How do virtual office assistants work?

Whether you’re hoping to invest in the ultimate virtual office assistant, or train to become one yourself, advanced knowledge is key to finding the right fit. So, what are the main responsibilities of a remote office assistant and how can you break into the market? Read on to discover everything you need to know about how virtual office assistants operate.

What does a virtual office assistant do?

Typical tasks for virtual assistant services are similar to those of an administrative assistant, including scheduling appointments, monitoring email accounts and schedules, and managing phone calls on a part-time or full-time basis. Some virtual assistants also offer specialised skills, including graphic design services or social media management skills. 

What skills do you need to become a virtual assistant? 

Research shows that people working in the virtual assistant (VA) sector support more than 13,500 small businesses in the UK. In our new reality of social distancing, it’s likely that companies around the world will expand their need for virtual assistants in order to maintain customer service needs remotely, in the digital space. So what is it important to find in a virtual assistant’s skill set?

  1. Communication skills: A successful virtual assistant needs to be an excellent communicator, writer, and multitasker. Whether they’re contributing to a small business or a large corporation, a great virtual assistant must be able to communicate effectively across platforms. 
  2. Experience using project management technology: Natural self-starters, virtual assistants must stay organised and manage multiple schedules. Virtual assistants handle nearly all online administrative tasks through advanced programs and platforms. To stand out in the applicant pool, assistants need to be competent in more complex databases and project management systems such as Trello and Asana
  3. Problem-solving ability: In our new digital landscape, many businesses are not only “always on” but always busy, and a virtual assistant must be able to handle multiple urgent requests intuitively, without deferring to senior members. As a result, they need to be confident in finding possible solutions to a specific client question with minimal guidance and tight timeframes. 

The virtual assistant role is a demanding discipline, but if you’re looking to become a virtual assistant yourself, consider what transferable skills you have developed over time that might benefit a business. For example, if you haven’t worked as an executive assistant but have managed multiple projects on a tight deadline in another sector, this could prove equally valuable in the role.

How do I get a job as a virtual assistant? 

In our increasingly digital world, virtual assistants are quickly replacing their in-house counterparts as remote working becomes the norm. The good news is that this means the job market is opening up for virtual assistants, but how do you go about landing the right role? 

First, network on repeat. 

Some estimates show that upwards of 85% of jobs are filled through networking, so the first step in your employment journey should be contacting your former coworkers, friends or others in your network. 

In fact, it helps to go beyond LinkedIn and follow your favourite brands on other social media platforms. A number of job roles are informally addressed on Instagram posts to engage followers with relevant skills. 

Require additional guidance? Join a virtual network.

It’s no secret that networking can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re new to the world of Virtual Assistants or “VA’s”. The good news is there are a number of virtual assistant networks and forums that are available online. From Facebook Groups to email threads, hundreds of potential employers post opportunities on a daily basis. 

Don’t hesitate to add yourself to a few relevant directories to connect with future jobs. Plus, virtual assistant forums in the UK, or similar VA networking sites, are an excellent opportunity to learn from others in the industry. 

Find an agency to get your start

If you’d prefer to leave the job hunt to someone else, there’s always the option to join a virtual staffing company. If you’re just getting into the job market or transferring from another sector, this route can be an excellent way to make a start in the sector. 

While having an agency source work for you can definitely save you time, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. Your pay rate may be limited to the agency’s going rate, and agencies tend to offer short-term and contract opportunities more than full-time options. However, it can’t hurt to throw your resume in the ring with a recruiter. You never know what opportunities might come your way. 

An online portfolio goes a long way

A personal website outlining your professional experience is another vital component to getting hired at any business. With website visitors forming an opinion in just 0.5 seconds when visiting any given site, think strategically when you design your homepage. 

A strong virtual assistant always comes recommended. Consider leading with a testimonial from a former manager or a project management example to make a positive first impression. Naturally, a contact form that outlines your background, services, and past experience will prove essential to landing future jobs in this administrative space, too.

Starting your search

Navigating the world of virtual assistants can be challenging at first. Whether you’re looking for a virtual assistant to streamline your office work, or hope to land a job yourself, advanced knowledge of what skills to seek out is key. 

Rovva offers a range of virtual office products, including virtual receptionist services as part of its monthly plans.

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Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.

Your complete business toolkit

Rovva puts everything you need for your business in one place. From an accountancy helpline to a drop-in business lounge - we've got everything covered.