Lots of people in remote work started out as a virtual assistant. It’s hardly a huge surprise, considering that it’s one of the most in-demand jobs in the field. Someone somewhere will always need assistance with their administrative tasks, after all.
However, one caveat to the job is that competition also happens to be rife here. The demand for such is certainly there, but the supply is equally abundant. Thus, if you want to get hired fairly quickly, you need to distinguish yourself early on.
It’s a given that the best VA’s are disciplined, good with time management, and if you’re Filipino, particularly caring. That said, you also need to be competent. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to do the job.
The bottom line is that being a virtual assistant means that you’ll have to wear different hats throughout the day. Since clients want to hire someone who can do several things fairly well, what sort of skills would you need to fit the profile? Read on and find out.
1. Computer Skills.
There’s no way around this. All of your work as a VA will be done on a computer, so you absolutely need to know how to work one.
Aside from knowing how to install and operate basic programs, you should also know how to do periodic maintenance. Basic troubleshooting knowledge is a big help too, as your (and your client’s) work will come to a grinding halt if your computer is down.
2. Data Entry.
Database management and maintenance is a common task for many virtual assistants. Hence, you need to know how to type data into forms, edit information sheets, update databases, and proofread texts.
Here’s another basic computer skill that all VA’s need. Accurate typing should be a given, especially since your client might ask you to transcribe an interview for them on occasion.
Typing speed is another factor you should look out for too. You should be able to type at least 60 words per minute. Otherwise, you might never finish your tasks in good time.
I’m not necessarily talking about content or copywriting here (though those would come in handy if you have a social media management role). As a virtual assistant, you’ll be writing emails and business letters on your client’s behalf. To represent them well, your end results should showcase proper grammar usage and an appropriate tone.
5. Editing and Proofreading.
This is where a good VA’s eye for detail comes in. Your clients will likely be too busy to check their own copy or message for errors, so it’ll be up to you to screen for those.
Heck, if you’re good enough at it, you could parlay this skill into other proofreading gigs. The internet’s practically teeming with copy that could benefit from a bit of polishing.
Remember what I said about typing accuracy and speed? The next level of that skill is transcription. This is where you will need to transcribe a lecture, interview, or any other similar audio or video recording.
As with the previous skill, this is another that you can specialize in later on. Some jobs require VA’s with experience in medical or legal transcription. In these cases, you would need to familiarize yourself with the field’s technical language. The upside, on the other hand, is that you can also command a higher rate for it.
7. Desktop Publishing.
This is just a fancy term for working MS Word or Publisher or something similar to lay out books, brochures, business cards, calendars, etc. Fortunately, your client is likely to have a preference for their blog or website (e.g., WordPress, etc.) and they usually indicate this on the job description.
Therefore, you can look into their preferred platform and read up on it before the interview. Chances are, they’ll still show you the ropes as part of the training when you do get the job, though.
8. Good Organizational Skills.
Duh. You can’t be a top-notch or in-demand VA if you can’t get your ducks in a row. The life of a virtual assistant can often be a balancing act. In addition to your daily tasks, your client might need you to work on occasional errands.
Now, if you’ve got multiple clients, then you’ll need to dial up your organizational skills even more. Still, it’s very much doable with the right mindset and the right apps.
9. Sufficient Oral Communication Skills.
No matter how good you are at writing, no one will hire you if they can’t understand what’s coming out of your mouth. So, you’ll also need to brush up on your speaking skills.
You don’t need to eke out an accent. (Most foreign clients actually appreciate that Filipinos have a neutral accent when speaking English.) Just make sure your pronunciation is correct and that you can string sentences together just fine.
Besides, some of your VA duties might involve making calls on behalf of your client. Might as well make sure that your oral communication skills are up to par.
10. Marketing and PR.
Technically, these skills would fall under a social media management VA’s purview. If your job description heavily features composing and scheduling social media posts or doing SEO, you may want to study basic digital marketing for a leg up.
Do note that you don’t need to be proficient in all of the above, at least not right away. The beauty of remote work is that, as with any other career, you’ll get better at it with time. There’s nothing quite like learning on the job to really hone your skills.
So, if you think you’re ready to give being a virtual assistant a try, why not create an account with Remote Staff? It’s completely free of charge and with our ever-growing pool of pre-qualified clients, we’ll give your remote career a significant head start.
Sign up today and discover the amazing benefits of remote work!