Your business is growing and you’ve decided you need some support, but what skills should you look for in a Virtual Personal Assistant?
Top 5 Virtual PA Skills
Solid PA experience
Being a Virtual PA isn’t that different from being an office-based PA. So make sure your new support has plenty of hands on experience. The key skills learned in an office environment will make a huge difference to their ability and performance once they ‘go it alone’.
At Designated all of our PAs must have at least 3 years’ experience before they join our team – for just this reason.
Good communication skills are important for every type of PA because it’s that constant dialogue between PA and manager that forms the basis of a solid working relationship. But communication is even more important for virtual PAs because they work remotely.
Virtual PAs also need to adapt their communication styles depending on the channel they’re using. It could be face-to-face meetings, telephone, email, social media – or even the odd letter! And all these formats require a subtle change in style.
A safe pair of hands
You probably need a PA because you’ve got an ever growing to-do list and no time to fit it all in. Which means you also don’t have the time to micro-manage your PA. Experience and communication skills will help, but you also need to trust your Virtual PA to meet your standards, and be your trusted gatekeeper.
This means great attention to detail – whether that’s booking travel or sending out documentation. It also means professionalism – in communications, hitting deadlines, discretion and much more. And it means remaining calm under pressure.
Working remotely means that Virtual PAs rely heavily on IT systems. So it’s important for them to be confident in their IT skills, and have the ability to grasp new software/applications quickly and easily.
It is also highly beneficial for them to have extensive knowledge of popular software packages like Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and Google systems (Gmail, Drive, Slides and Sheets).
While your Virtual PA will have a daily to-do list, they won’t have a manager leaning over their shoulder. So it’s important that they have the self-motivation to do a good job.
Self-motivation comes from enjoying your work and getting a genuine sense of satisfaction from hitting milestones. An experienced PA should have developed this association between hard work and a positive sense of achievement, but it’s worth asking these questions in your search.
Take a leap of faith… and delegate
These are the key skills that we look for when we’re recruiting at Designated. Of course this list is not exhaustive, and there will be particular skills that you need for your specific Virtual PA role.
Making sure there’s the right chemistry between you both is also key. A strong partnership will bring clear benefits including increased productivity, greater job satisfaction – and less stress!
Good luck with your search for a Virtual PA. If we can be of any assistance, please get in touch.