Virtual Assistant Skills: Definition, Examples and Tips

Updated March 27, 2023

Side view of a person typing on their laptop.

Virtual assistants are employees who help clients with clerical work, administrative tasks and website development projects. They typically work remotely from home and specialize in specific skill sets, like blog writing and organizing travel arrangements. If you're interested in working as a virtual assistant, you may benefit from learning about what skills clients value the most. 

In this article, we describe what virtual assistant skills are including a list of 16 virtual assistant skills and how to improve your own skill set, how to use it in your work and how to highlight your skills during your job search.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What are virtual assistant skills?

Virtual assistant skills are skills you commonly use while helping clients with administrative tasks. For example, some clients might need a virtual assistant to organize their emails every day, answer their phone calls and create newsletters. Some virtual assistants find loyal customers by marketing their specialized skill sets and becoming experts at single tasks like website design, social media management or assisting with public relations projects. If you choose to work remotely, you often use power skills like self-discipline and time management to search for potential clients and finish your tasks before deadlines arrive.

Related: 10 Ways To Find Virtual Assistant Jobs

16 examples of virtual assistant skills

Here's a list of 16 skills that virtual assistants use in their work:

1. Writing

You might be able to market yourself to clients by promoting your ability to write easy-to-read emails, social media posts and promotional material. Here are some examples of subjects you can research to strengthen your writing and make it more appealing to clients:

  • Speed

  • Accuracy

  • Grammar

  • Sentence structure

  • Formatting

  • Tone

  • Readability

  • Creativity

  • Associated Press Style

  • Technical writing

  • Calls to action

  • Humor

  • Uniqueness

Related: 35 Virtual Assistant Companies and the Services They Provide

2. Communication

Virtual assistants spend a lot of time listening to client requests, persuading new clients to hire them and updating clients about project changes. Consider researching some of these subjects if you want to communicate with your clients more effectively:

  • Active listening

  • Conflict management

  • Collaboration

  • Clarity of speech

  • Being concise

  • Verbal communication

  • Written communication

Related: 38 Virtual Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

3. Technical prowess

Some virtual assistants specialize in technical tasks, like analyzing data to help clients develop their businesses. Here are some examples of subjects you can learn about to strengthen your technical expertise:

  • Cloud storage programs

  • Social media management

  • Website maintenance

  • Adobe Creative Suite

  • Canva

  • Microsoft Office

Related: 20 High-Paying Virtual Assistant Jobs for Beginners

4. Critical thinking

To resolve some situations, virtual assistants think critically and consider all of their options before taking an action. While performing tasks that require critical thinking, you might use some of the following skills:

  • Analytical thinking

  • Problem solving

  • Open-mindedness

Related: 12 Companies Hiring for Virtual Assistant Positions

5. Accounting

Many virtual assistants help their clients with basic accounting tasks. If you want to improve at accounting and budgeting duties, you might read about some of the following subjects:

  • Budgeting

  • Financial statements

  • Accounting software

Related: How To Write an Executive Virtual Assistant Resume

6. Time management

To complete tasks before deadlines, virtual assistants practice effective time management while working. Here are some examples of subjects you can study to improve your time management habits:

  • Long- and short-term goals

  • Task prioritization

  • Outsourcing tasks

  • The Eisenhower Matrix

Related: 14 Virtual Assistant Jobs (With Salaries)

7. Organization

Since they manage numerous records and service multiple clients at a time, virtual assistants often use organizational techniques to stay efficient. Here are some subjects to consider while learning how to organize your projects:

  • Resource management

  • Record keeping

  • Appointment scheduling

Related: How To Become a Virtual Assistant (With Little to No Experience)

8. Customer service

Whether resolving a customer complaint through email or calling a client to follow up after completing a project, virtual assistants often prioritize quality customer service. Here are some examples of customer service skills you might use during your work:

  • Persuasive speaking

  • Emotional intelligence

  • Product and service knowledge

  • Conflict resolution

  • Flexible communication styles

Related: What To Expect From a Virtual Assistant

9. Marketing

To promote themselves and their work, virtual assistants create physical ads and market themselves online. You might consider the following elements of marketing while promoting your work:

  • Search engine optimization

  • Email promotion

  • Public speaking

  • Copywriting

Related: Virtual Assistant Resume Template and Example (With Tips)

10. Sales

Since virtual assistants often pitch their services to potential clients, you might benefit from learning some sales techniques. You can use some of the following sales skills to convert potential customers into loyal clients:

  • Relationship building

  • Giving presentations

  • Negotiation

  • Overcoming objections

Related: 114 Tasks Virtual Assistants Can Handle for a Company

11. Self-education

Since virtual assistants often work independently, they're responsible for creating opportunities to teach themselves new skills. Here are some practices you can adopt, which might help you consistently improve at your administrative duties:

  • Teaching yourself according to your learning style

  • Setting a learning schedule

  • Using your available resources

12. Adaptability

When plans change, virtual assistants require quick thinking to resolve the situation and create an outcome that satisfies all parties. You might learn some of the following skills if you want to adapt more quickly after sudden changes occur:

  • Accepting and learning from criticism

  • Turning surprises into opportunities for innovation

  • Staying resilient after sudden changes

13. Project planning

Virtual assistants often work on multiple projects at once, and they create plans for each. You can pursue certifications in this area such as the Professional Project Manager (PMP) certification. Here are some subjects you can study to improve your project-planning skills:

  • Leadership

  • Risk management

  • Reviews and evaluations

  • Agile methodologies

  • Iterative project management

14. Content creation

Depending on the types of clients you service, you might create content that's shareable and useful to the people who read it. Here are some skills to consider if you want to make your content more appealing to viewers:

  • Metrics analysis

  • Post scheduling

  • Brand analysis

15. Business development

Many virtual assistants work independently as small business owners. Studying the following subjects might improve your strategies as an entrepreneur and expand your client list more quickly:

  • Return on investment

  • Business intelligence

  • Data analysis

  • Prospecting

  • Networking

  • Data entry

16. Reliability

Clients often prefer virtual assistants who answer messages promptly and consistently finish projects before deadlines. The following habits are helpful if you want to develop a positive reputation with your target audience:

  • Prioritizing commitments

  • Meeting deadlines

  • Providing updates

Tips to improve virtual assistant skills

Consider taking the following steps if you want to improve your skills as a virtual assistant:

  • Invest in a career counselor. Consider investing time and money in a career counselor. You may find career opportunities that match your skill set and help you understand how to improve your most important skills.

  • Find a mentor. You may research coaching and mentor programs online or in your area. The right mentor may help you evaluate business plans and suggest helpful changes.

  • Enroll in a virtual assistant certification program. There are classes you can take and certifications you can obtain that might teach you the fundamental aspects of being a virtual assistant. Consider researching the virtual assistant training opportunities that are available online.

Virtual assistant skills in the workplace

Here are some examples of how you might use your virtual assistant skills in your work:

  • Create shareable content. One of your clients might want you to create infographics to put in their social media posts. You can use your design skills to create infographics, or you might outsource the work to a visual artist.

  • Adapt to changing situations. Travel arrangements can change suddenly, and you might find a new plane or cab for one of your clients. This involves communicating with travel agency staff and updating your clients about changes.

  • Perform website maintenance. Some clients want you to maintain their websites, track analytics and schedule blog posts. They might also want you to perform more technical tasks, like moving their website to a new domain.


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