4 core skills you may already have to become a virtual assistant

by
Aparna Jayender
by
Nkechi Seale
by
Sonia Olenick
Published:
September 26, 2022

In today’s workplace, administrative skills are a great way to gain flexible and remote employment opportunities. Maybe you're a single parent looking for flexible work hours or a newcomer to Canada seeking North American work experience? Perhaps you like saving money on transportation and lunch and prefer working from home?

Being a virtual assistant (VA) allows you to build on your administrative experience while working remotely. With more employers recognizing the benefits of using a VA, the opportunities for VAs keep growing.

To become a VA with Virtual Gurus you don't need prior virtual assistant experience. All you need is to build on these four core skills from your previous administrative work.

1. Communication  

An active approach

As a virtual assistant, you're doing the same tasks you might have done in other admin roles; just doing them remotely. The biggest difference will be how you communicate with your boss, or in the case of Virtual Gurus, your client. Since you won’t be having daily interactions with your client in person, you’ll rely largely on online tools like Zoom, Slack and email to communicate.

As the pandemic taught us, virtual communication can leave you feeling fatigued, making it difficult to focus. That’s why, when communicating virtually, it’s so important to practice active listening. The United Institute of Peace defines active listening as “a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.” Active listening includes the following actions:  

  • Paying attention
  • Deferring judgment
  • Showing that you’re listening
  • Asking for feedback
  • Responding appropriately.
"My clients are always so pleased when I am able to suggest something they haven't thought of before and taking the time to really understand what organization means to them and what is going to work for them long term."  - Kaela L., Virtual Assistant

Being aware of a person’s physical cues is also part of active listening. When possible, meet your client with the camera on to watch for non-verbal cues. When the camera is off, listen to the tone of their voice to know how to respond. Ask questions and be engaged. And don’t look at your cell phone during meetings, the attention must be on your client.  

 

2. Tech-Savvy  

Use technology to your advantage  

Today’s admin is expected to know how to use technology. Long gone are the days of filing cabinets and paper note-taking. A tech-savvy admin doesn’t just know how to use technology, they know how to use it to be more efficient and productive:  

  • Stays connected with their team with apps like Teams and Slack.  
  • Shares and edits documents using Google Docs and Office 365.  
  • Knows Google is their friend and uses it for everything from learning how to filter an Excel spreadsheet to comparing airline ticket pricing.

Redcape, a leader in engaging Microsoft, Apple, and Google productivity training, defines a tech-savvy person as a lifelong learner who:  

  • Embraces change.
  • Enables new features.
  • Is curious and willing to learn.
  • Continually pursues training.

You can stay on top of tech tips by reading tech blogs, updating your apps, and watching YouTube videos. Some libraries even provide free access to LinkedIn Learning if you have a membership card.

"You don't have to be an expert in everything... a willingness to try and learn new things goes a long way! YouTube has become my BFF when it comes to figuring out how to do something one of my clients needs." - Kellie E., Virtual Assistant

Are you the definition of tech-savvy? Join Virtual Gurus today.

3. Organizational skills

Keep organized and get ahead

You wouldn’t be an admin if you didn’t have good organizational skills.  As a virtual assistant, you’ll need to find ways for you and your client to stay organized online. Whether your client prefers Office 365 or Google Suite, it’s up to you to know the features and tricks of those tools for task and time management. For larger projects, get acquainted with apps like Asana and Trello. These apps use real-time to keep the team updated on project tasks and even send deadlines.

Also, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should let your desk get messy. There is a saying that a tidy desk is a tidy mind.  Imagine a desk with a laptop, pens in a pen holder, a notepad, and one personal item like a framed photograph. Next imagine a desk with old coffee cups, leftover snacks, pieces of paper everywhere, scattered pens, and a plant in need of watering. Which desk will cause you to be distracted and stressed? The untidy desk, right?  

An uncluttered desk helps you concentrate and stay focused, giving you a clear head for better decision-making and problem-solving capabilities. By keeping a neat desk and a clear mind, you can work towards what Mindtools refers to as a state of deep focus known as flow.

Mindtools suggests you focus on these three key areas to develop your organization skills:  

  1. Your workspace – Have a designated area on your desk to keep the things you need for your current project or activity.  
  1. Time - Designate the first 15 minutes of your workday to get organized.  
  1. Communication – Keep your notes and ideas organized neatly in one place. That way, you can recall and share information more easily.
"Organization is key to keeping straight the processes and procedures for multiple clients. I have always been highly organized and feel I am good at utilizing my critical thinking skills to find ways to increase efficiency for myself and my clients." - Ruth H.R., Virtual Assistant

4. Customer service

A customer-first approach

At Virtual Gurus providing your client with excellent customer service is a top priority.

Worried you don’t have customer service experience? Sure, you do. Think of your boss and the internal departments you worked with at your last company as your clients. Being in a support role, you did your best to assist and accommodate them. As a professional, you strived to meet company deadlines and to be flexible to the ebb and flows of the changing demands of the workday. By being the person your team could count on, you made yourself an indispensable asset to your team.

Excellent customer service means being a relationship builder and using your active listening skills. Client relationship management gives the virtual assistants at Virtual Gurus a competitive edge. Focusing on your client's needs and building relationships are the building blocks of your success and keep you in demand as a VA.  

"Obviously, there are customer service jobs we can do, but interacting with the clients themselves is also customer service. Being able to relate to people, to be empathetic and connecting with your client is huge." - Candice T., Virtual Assistant

Become a relationship builder

Great relationships are the foundation of Virtual Gurus' success and it’s why we have so many returning and new clients. As our client base keeps expanding, we need talented virtual assistants like you.

Put the four core skills to use and get a job that works for you. Whether you’re a general admin or have expertise in social media and booking keeping, Virtual Gurus wants to hear from you. At Virtual Gurus, we recognize everyone is different and we value a diverse team. We realize that people have different work needs and that 9 -5 isn’t for everyone. With Virtual Gurus you get the steady, freelance work you always wanted while working remotely with flexible hours.  

What are you waiting for?

Join our team and become a virtual assistant today.

Interested in becoming a virtual assistant?

Visit our Become a VA page to learn more.

Learn more
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Aparna Jayender
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Nkechi Seale
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Sonia Olenick
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