The demand for virtual assistant services continues to rise. According to a report by NanoGlobals, from 2019 to 2020, clients hiring virtual assistants through offshore agencies increased by 41%. One reason for the continuous growth of the industry is that business owners stand to save significantly through the use of offsite or offshore outsourcing of admin and assistant tasks. In addition, the digital age and public availability of technological advancements have helped the remote service industry and the virtual assistant business thrive. Presently, any individual with access to a computer, an internet connection, grit, and talent can become a virtual assistant.
What Is A Virtual Assistant?
Virtual assistants, sometimes casually called VAs, are workers who perform tasks from a remote location. Virtual assistants commonly perform administrative and assistant tasks like email management, moderation of social media accounts, data entry, and content creation.
Depending on the needs of a business or professional, remote workers are adaptable and creative in accomplishing tasks and overcoming challenges at work. If you are interested in hiring a reliable virtual assistant, or curious about how to earn without leaving the comforts of home, check on the qualifications of an in-demand virtual assistant:
Top Virtual Assistant Skills and Qualifications
The nature of VA jobs is assisting a business owner or professional. To handle more important activities, employers usually delegate repetitive and time-consuming tasks to remote employees. These tasks are commonly organizational and executive assistant duties. For this reason, any VA is expected to have administrative skills and basic computer skills. A person with exemplary administrative skills can diligently perform:
- Scheduling appointments
- Data entry
- Project management
ORAL Communication SKILLS
Virtual assistants work remotely. Despite doing tasks outside of the office, VAs should be able to collaborate with their clients and other team members seamlessly. Harmonious work relationships are built through good communication. Furthermore, virtual assistants are expected to make contact with clients of the business, suppliers of the company, and other parties. Their job involves multiple transactions with different people, thus requiring proper conversing skills. A person with exceptional communication skills can efficiently perform:
- Monitoring phone calls, sending out emails
- Confidently answer questions from clients and potential customers
- Represent clients through any communication channel
Typing And Writing Skills
Writing is another form of communication. Written content comes in various forms and styles like blog, copy, photo caption, script, news, editorial, and feature articles. Furthermore, knowing SEO trends also adds significant value to any write-up. A person with advanced writing and typing skills can complete tasks like:
- Write original social media posts, and image captions for various platforms
- Utilize word processing tools, create reports and PowerPoint presentations
- Produce cover letters and other documents
Business owners who want to boost their clientele commonly hire virtual assistants to execute marketing strategies and promotional activities. An effective marketing manager can perform:
- Lead generation, cold calling potential clients
- Social media management
- Research about the target market, and performance of competitors
Most of the time, VAs work with only minimal supervision. Business owners usually hire remote workers so they can gain more time to do income-generating activities. Keeping that in mind, VAs commonly perform tasks on their own and should not expect their employers to guide them at all times. Due to this arrangement, VAs need to possess critical thinking skills to efficiently perform tasks for clients like:
- Organizing folders and files
- Interpreting data and creating reports
- Safekeeping client information, identifying potential customers
Employers delegate multiple tasks to VAs. A good virtual assistant is capable of thriving in a fast-paced environment and meeting deadlines. Employers and clients rely on VAs to possess time management skills to accomplish roles such as:
- Recognizing priority tasks and doing them first
- Scheduling meetings, using online calendars
- Creating personalized work schedules to meet deadlines
Hard Skills That Make A Virtual Assistant Standout
What Are Hard Skills?
According to Forage, hard skills are objective and quantifiable skills gained through training, school, or work experiences. Oxford Reference defined hard skills as competencies that employees possess such as numeracy, literacy, fluency in a foreign language, and specific job-related technical abilities.
Different industries have different needs. Depending on the demands of employers and clients, specialized virtual assistants stand out from the talent pool because of their specific educational backgrounds, professional experience, and hard skills.
Some clients prefer to hire a virtual assistant with bookkeeping skills. Employers looking for this specific ability commonly plan to delegate tasks like journaling transactions, creating reports on the financial records of the company, creating ledgers, trial balancing, monitoring sales, recording cash flows, managing accounts payable, and other similar tasks. People with educational and professional backgrounds in business management, finance, or accounting commonly possess bookkeeping skills.
Remote workers who are tech-savvy and have exceptional skills in IT are commonly sought by employers with businesses related to the IT industry. A person with a passionate inclination toward digital trends can be reliable with tasks like providing technical support, website maintenance, coding, troubleshooting, utilizing tools like Microsoft Office Suite and cloud-based apps, and even software development.
It is now common for healthcare providers to hire remote employees for administrative work and time-consuming tasks. However, healthcare providers prefer hiring VAs with medical backgrounds for output accuracy. Virtual assistants in this industry are asked to perform data entry of medical records, medical transcription, insurance verification, and other similar tasks.
For compliance and to be certified, a healthcare VA should acquire a certificate from the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Property and Asset Management Skills
Another industry known to hire remote workers is the real estate industry. Owners of businesses related to real estate prefer virtual assistants with skills in property and asset management. VAs in this niche also perform administrative tasks, schedule meetings, email management on behalf of the client, and data entry on customer databases, project listings, and market reports.
Artistic and Creativity
An individual with artistic talents can be hired as a virtual assistant by businesses related to multimedia like advertising, and production. VAs in this industry are commonly delegated with tasks like graphic design, editing photos, and videos, creating original content, researching trends on social media platforms, managing social media accounts, and sometimes writing scripts or short stories.
Law and Legal Skills
Law firms have been open to hiring remote employees for a while now. Legal virtual assistants provide more than just administrative tasks. Some of their specialized services and duties include researching, drafting contracts, assisting in pre-trial preparations, transcription, website maintenance, monitoring phone calls, and social media management.
Other Virtual Assistant Skills Must-Have
What Are Soft Skills?
Forage defines soft skills as non-technical talents that describe how an individual works and interacts with others. Soft skills are also called personalities and behaviors that help applicants get hired, and employees find long-term success. Here are the soft skills that make successful virtual assistants:
According to Indeed, self-awareness is the mother of all soft skills. A virtual assistant with self-awareness pays attention to how to handle various situations and apply quick thinking. People with introspection are interested in developing their talents, learning new skills, and finding ways to improve. Having a virtual assistant with self-recognition will add value to any business.
These skills refer to how a person interacts and communicates with other people. VAs with strong interpersonal skills can communicate effectively with their colleagues and clients. Virtual assistants must develop empathy, emotional intelligence, listening, negotiation, collaboration, and persuasion skills.
Virtual assistants must possess self-motivation because they work remotely. When working outside of the office, employees are expected to be the leaders of themselves. They should possess discipline on how to spend their time wisely to accomplish tasks even with minimal supervision. VAs with great focus can create productive work schedules and environments, and understand when to take breaks to avoid burnout.
Versatility and Reliability
The tasks delegated to virtual assistants vary a lot. To become an exceptional employee, one should show flexibility in handling familiar and unfamiliar duties. Any business owner will prefer VAs who can change roles when needed and deliver competent output in any situation. Virtual assistants require versatility to prioritize tasks and handle multiple clients simultaneously.
Detail-Oriented and Organizational Skills
According to Zety, detail-orientedness is a character trait that means being able to pay close attention and notice minor details. Dedicated virtual assistants need to perform tasks with undivided attention to catch mistakes, errors, or changes before they become bigger problems. Attention to detail allows VAs to find a suitable solution to any situation.
How To Acquire And Develop Important Virtual Assistant Skills
The career journey of a VA is a never-ending learning process. If you believe you do not possess some of the top skills discussed earlier, there are several ways to improve virtual assistant skills. Any aspirant remote worker can check the following tips:
- Take Online Courses
The internet is a handy tool. Go online and you will find multiple free and paid online courses. Digital learning provides new knowledge, training experience, and certifications that will boost your resume. Some known websites offering courses for VAs are LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, and Coursera.
- Read Books and Journals
Several available reading materials provide in-depth lessons in becoming a dedicated virtual assistant. Reading books and journals is helpful, especially for specialized skills like medical skills, finance skills, and legal skills.
- Join Virtual Assistant Groups
If you are curious about the regular routines at work of virtual assistants, the best source of information is from VAs themselves. You may join online groups where remote workers share about their jobs, industries, best practices, overcoming a steep learning curve and other related topics. Expanding your network may also help in identifying legitimate work opportunities and avoiding scams.
Does Your Business Need a Helping Hand?
Every business owner or professional encounters time management issue at some point. If you need a skilled and talented individual to help you run day-to-day operations, the best place to look for a remote employee is Remote Raven. The company will assess your business needs and demands, and then connect you with a qualified virtual assistant. Remote Raven will be responsible for the hiring and vetting process. VAs commonly possess important skills like basic problem-solving, handling administrative tasks, and project management. If your business has other specific needs, the company has a talent pool of individuals with professional backgrounds in accounting, healthcare, and real estate.
Do not let the repetitive and admin tasks keep you from handling bigger roles, taking in more clients, and other income-generating activities for your business. Schedule a consultation now with Remote Raven and find the best virtual assistant for you and your growing business.