are mentioned but remember you can provide more background in your interview – and don’t go over one or two sides of A4 unless you’re sure it’s appropriate to do so.

Do tweak your CV for each role you apply for – but don’t spend more time than you need to on each new version!

Do put your most relevant info up top so interviewers can find it easily. Don’t neglect the basics like your name and contact details though, as you want recruiters to be able to contact you easily.


CV hacks

These three CV hacks can help you to say what you want to say, without cluttering the page:

  1. Use a narrow/oval font. The letters are narrower than in a typeface based on circular characters and you’ll fit more words on a line.
  2. White space makes text more readable. It’s better to make your text slightly smaller if it means you can miss a line between sections or use 1.5x line spacing.
  3. Stick to a single font (or at most, a second font just for titles and subheadings). Any more than that starts to confuse the eye.

Remember, you want your key information to be easy to find and easy to read, so interviewers can cast their eye over your CV in just a few seconds and notice what you want them to notice.


CV instant wins

Some tweaks can have a big impact on your CV in literally just a few seconds – these are our CV instant wins:

  • Change the font to something modern, elegant and easy to read on-screen and in print. Remember the tip from above about font widths.
  • A border usually isn’t necessary but a horizontal line can help to mark the divide between different sections. Larger titles help to draw the eye too.
  • If you’re just a few words over a single page but can’t find anything to remove, very slightly reduce your character spacing, line spacing or margins to make it fit!

Don’t take it to extremes – it’s all about finding balance and making the page look good overall – but with these top CV writing secrets and the help of our CV Builder, you can be sure of making the right first impression.

Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day 2019

June 7th, 2019 by

This week we are supporting the Alzheimer’s Society and we hope that you will join us to raise money for this fantastic charity.  Here at Alexander Hancock, we know the reality of supporting a loved one with this terrible disease and also the toll that it takes on the family and friends who are supporting a loved one through this difficult time, therefore we know the importance of raising vital funds in order to support this amazing charity in raising awareness, research into the disease and also provide help and support to the people who are living with the disease.


Dementia can affect people at any age.  It is more common in people over 65 however there are currently around 42,000 people in the UK under 65 currently living with Dementia.  It is not a normal part of ageing.  A person may have problems with memory, language or concentration.  It may also lead to mood changes, emotions and behaviours.  Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time.  Dementia can affect many different areas of your life and the people around you which is why it is so important to help support this charity and the wonderful work they do in order to help prevent, cure and support the people who are suffering today.


We are supporting the Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day by holding a Cupcake week.  All week, we will have a host of treats available for you.  All we ask in return is for a donation.  All donations are extremely welcome and we will be incredibly grateful for your support.  £50 could enable the charity be there for five people, for five hours of in depth support from our Helpline team at a time of crisis.  £150 could pay for two people with dementia to attend Singing for the Brain® sessions for one year, where they and their carers can come together for an hour each week to sing and dance to music.  £610 would pay for a Doctoral Training Centre to run for one day, helping up to eight PhD researchers to carry out ground breaking study in dementia research.  Help us to help them.


Thank you for taking the time to help us support the Alzheimer’s Society.


In memory of Norman Rawlinson


Paint Altrincham Pink 2019

February 28th, 2019 by

A great big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far in helping to Paint Altrincham Pink this week.  Here is why we are taking part.




As Max Bygraves would have said, and for those too young to remember him.. Go Google!

“I want to tell you a story..”

It is 1990, the time when dinosaurs still walked the planet ie mobile phones were bricks, Sky was something blue above us, the Web was something spiders spun and it was also when my mum aged 47 went to the doctor with a small lump in her breast. The doctors and surgeons at The Christie Hospital were all amazing, told her it was breast cancer but so small that there was nothing to worry about, removed it and she underwent a fairly horrific course of chemotherapy. But as a family we were fairly chilled, calling her the ‘Cancer Bunny’.. after all, the doctors told us there was nothing to worry about, so we didn’t..  lymph nodes had only just been discovered as being an indicator of the cancer spreading but removal of them was not considered…fast forward 2 years and she was yellow, struggling to breathe and feeling basically shit.. The GP told her she was a hypochondriac and that she was fine.. she died 6 weeks later; secondary liver cancer which had not been picked up.

I was 26. 26 years of age and burying my mother, the light of my life, my absolute role model whom I looked up to for all of my life.

A short time after that, exploration into genes and cancer came to the fore and a small charity called Genesis (now Prevent Breast Cancer) was set up funding the research into whether or not genes could indicate a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. My sisters and I were asked to take part in a research study as to whether or not we had the genes that meant that we too would contract cancer at some point in our future. The results that came back said “ yes we had a gene but as yet they could not identify which gene it was or what it actually meant for us long term”..

Well what it meant was that both my sisters developed breast cancer, resulting in one having regular lumps removed and tested and the other having to have a double mastectomy and chemotherapy; she was 46 but thank God because of the amazing research and development in Cancer Research medicine she is fine; we pray a lot but she is fine.

Cancer is still the worst word in the world to hear.. you hear the word ‘cancer’ but what you really hear is ‘Death’ but thankfully, and particularly for us in Manchester, we have Prevent Breast Cancer and we have the Christie Hospital which is at the forefront of Cancer treatment in the whole world. We have available to us the possibility of having our daughters tested to see if they have a rogue gene, and if they do, preventative action can be taken.

This story is not unique. Pretty much every single one of us has been touched by Breast Cancer and that is why we are Painting Altrincham Pink, for all those who have suffered and lost the battle against this awful disease; for those who are still fighting, for those who have fought and won but most importantly of all for continuing the research to ensure our children do not have to even think about taking up that fight.

Thank you to all those who have popped in and bought a prize ticket from us, and to anyone else, knock on our door.. every donation is welcome and every ticket gets you a prize..

Christmas Jumper Day 2018

December 7th, 2018 by

Here at Alexander Hancock we are proudly taking part in the Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper day again.  We will be donning our festive woollies and partaking in various activities in order to raise as much money as we possibly can for this fantastic charity.


Each year, during the build up to Christmas, it is very easy to get carried away with the decorations, buying gifts, going out and celebrating with friends and family, and we forget about children, both here and abroad, that won’t be enjoying the holiday season.   By donating as little as £1, you could help 16 children from diarrhoea through simple rehydration salts, by donating £2, you could pay for antibiotics for five children suffering with pneumonia, one of the biggest killers in children.  We can’t stress enough how important every donation is at it really could change someone’s life.  We know that this is a busy and expensive time of year but we would really appreciate anything that you can spare as it would mean so much to someone around the world.


On Friday 14th December, like many other people around the country we will be wearing our Christmas Jumpers and making our donation.  If you would like to donate £2 to this brilliant cause you can do so by texting TeamAHR to 70050 or call in to our office where you can donate what you can.


We appreciate any donation, no matter how big or small as we know that it will make such a difference to a child’s life.


Merry Christmas


100 Years of Remembrance

November 6th, 2018 by

I read, with a heavy heart and no little shock, that the Student Union at Cambridge University, supposedly a seat of our brightest and best students, voted to change the way in which they supported Remembrance Sunday. The only day in our calendar when we come together as a Nation to remember those who laid down their lives for the people of this country. Those young men and women died fighting to protect our nation, our people and our society and yet, shockingly, a number of these students decided that this was wrong, that poppies were wrong, that talking about British War Veterans was wrong, that Remembrance Sunday glorified war and that we should campaign against militarism.

My first thoughts were did these enlightened individuals ever study any of Siegfried Sassoon’s or Wilfred Owen’s poems? Nothing glorified there. Did they ever study History in school? Because nothing I was taught glorified war. Did they ever even see the film War Horse? Because even Hollywood did not manage to glorify war. And my second thought was just plain anger.

We all live safely under the cloak of democracy, with the right to question, criticise and protest ONLY BECAUSE of those thousands of young men and women buried under small white crosses. How dare any of us undermine the bravery and the ultimate price paid by our soldiers? How dare we take for granted the rights we have, that had these soldiers not fought for King and Country we would be in a very different world; one where free speech and the right to protest would not exist.

To people like me, whose grandparents lived through two World Wars, the horrific consequences of war, the fear of what the world could have been had we not fought against tyranny and evil are so embedded in our psyche that we are in no doubt as to why we need to remember. It is not to glorify war, it is to ensure that it does not happen again, that tyrants are never again given the opportunity to gas light society and never again should parents have to worry that their children might be conscripted to a front line. Never again should we have to watch thousands of men and women march down the streets waved off by their families. Never again for those families to receive telegrams explaining that their child was Killed in Action, or have to help them recover on their return from those horrors that they encountered. This is something the younger generations have been saved from, and please God they should always be saved from, but it has meant that they are insulated from the reality of war. There is a lack of understanding as to why the World Wars took place; maybe they believe it will never happen again but the one thing my grandfather, who lived to be a 101, taught me, is that it is only by remembering that it can be prevented. Because as sure as eggs are eggs if we take peace for granted, if we forget those who fought for peace, if we learn no lessons from those who died, then it is a very short journey to yet another World War.

Remembrance Sunday is not about governments or politics. It is about the ordinary man who is called upon, at times of great darkness and conflict, to stand up and fight for what is right. No-one sane wants to go to war, but sometimes we have to, to protect what is right and what is just.  It can easily be argued that some wars entered we would have been better staying out of, but that has nothing to do with our Armed Forces. They do what is asked of them, without question, for the genuine good of us all and for that reason alone we have a duty to wear our Poppies, to stand silently around a war memorial with heads bowed in remembrance and gratitude to them.

And for that reason, and that alone, we would and should thank the Armed Forces, past, present and future for their bravery and protection;  we will be wearing our Poppies with pride and eternal gratitude on Sunday 11th November 2018.

Alexander Hancock Supports Macmillan Coffee Morning 2018

September 24th, 2018 by

Alexander Hancock is proud to announce that we will be taking part in the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 28th September. It is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer and donations on the day are made to Macmillan.

One in two of us will face cancer, and the money raised at the coffee morning will help them make sure no one has to face it alone and gives people the support need to live their lives as fully as they can.

If you are lucky enough to have an appointment with us this Friday, our team will be putting on our baking hats and aprons and baking up a selection of delicious sweet treats for the office! Fierce rivalry can be expected to ensue..

More information on The MacMillan Coffee Morning can be found can found by visiting the link below..



A Level Results Day 2018

August 16th, 2018 by

Thursday 16th August:  A Level results day is now upon us and although we hope many of you have obtained the grades needed for your chosen University, there will be some of you who may have just fallen short of what you had expected or perhaps you have decided for whatever reason that Higher Education isn’t the path for you at this time. Please do not be despondent as no matter what your results are, you have many options available to you!


The most important step is to take a deep breath and take stock of the avenue you wish to go down. If you are still wanting to go to Uni, UCAS Clearing gives prospective students the chance to find places on university courses that still have vacancies, including at a number of top institutions. Please take a look at the below link as a guide:


You can also consider retaking exams so please speak to your Head of Sixth Form or class tutors, there is a handy guide to this in the link below:


There is also the option of taking a break from education and having a gap year which can involve travelling or finding a job. If you do decide to venture into the world of work, this is something we can help with at Alexander Hancock Recruitment.

We deal with office based positions across the board, at all levels, including entry level positions. Please see the link below for some of the entry level vacancies we are recruiting for right now:


Our consultants would be delighted to receive your CV if you could please send it over to


Other key sources and information:


July 11th, 2018 by

The excitement is building… anticipation is palpable… success is possible .. and it’s coming home….

Because Gareth Southgate has done what so many England Managers have failed to achieve in the past, he has created a team.. the youngest group of players our country has ever put in to bat, the least experienced and yet they are the most successful, smashing records throughout this tournament.

And why? Well because they implemented, as a team, some rules and values such as:

No phones at the meal tables so they communicate together, gel as one group and a group is always stronger than its separate parts

No Divas, unlike the so called “Golden Players” of the past who were more concerned about their individual egos than the good of what they can achieve as one, this group of youngsters want to play together for the good of their country, because they have real pride in wearing an England Shirt and pride leads to a desire to succeed and in turn success

And they have a Manager who looks the part (who doesn’t love his waistcoats?), is calm yet focused, supportive of and instils confidence in his players; teams are created from the personality who heads up the team and their attributes filter down to the whole team

And because their audience is willing them on to win and that will to succeed can overcome any competition

So… Come on England.. We are behind you.. Make us proud and Bring It Home!


Royal Ascot 2018

June 22nd, 2018 by

The glamorous Directors of Alexander Hancock amongst friends looking sensational at Royal Ascot yesterday!