Skills To Look For When Hiring a VA

Posted on Aug 27, 2023
By Kerry Anne Nelson
9 min read
skills to look for when hiring a va
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Welcome to the World of Virtual Assistance

If you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or even a busy individual looking to delegate tasks and free up your valuable time, you’re in the right place. You’ve likely heard about this buzzing trend – Virtual Assistants (VA). But, what’s all the hype about? Let’s deep dive into the fascinating world of VAs, shedding light on the myriad of virtual assistant skills and how they can be game-changers for your day-to-day operations.

virtual assistant working

Demystifying Virtual Assistants

First things first, let’s clear up what a virtual assistant actually is. A VA is an independent contractor who provides administrative support while operating outside of the client’s office. These detail-oriented virtual assistants often handle tasks like email management, scheduling appointments, and even handling social media accounts.

One of the biggest perks? They can work from anywhere in the world, making them a critical asset for business owners juggling multiple clients across different time zones. The essence of their role, however, boils down to taking on the administrative tasks that you’d rather not spend your time on, freeing you up to focus on your business development and strategy.

The Art of Administrative Tasks

A VA wears many hats, but their crowning glory lies in handling administrative tasks with minimal supervision. Think of them as an administrative assistant, but virtual. They manage online calendars, make phone calls, provide technical support, and much more. In the digital age, they’re also well-versed in word processing, data entry, and even creating PowerPoint presentations.

A detail-oriented VA with amazing organisational skills can seamlessly handle your administrative work, including virtual assistant duties like scheduling meetings, answering questions from potential customers, creating reports, and managing your client’s inbox with poise.

virtual assistant working on tasks from home

Mastering Social Media Management

But, their talents don’t end at administration! In the era of Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, an effective virtual assistant with creative abilities and a knack for words can be your own personal marketing manager. They can draft and schedule social media posts, interact with your audience, and even spearhead marketing campaigns, helping your brand presence flourish on various social media platforms.

The world of social media is ever-changing, and an effective VA stays on top of trends, understands the nuances of each platform, and tailors your content accordingly. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with maintaining a consistent online presence, a VA can be your saviour.

A VA’s Ever-Expanding Universe of Jobs

The range of virtual assistant jobs is ever-growing, fueled by the needs of businesses. Some VAs specialise in particular areas, offering their skills in project management, content creation, lead generation, website maintenance, and even providing online course support. Regardless of the task at hand, one thing’s for sure – your VA is there to help you navigate the digital landscape, learn new skills and conquer new tasks as they go.

Power-Packed Virtual Assistant Skills

Like any superhero, a VA has a skill set they draw upon to swoop in and save the day. The top virtual assistant skills include:

Communication Skills: A good virtual assistant has excellent written and verbal communication skills. Whether they’re answering client emails or drafting marketing emails, they need to get your message across clearly and professionally.

Organisational Skills: Juggling tasks for different clients, VAs need excellent organisational skills. They’re adept at using tools to manage your schedule, keep track of client information, and meet deadlines.

Time Management: With multiple clients and a plethora of tasks, time management is a non-negotiable skill for a VA. They need to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and manage their workload efficiently.

Technical Knowledge: From managing social media accounts to providing technical support and entering data, VAs should have strong computer literacy.

Aiming for the Bullseye – What Skills Should You Look For in a VA?

While the aforementioned skills are a solid foundation, there are a few more abilities required to truly make a VA stand out:

Proactivity: A VA who can anticipate your needs, answer questions before you’ve even asked them, and take the initiative to solve problems is worth their weight in gold.

Flexibility: No two days are the same for a VA. The ability to adapt, learn new tasks, and adjust to changing priorities is a must-have.

Confidentiality: A VA often has access to sensitive business information. Trustworthiness and a strong sense of professional ethics are critical.

VAs: The Qualifications That Add The Midas Touch

While formal education may vary, most VAs possess a range of qualifications that can add great value to your business. Some may have backgrounds in business administration, marketing, or other related fields. Others might hold certifications from online courses in their area of expertise, such as social media management or email marketing.

Remember, a VA’s value lies not only in their qualifications but also in their experience and their ability to apply their skills effectively. It’s about the results they can deliver, their problem-solving ability, and their commitment to their client’s success.

virtual assistant solving problems

Picking the Right VA: Considerations for a Perfect Fit

Hiring a VA can be quite the journey, but it’s crucial to be thorough. After all, they’ll become an essential part of your team. How do you ensure you’re picking the right one? The key lies in identifying their skills during the hiring process. Ask questions related to their previous virtual assistant duties, gauge their typing skills, assess their writing skills, and don’t shy away from presenting them with a small task to see their skills in action.

The VA Magic Wand: Transforming Your Business

Stepping into the shoes of a VA, it’s clear that they hold a magic wand that has the power to transform your virtual assistant business. No more fretting about time management or diving into the intricacies of maintaining online calendars, or keeping your social media accounts vibrant and interactive. A VA with good organisational skills and abilities can effortlessly complete tasks with precision and on time.

From managing phone calls, and providing technical support, to becoming your administrative assistant, a VA can bring an unparalleled level of efficiency to your operations. They can lift the burden off your shoulders, allowing you to channel your energies into strategising and expanding your business.

The Learning Curve: Growing with Your VA

Your relationship with your VA is a journey, one with its own learning curve. VAs are quick learners, and they are always ready to update their skill sets to meet your evolving needs. Whether it’s taking up an online course to handle a new aspect of your business, or learning to use a new project management tool, they are up for the challenge.

Self-motivation is the VA’s best friend. They can work independently and are always ready to tackle new tasks. They are committed to growing your business, and their success is intertwined with yours.

The Digital Dynamo: The VA as Your Online Whizz

One of the most significant advantages of hiring a VA is gaining access to a wealth of digital knowledge. Whether it’s setting up and maintaining your website, managing your email marketing, or just ensuring that your social media posts are hitting the right notes, your VA is the whizz you need.

With computer skills that could make a tech geek jealous, they can ensure that your business stays on the cutting edge of the digital world. From SEO to website maintenance, a VA is your personal digital dynamo.

Virtual, But Personal: Building a Relationship with Your VA

While your VA might not share your office space, they’re as much a part of your team as any on-site employee. Developing a strong relationship with your VA is paramount. Keep lines of communication open and provide constructive feedback to ensure your VA is aligned with your business goals.

VAs can be more than just another worker; they can become your business partners, supporting your vision and helping you achieve your objectives. They are your collaborators, enablers, and your allies in success.

virtual assistant sitting at home working

Navigating the VA Landscape

And now, let’s tackle some questions you might be burning to ask about VAs. Buckle up!

Q: What do clients look for in a virtual assistant?

A: Clients are on the hunt for a VA who is a true chameleon – adaptable, quick to learn, and a real problem-solver. Of course, they should have a firm grip on virtual assistant duties, but it’s their ability to wear many hats that truly sets them apart. Top-notch communication skills, the ability to work independently, and a knack for organisation are all high on the list of what clients desire. Plus, a spoonful of proactivity and a dash of confidentiality go a long way!

Q: What is an example of hard skills for a virtual assistant?

A: A VA’s toolbox of hard skills is as varied as it is vital. From proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and data entry to managing online calendars and email accounts – these are all part of their repertoire. Additionally, many VAs have technical skills like SEO knowledge, social media management, and proficiency in project management tools. They’re not just virtual assistants, they’re virtual wizards!

Q: What are 3 important skills as a virtual assistant?

A: Oh, just three? That’s a tough one! But if we had to pick, we’d say:

Time Management: Juggling tasks for multiple clients requires a knack for prioritisation and an eagle eye on the clock.

Communication Skills: Whether it’s liaising with clients or crafting a catchy social media post, a VA needs to be a wordsmith, conveying messages clearly and effectively.

Technical Skills: In the digital age, computer literacy is a must. Knowledge of relevant software, applications, and platforms is crucial for a VA.

Q: What is expected of a virtual assistant?

A: A VA is expected to swoop in and lighten your workload. They handle a variety of tasks, from managing your emails to keeping your social media accounts buzzing. They’re expected to be proactive, flexible, and always ready to learn. Above all, they should be reliable, maintaining professionalism and confidentiality.

Q: What problems do virtual assistants solve?

A: VAs are your secret weapon against the chaos of running a business. Overwhelmed by emails? They can do email management. Is social media giving you a headache? They’re on it. Struggling to keep your schedule organised? They’re already color-coding your calendar. VAs are problem solvers, tackling the administrative and technical tasks that keep your business running smoothly, so you can focus on the big picture.

young man working from home

Key Takeaways: The VA Phenomenon

The rise of the virtual assistant is a testament to our digital age’s flexibility and adaptability. The VA phenomenon is here to stay. They offer a practical solution for busy professionals and small business owners who need extra support but are not ready to hire full-time, on-site employees.

The right VA, equipped with the necessary virtual assistant skills, can become an integral part of your business, taking on a variety of virtual assistant duties, freeing up your time, and providing the support you need to thrive.

Remember, a good VA is more than just their skill set. Their adaptability, commitment, and desire to grow and learn are what truly make them shine. Whether you need assistance with administrative tasks, social media management, or project management, there’s a VA out there who’s the perfect fit for your business needs.

So, here’s to embracing the world of VAs – your future self will thank you!

Kerry Anne Nelson

About Kerry Anne Nelson

Kerry Anne Nelson is the founder of Operation Verve and is a qualified first-class Honours graduate with more than 8 years of experience in education.

Kerry Anne Nelson is a workplace processes architect and uses her Lean Six Sigma training to maximise her years of experience in business management, education, and team leadership to help clients achieve lasting business growth.