A virtual assistant is an independent contractor that provides administrative services to clients while operating outside the client's office. Today's virtual assistants perform a wide range of tasks, from administration to accounting and social media management. Responsibilities include responding to emails and phone calls, scheduling meetings, booking travel and accommodation, managing a contact list, preparing customer spreadsheets and keeping online records, organizing managers' calendars, conducting market research, creating presentations, and other tasks as assigned. People employed as virtual assistants typically have several years of experience as administrative assistants or office managers.
While there are no strict educational requirements to become a virtual assistant, many customers will be looking for virtual assistants who have some level of higher education or specialized training. A virtual assistant must be a technology expert, have a wide range of computer skills and a high level of competence with commonly used commercial software and programs. For small business owners, hiring a virtual assistant can help them free up valuable hours to focus on growing the business and generating revenue. Some online companies and community colleges offer virtual assistant skills courses and certifications.
For the customer, an advantage of hiring a virtual assistant is the flexibility of hiring only the services they need. Since your virtual assistant is likely to be a part-time or contract employee, you probably won't be eligible for traditional benefits, such as health insurance. The responsibilities of the virtual assistant will also include managing corporate schedules, making travel plans and issuing invoices. When you've finished your job description and are ready to officially start searching for a virtual assistant, find great candidates by posting the job offer for free on Monster. On these sites, customers can post details about the type of tasks they need the virtual assistant to perform and the maximum fee they are willing to pay.