virtual assistant job description.

The virtual assistant job description describes a virtual office assistant as an independent contractor who provides administrative support to individuals, consultants, entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses via the internet. Being a virtual office assistant not only requires specific technical skills but also the ability to create, manage and market a virtual office.

While virtual office assistants do not have their own particular category or job description in the Bureau of Labor Occupation Outlook Handbook, they are mentioned under the category of “Office and Administrative Support” which is expected to grow 12% between 2012 and 2022. Due to the projected growth of this industry and the general trend towards hiring virtual assistants in the 21st Century, more and more schools and colleges are offering technical certificates or degrees as a virtual assistant or virtual office professional.

Typical coursework includes naming, organizing and managing the virtual office, financial planning, time management, evaluating, buying and using technology, domain registration and web page design, marketing and promoting the virtual office and how to find clients.

While many virtual assistants specialize in a particular niche, most virutal office assistant certificate programs cover the full range of skills required to run a virtual office. The goal of these programs is to prepare students to work independently or on a contract basis in a variety of industries. These skills typically include:

  • Intro to Computer Concepts and Computer Applications
  • Basic Accounting
  • Quickbooks
  • Small Business Management
  • Business Communications
  • Creating a Business Plan
  • Marketing a Virtual Office
  • Effective Time Management
  • Creating a Virtual Office
  • Office Procedures
  • Advanced Microsoft Word
  • Advanced Spreadsheets
  • Advanced Presentation Design
  • Database Management
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Web Page Design

Virtual Assistant Job Titles

There are many career opportunities for individuals who focus on specializing in the Virtual Office Assistant major including the virtual administrative assistant, virtual office assistant, virtual receptionist, virtual executive secretary, virtual secretary, virtual office manager, virtual office supervisor, virtual marketing assistant and virtual web site support technician.

Virtual Assistant Services

Many virtual assistants establish long-term business relationships with clients and provide ongoing services in many different areas. Their work can involve a broad range of skills and services ranging from general office administration to support for social media, internet marketing, website services and blog installation and set-up. Virtual assistants also serve across a broad range of industries such as real estate, travel, manufacturing, education, healthcare, legal and medical offices and government. Some of these services include:

  • ​Placing calls, returning voicemails and appointment confirmation
  • Contacting staff, customers and/or clients
  • Establishing contact/distribution lists
  • Maintaining executive’s appointment schedule and calendar by planning and scheduling meetings, conferences, teleconferences and making travel arrangements
  • Answering emails, answering phones and organizing paperwork
  • Arranging conference calls, webinars and web calls
  • Conserving executive’s time by reading, researching, and routing correspondence, drafting letters and documents and collecting and analyzing information.
  • Producing information by transcribing, formatting, inputting, editing, retrieving, copying, and transmitting text, data, and graphics
  • Utilizing filing and retrieval systems such as Evernote and DropBox and recording meeting discussions
  • Updating social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and company blogs.
  • Performing project related tasks such as creating reports and managing financial data
  • Performing Data entry and running reports using database management software

Virtual Assistant Specific Skills and Knowledge

  • Good project and time management skills
  • Knowledge of online file sharing and storage devices such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive
  • Basic knowledge of Bookkeeping/Accounting
  • Good business communication skills for dealing with clients
  • Office procedures for organizing your clients forms, policies and procedures
  • Knowledge of social networking and marketing
  • Knowledge of how to create an effective web presence
  • Have a desire to serve and looking for ways to help people
  • Be self-motivated
  • Ability to identify and solve problems before they reach critical stages
  • Ability to manage confidential information
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines
  • Technology savvy (Skype, Dropbox, Microsoft Office Suite, etc.)
  • Fast learner (Organization-specific software applications and/or tools)
  • Be resourceful and willing to learn new skills
  • Able to work independently and to anticipate what’s needed and react accordingly
  • Event planning and coordination skills
  • Project Assistance/Coordination
  • Writing and proofreading – excellent punctuation and grammar required
  • Communications – great phone skills, positive attitude
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and trust
  • Proper use of etiquette in the virtual environment
  • Copywriting and Editing Assistance

Tools and Technology

  • In-home office setup including:
  • Office Furniture
  • Mac or PC Computer
  • Microsoft Office Software and/or free open source office suites such as LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice
  • Wireless or High Speed internet access
  • Color Printer/Copier/Fax/Scanner
  • Smartphone with email capabilities
  • Designated professional, quiet space 
  • Accounting Software
  • Basic office supplies