Research Assistant/Personal Assistant to the Director (f/m/d)

February 12, 2020

The Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History draws upon field and laboratory approaches in archaeology to undertake cutting-edge research into our species’ past. Our active department seeks a  Research Assistant/Personal Assistant to the Director (f/m/d)  to start as soon as possible.

The Department seeks a highly motivated, organised and efficient individual who will be responsible for providing support to the Director, helping manage her time and relieve her workload. Fluent English is essential, together with strong written and verbal communication skills.

Major duties include:

  1. To assist the Director with organizational, research, financial and personal administration on a daily basis.
  2. To communicate and handle incoming and outgoing electronic communications on behalf of the Director.
  3. To compose and edit letters, electronic communications and various documents on behalf of the Director.
  4. To support preparation and timely submission of confidential documents, reviews, reference letters and reports.
  5. To support meetings, including preparation of agendas, documents and presentations, and taking and distributing minutes as required.
  6. To work with the Director to manage her calendar and schedule, and ensure that all key dates, events and deadlines are highlighted and prepared for.
  7. To lead short-term projects and initiatives as requested by the Director.
  8. To ensure appropriate systems and processes are developed and maintained in order to support effective and efficient day to day running of the Director’s office.
  9. To represent the Director at meetings as required.
  10. To research a broad range of topics and issues as needed, including programmes, regulations, guidelines, venues, and equipment as necessary, and provide reports to the Director.
  11. To organize and arrange venues and logistics for all meetings held by the Director.
  12. To assist in the organization of workshops and conferences, staff evaluations and other events as needed.
  13. To keep accurate records and files at all times.
  14. To manage the Director’s global and domestic travel itineraries.
  15. To manage the Director’s expense claims.
  16. To plan and implement hospitality arrangements for the Director, including provision of hospitality for visitors.
  17. To flexibly handle a broad range of tasks and challenges as they arise.

The job will suit someone who is capable of working independently, taking initiative, exercising sound judgement, and problem-solving a broad range of issues. The ability to manage multiple projects and responsibilities simultaneously is critical. Experience as a personal assistant is not necessary, but experience in a research, administrative or other relevant environment is advantageous.

The Department offers a diverse and multicultural setting, welcoming students, staff and visitors from around the world. The Department Administrator will support the Director in managing multiple programmes, initiatives and collaborations, including with Friedrich Schiller University, within the Max Planck Society, and with research organisations globally.



  • Bachelors degree
  • Excellent written and verbal English language skills
  • Experience in research, administrative or personal assistant roles
  • Proven ability to work in a busy, high pressure environment
  • Ability to compose and edit written materials
  • Excellent attention to detail, accuracy and quality
  • Ability to prioritise and manage multiple projects simultaneously and follow through on issues in a timely manner
  • Exceptionally strong organizational skills and punctuality
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Absolute reliability, discretion and a strong sense of responsibility
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative
  • Ability to multi-task, find creative solutions to problems when necessary, and meet tight deadlines
  • A positive outlook and a constructive approach to problems and challenges
  • Proficiency with MS Office (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint).


  • Background in archaeology or academia more broadly
  • German language skills
  • Proficiency with graphics, presentation and bibliographic programs
  • Proficiency with IT, and ability to advise on developments in software, apps and gadgets that can improve efficiency and work flow
  • Appreciation for design and strong visual aesthetic
  • Experience of taking minutes
  • Passion and personal interest in people and providing assistance.

Our offer

We offer an interesting and challenging full-time position in a competitive, dynamic, and stimulating international research environment. Remuneration will follow the public service pay scale (TVöD), according to qualification and experience. In addition, social benefits are paid according to the regulations of the Civil Service. The position is initially limited to two years.

Your application

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more individuals with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply.  The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are under-represented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. If you would like to apply for the position, please include a CV and a cover letter outlining in detail your qualifications, suitability for the position, and motivation for applying for the position. Please provide copies of university transcripts and relevant certificates. All application materials must be in English.

Please submit your application in English as a single PDF file to by 23 March, 2020 using the following link:

For further information regarding this job advertisement, please contact Anja Schatz at

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