Virtual assistants are in high demand as remote workers and virtual offices become more common. Virtual assistants work remotely from their homes and perform many tasks to support clients’ business operations. It is important to learn about the job and how you can get into it if you are interested in becoming a virtual assistant.
This article will explain what a virtual assistant does and how it works. We also discuss the skills needed to succeed in this role, the steps to get started, and the amount virtual assistants can earn.
What does a virtual assistant do?
Virtual assistants are self-employed contractors who provide technical or administrative services to clients remotely. They are often able to assist clients with scheduling meetings and appointments, which can take up a lot of time. Assistants work remotely but have the necessary digital resources to complete their jobs. They may be able, for example, to add appointments to their digital calendars and enter data into the client’s database.
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What is a virtual assistant?
While the specific tasks, duties, and assignments that a virtual assistant performs can vary depending upon their client’s needs, there are some common responsibilities. These are:
- Customers receive technical and administrative support
- Answering, directing, and making phone calls
- Management and scheduling of meetings and appointments
- Secure spaces for meetings in person, such as conference rooms
- Making travel arrangements and making reservations
- Create lists and place orders
- Transcription of meetings, or drafting and sharing minutes
- Management of communications and email accounts
- Invoicing, bookkeeping, and shipping
- Tracking vendors, sales, and travel payments as well as expenses
- Online research
- Create presentations using raw data
- Update databases and enter data
- Manage filing systems, update records, and organize documentation
- Social media management: Creating and managing accounts.
Virtual assistant qualifications
Although there are no specific qualifications for virtual assistants, they usually require a combination of education, training, and skills to complete the tasks. These qualifications are necessary for virtual assistants:
Virtual assistants should have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is preferred by most clients, who prefer them to be in communication, commerce, or business administration. Some employees may prefer to have higher education or training depending on the job, particularly for specialized tasks.
Online training courses are available for virtual assistants. The majority of the job’s duties can be directly applied to courses in word processing, database, spreadsheets, management, and business. Training in graphic design, social media management, and website design may be beneficial.
You might be interested in an integrated approach. If so, you may want to consider virtual assistant training courses. These courses will teach you basic administrative tasks remotely. These courses can be a few days or several weeks long. To make yourself more marketable, you can take courses in multiple specialties.
Virtual assistant skills are certified by a few online companies. You can demonstrate to potential clients that your knowledge is specialized by obtaining certifications. You can earn certification as a virtual assistant, or in specific areas like social media management. These certifications include:
- Certified Virtual Assistant: You can apply for the VA Certified Certified Virtual Assistant course if you have at least one year of experience as a virtual assistant. The VA Certified review board will ask you questions about your experience as a virtual assistant, your education, and your achievements before you can receive certification.
- Microsoft Office Specialist: This certification is very valuable as many virtual assistant jobs require basic knowledge of office software. This certification is available at three levels: Specialist, Expert and Master. It requires the completion of a training program and passing an exam.
- Google Ads Certification: This certification shows that you’re skilled in online marketing. You must first complete the training offered by Google in the areas covered by the certification before you can take the exams.
- Language certification: This is useful for clients who frequently do international business. Many certification programs are available for different foreign languages. These can be offered either by language institutes, or online.
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What skills are required to be a virtual assistant
Virtual assistants should have soft and technical skills.
Virtual assistants work remotely so it is essential to be able to use a computer and remote access software. Word processing, spreadsheets, and online research are essential computer skills for virtual assistants. It is also highly desirable to be familiar with virtual conferencing and video chat.
You must be able to communicate well as a virtual assistant. You must be able to listen, understand and communicate clearly with people. Writing skills are also important, especially if you deal with business correspondence or update websites.
Virtual assistants are often able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, many of which require the coordination of schedules and other details. For these tasks to be completed on time, you need good organizational skills. Because the work is remote, there is less direct supervision. Organization skills are important to ensure you can keep track of all tasks.
You must respond quickly to the needs of your clients as a virtual assistant. Multitasking can allow you to meet multiple requests while not losing sight of other tasks.
Virtual assistants often work with multiple clients with different schedules. It is possible to coordinate your schedule with that of clients, ensuring the timely and proper completion of tasks.
Virtual assistants can work remotely but must be able to communicate effectively with clients. You should be friendly and professional as a virtual assistant. On video chats and phone calls, you must be friendly and able to communicate with clients.
How to become a virtual assistant?
Here are the steps to becoming a virtual assistant.
1. Get a bachelor’s degree
Clients prefer to hire virtual assistants with at least a bachelor’s degree. You can do this in any discipline. However, certain degree subjects will improve your chances of being hired by employers. A degree in marketing can help you offer your services to professionals in the field.
2. Completion of certification courses
While certification is not required, it can help you attract clients and secure jobs. This is especially true for virtual assistants with little work experience. Consider taking a few courses in Microsoft Office and then focusing on more specialized areas like social media management to increase your chances of getting a job.
3. Join virtual assistant organizations
You can benefit from valuable networking opportunities as well as the ability to grow professionally by joining a virtual assistant organization. The International Virtual Assistants Association, for example, offers continuing education opportunities and access to professional services that will help you advance your career.
4. Make a resume, and then apply for jobs
Make sure your resume reflects your experience as well as any special knowledge you may have when you apply for virtual assistant positions. Employers will be able to see all of your certifications and skills. Although you don’t have to meet with your employers in person for some jobs, you might need to take an online assessment in order to be interviewed.