A virtual assistant is an asset for businesses of any size. They are also one of the most important investments a business can make. A virtual assistant performs many of the same tasks a traditional assistant handles. However, a virtual assistant performs her job remotely. Requirements for this job vary according to each business’ needs. I put together a list of essential skills businesses should look for when recruiting a virtual assistant.

  • Good communicator. Communication is important in any workplace and when it comes to the virtual world, it’s the backbone. If you want your partnership with a virtual assistant to be worthwhile, it’s important that you can hand over work and get it back the way you want it. So, it’s essential that your communication is on point. And having good communication skills, both verbal and written, is imperative to succeed as a virtual assistant – a virtual assistant should be able to communicate at all levels.
  • Resilient. The Forbes website sums up resilience as:

“Resilience means anticipating risks and feeling comfortable with change. Resilience involves limiting damage during turbulent times, absorbing hard knocks, regrouping and bouncing back when the worst happens. It’s the ability to start feeling better and bolster your confidence after a setback. It’s remaining engaged in the midst of shifting challenge.” This skill is essential for a virtual assistant to succeed. A virtual assistant needs to be resilient to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.

  • Dependable and reliable. When looking for a virtual assistant, you need to find someone who is dependable, someone who will deliver within the prescribed deadline and give the quality of output you have agreed upon. Reliability is a must in a virtual assistant.
  • Versatile.  A virtual assistant should be able to do anything, but not everything. Virtual assistants should be versatile remote workers that perform multiple tasks.
  • Confident. Confidence is key for assistants. Having a low self esteem can be challenging in life, in general, but can be particularly challenging for assistants. As a virtual assistant you should feel comfortable in your own abilities: with your skills, tasks and communicating with senior members of staff.
  • Resourceful. A valuable virtual assistant is the go-to person in the business. Being able to answer most your client’s basic questions make you an irreplaceable part of their team.
  • Utterly organised. Organisation isn’t just about how your office looks, but it is also how you manage yourself and ultimately what can become your thoughts and actions. Organisation is key to perform this type of role. A virtual assistant needs to be able to stay on top of things and take pride in exceptional attention to detail.
  • Trustworthy. Virtual assistants often are trusted to handle sensitive and confidential information. Trusted assistants are often de facto advisors to senior leadership.
  • Professionalism. Top-flight assistants treat everyone in the office with respect. They don’t get involved in office politics and gossip. As such, when a crisis occurs, they can turn to pretty much anyone in the office and be assured to get immediate help.
  • Approachable. Behind every great leader is an extraordinary assistant. Learning how to deal with difficult people is a key skill to perform this role. An assistant should be assertive and approachable at the same time. Assistants want people to talk to them, a balancing act of calmness, avoiding sarcasm and actively looking to find a solution with compromise will make an assistant approachable and an effective gatekeeper.
  • Self-motivated. Across all virtual assistant tasks, motivation and discipline are essential. The ideal assistant should embrace teamwork and thrive in a self-motivated environment.

Problem solver. When hiring a virtual assistant always look for a fast and responsible problem solver. They don’t necessarily need to have all the skills required to complete the job but should have the willingness to get the job done and be passionate about your business success.