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How to Become a Virtual Administrative Assistant

Virtual assistants require no standard educational background, but need a diverse range of skills.
A woman examining her schedule planner.

A virtual administrative assistant is becoming a popular work-from-home job. This job takes the title of office assistant to a new level, by allowing the employee to perform the duties of administrative assistant from the comfort of their own home.

Typically, a virtual secretary performs tasks like:

  • setting appointments
  • transcription
  • emailing and posting mail correspondences
  • electronic filing
  • word processing

If a career as a virtual administrative assistant sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, or if you are a current office assistant who wants to transition to working for home, try these tips on how to become a virtual administrative assistant.

Necessary Education

There is no blanket standard of educational requirements to be a virtual assistant. Educational requirements typically vary by employer depending on the employer's needs, the type of business that you work for and the specific project. Therefore, some employers may only require a high school diploma or equivalent degree, while others may want to hire a virtual secretary who has a four-year degree, or even a graduate degree.

Necessary Training

Many websites offer virtual administrative assistant training for a fee, but be wary of these websites. There is no nationally accredited virtual assistant training certification, and most employers will not ask whether you have some form of virtual assistant certification.

The majority of employers are more concerned with your level of experience, and what you can do to benefit their company. It is important to have a well-written resume, as well as excellent referrals and testimonials to validate the quality of your work.

The Proper Equipment

As with any career, you must have the proper equipment and resources to perform necessary tasks. Some of the necessary equipment needed to be a virtual administrative assistant is:

  • Computer with a high speed Internet connection
  • Printer/scanner/copier combo
  • Fax machine
  • One land line, although some jobs may require you to have two land line phone numbers
  • A home office that promotes a proper work environment with little to no distractions

Hone Your Skills

Whether you are currently employed as an in office administrative assistant, or whether you are beginning an entirely new career as a virtual administrative assistant, it is important to polish your skills. Honing the skills necessary to be a virtual assistant will make your more attractive to potential employers. The following are some of the necessary skills needed to be a virtual secretary:

  • Above average communication skills
  • Ability to multitask, while thinking clearly and logically
  • Excellent typing skills of 70 words per minute (wpm) or higher
  • Have more than proficient skills in grammar and writing
  • General computer knowledge including word processing, spreadsheets, databases and email

Post Your Resume on the Internet

Since you are going to become a virtual administrative assistant, one of the best ways to find jobs is to search the Web. You can browse tons of different job databases, and you can even post your resume online, as well. Some websites may charge a monthly service fee to use their resources, while others, like our WAHM job board, provide job listings for free.

Some online boards request that job seekers bid on specific virtual assistant jobs by listing their hourly work rate, or their fee for the completion of a specific project. Other databases allow virtual assistants to post their resumes online, so that employers may contact them about employment.

The best resources for job openings and resume posting for freelance virtual assistants include:


Explore Options with Your Current Employer

If you are currently employed outside of the home as an administrative assistant, but you would like to make the transition to working from home, ask your employer about your company's work from home options. In many cases, employers are willing to allow their administrative assistants to work from home, because it frees office and saves money in office expenses.

Shop Your Skills to Area Businesses

In addition to looking to the Internet or your current employer for virtual assistant jobs, you should talk to business owners in your area about the benefits of hiring you as a virtual assistant. By providing a letter of interest or cover letter, and your resume, you could essentially create a new job for yourself working from home as a virtual secretary for a local business.

If you have a good strategy and game plan for approaching local business owners, you could soon be a full-time employee or an independent contractor.

Networking and Professional Connections

When you become a virtual assistant, one of the best ways to continue to learn about your trade and expand your business contacts is to network and make professional connections.

Some of the best ways to network and make professional connections include ideas like:

  • Joining LinkedIn - an online resource where millions of working professionals exchange information and form business relationships
  • Participating in online forums and message boards
  • Joining professional networks like the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA)
  • Regularly visiting or joining and the Virtual Assistant Association

Networking not only allows you to build friendships, references and business contacts with other virtual assistants, but also allows you to make contact with potential employers.

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