by Belinda Stringer
Virtual Assistant work and jobs are everywhere, and are available in a variety of industries. Just ask us! We get new employers on our screened job board service almost daily.
These companies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs are looking for qualified, work-from-home virtual assistants they can count on, and with the competitive skills needed in today’s marketplace.
Fact is when it comes to skills, not all industries require the same ones. If you are looking to embark on a career as a virtual assistant, whether you want to remain an independent contractor, or if you want a home-based job as a company employee, we will discuss some core skills for the various industries most likely to hire a virtual assistant.
Just remember, whether you are an independent contractor, or an employee, you are held accountable for your own initiative, professionalism, timeliness, and follow-through.
We recommend that you first consider what you truly enjoy doing.
A) If you hate accounting and finance, learning QuickBooks, and typing excel mathematical formula spreadsheets, could be agony for you. You probably wouldn’t do well at something you really don’t like.
B) You may even love writing, editing and correcting grammar. Typing blogs, manuscripts or ghost writing requires excellent typing and writing skills, as well as software like Microsoft Word, online autoresponders, WordPress, etc.
C) You may want to find work in customer service, because you love talking to people from all walks of life. You may enjoy helping others, and having great people skills for you are the key ingredient, along with organization, record keeping, and perhaps even knowing how to manage a database.
These are only three examples, but notice how each of these requires different skills. So, how can you get a better idea of what you would like to do with a virtual assistant career?
Central Test offers personality, aptitude and career tests, and they offer beta testers free online assessments.
Once you’ve decided which industry(ies) you enjoy, have aptitude for, and believe you could serve well, then it’s time to assess the skills you can offer to be competitive in the marketplace. Virtual Assistant jobs are becoming more common, more desirable, and are at a premium, so do not underestimate the importance of honing your skills.
Brain Bench provides free and/or subscription-based online self-assessments in the most in-demand skills in the marketplace today. Take a look at just some of the assessments they provide, and in a wide variety of skills:
*1 Information Tech: Cisco, HTML, Java, .NET, C/C++, Oracle, SQL, Windows and more.
*2 Office Skills: Filing, Office Management, Typing – manuscript and statistical, Customer Service, etc.
*3 Languages and Communication: business writing, editing, English and other languages.
*4 Computer Software: PowerPoint, Windows, Microsoft WordPhotoshop, Excel, AutoCAD
*5 Essential Skills for any job: Basic Math, Grammar, Spelling, English, Listening Skills
*6 Financial: QuickBooks, Accounting and Financial Analysis,
*7 Management: Project management,
*8 Health Care: Medical Terminology, Coding and Billing, Anatomy, EMT, Nursing, First Aid and Pharmaceuticals.
Honing the skills you need may take some time, but it is well worth it if you want to build a solid virtual assistant career. Don’t worry if you aren’t excellent at all of the skills you need in any one particular skill-set.
If you have the basic skills, you can certainly develop the rest, and you may have a competitive edge with a potential client or employer by offering not to charge for any of your learning-curve time.
Think of it this way, if it takes you a few hours to learn a new software for a client, that knowledge and skill will always be yours to use for any new client, or job, that comes along.
When approaching a potential employer don’t be shy about what skills you don’t have. Yes, you do want to become and stay competitive, but if you’re just starting out, emphasize what you do have, and show enthusiasm about working for them. Attitude can go a long way to getting you the job, even if you have one or two less proficient skills.
If the employer knows you will learn on your own time, they will feel more like they’re getting “a deal” (more of your time for less money). In some cases that’s a selling point when it comes to the virtual assistant marketplace.
Ultimately, becoming excellent at a wide array of skills for the particular industry or client base you wish to serve, is the most desirable trait for any virtual assistant. Also, over time, you can reassess yourself through those two sites mentioned above, or any other assessment site.
Don’t forget the “For Dummies” books, as well. You can find them written about almost anything you want to learn! Good Luck!
VirtualAssistants.com has been helping people get virtual jobs since 1999. As one of the oldest virtual assistant job boards on the internet, their experience with pre-screening and posting legitimate virtual jobs have helped thousands of people achieve their dream of working at home. To sign up for virtual jobs, just visit their site by using the link above.