The Skills Needed to Become a Virtual Assistant

This post outlines the skills a Virtual Assistant requires.

Good Knowledge of Microsoft Word

It is essential that you have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Word if you are offering typing and formatting services. It is possible to work remotely with clients. I have worked with students down in London formatting their dissertations remotely. The difficulty with working with students is that it is sometimes last minute and done under pressure. I have also typed up books for clients who have sent me their manuscripts through the post.

Competent with technology

This really is an obvious one because as you are a Virtual Assistant you will need to be competent with email and receiving/sending large documents using software such as DropBox. Some other skills that come in handy but are not essential are photo editing skills (resizing, cropping) and video editing skills. The more skills you have the more specialised services you can offer.

You can learn a lot from other VAs. VA Networking is a forum specifically for VAs. You can find other VAs that live near you or can offer you advice. It is definitely worth joining and there is a free membership. If you experience software problems the VAs are always willing to help out if they can.

Obviously, the more skills you have the more work a client will be able to give you.

Admin/Secretarial Experience

It is recommended that you should have at least 5 years admin or secretarial experience so you can offer a great service to your clients. Your specialism may be in another area but a good solid experience would be advisable.

Good Communication


As a lot of communication with clients will be via email it is important that the messages aren’t confusing and you both understand what is required of you.

You will also need to attend networking events in order to build up relationships and being able to communicate effectively will help you to obtain more work. It is also possible to effectively network online.

Basic bookkeeping skills

You will need to keep a record of your income and expenditure. It is fairly straightforward and can be done with an Excel spreadsheet. As your business grows you may need to consider an account software package especially if you work with other Vas. Alternatively you could use an Accountant.



Don’t take on too much work. When you commit to a project make sure it is completed within the agreed deadline. Being unreliable will result in getting a bad reputation. People will therefore not recommend you to others.