Did you know that Jack Nilles, an engineer at NASA, pioneered the concept of working from home? Back in 1972, he used to work from home to save time and spare himself the inconvenience of travelling back and forth from work. In fact, he coined the word ‘telecommuting’ as he remotely worked on a NASA communication system.
If you spend a major chunk of your day commuting to and from work, you’ve had valuable time taken away from you. Time that you could have spent doing things you love, time that you could have spent with family. While Jack Nilles was an exception at the time, many professionals are working remotely today. Flexibility and higher productivity are only a couple of benefits of working remotely. With an increasing number of companies offering work-from-home options, it’s clear that the popularity of remote work is going to see an upward spiral. Interested in working remotely? Read on to find out how you can get a virtual job.
What is a Virtual Job?
Also known as remote, telecommute or at-home jobs, virtual jobs are done outside of a traditional office setting. Performed remotely, a virtual job will typically require you to have a laptop and a steady internet connection. You’ll find them with titles like virtual salesperson, virtual social media assistant, virtual teacher, etc. Read the job description carefully when you come across a virtual job to understand exactly what an employer is looking for. Virtual jobs can be either full-time, part-time or freelance opportunities, depending on the role. Again, the job description will have spelled this out clearly.
The Rise of Virtual Jobs
According to US Census data, 5.2% of workers worked from home in 2017 – some 8 million people. In India, too, working from home is picking up. As per a survey by Randstad in 2016, 53% of Indian workers prefer working from home. What is fueling the rise in virtual jobs?
Vastly improved internet connectivity, for one. Moreover, workers are now demanding flexible work environments and companies are also realizing that work-from-home options help them retain employees. Given that evidence suggests working virtually can improve productivity, it’s a win-win for both employers and employees.
A popular and sought after remote job is that of a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants typically offer support to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the form of answering phone calls, responding to emails, transcribing documents, organizing files, coordinating calendars, making travel arrangements, and other administrative tasks to help business owners focus on other important areas of a venture. As a virtual assistant, you can work remotely and choose from multiple profiles. All you need is a computer, internet connection, and a willingness to learn new things.
Who Can Become a Virtual Assistant?
Anybody eligible for employment can seek a remote or virtual assistant job. You will need to have basic skill sets like communication, multi-tasking, calendar management, etc. If you’re looking to take up a specific profile, you may also need to possess some industry-relevant skills.
Here are some popular virtual assistant profiles that companies routinely hire for.
Virtual receptionists handle responsibilities such as receiving text messages, handling phone calls, responding to clients, and other more complex tasks according to the employer’s needs. Virtual receptionists usually possess great soft skills, communication skills, can multi-task effectively, and maintain punctuality.
Virtual Personal Assistant
The typical tasks of a virtual personal assistant may include:
- Scheduling appointments
- Making reservations
- Tracking finances and managing to-do lists
- Organizing paperwork and important documents
- Paying monthly bills
- Planning events and parties
- Making travel arrangements
More than any other virtual or remote job, it is of paramount importance for a virtual personal assistant to be able to connect with their employer and fully understand their needs.
Real Estate Virtual Assistant
Real Estate Virtual Assistants are relatively niche and possess more industry-specific skillsets that help brokers sell more real estate. Typical responsibilities include researching a property’s deed and ownership, ability to proof-read documents and various paperwork, generating potential leads through social media, posting and designing ads, setting and managing appointments with buyers/sellers, responding to inquiries, and updating lists for a realtor.
Virtual Administrative Assistant
Virtual administrative assistants typically hold some experience as a full-time office assistant or secretary (although this is not a necessary criterion). Virtual administrative assistants usually possess basic skill sets such as word processing, creating spreadsheets, typing and sending out e-mails quickly.
Virtual Executive Assistant (EA)
Virtual EAs are responsible for the creation of reports, management of communications, maintaining notes of virtual meetings, and organization of travel logistics. The most well qualified Virtual EAs are also capable of organizing memos, reports, financial statements, among a variety of other documents. They also help coordinate the tasks and responsibilities of interns and other staff.
Virtual Medical Assistants
Similar to an on-site medical assistant, remote medical assistants perform administrative tasks specifically for healthcare professionals. In order to be a virtual medical assistant, one must be able to-
- Manage Electronic Medical Records
- Oversee medical billing and coding
- Verify and validate insurance records
- Schedule patient appointments
Virtual Social Media Assistant
Virtual social media assistants are well-versed with social media platforms, are able to use data analytics to target audiences, research trends and schedule content accordingly to improve social media following and brand value. Virtual social media assistants are among the most widely demanded today. Public figures, brands, companies and even government organizations widely recognize and use social media assistants to raise awareness and carry out their marketing activities.
Virtual Project Manager
Communication is key when it comes to project managers. Virtual project managers communicate effectively with individual team members and are able to establish a rapport and trust between them. They are responsible for tracking progress with tasks and are able to lead the team effectively and delineate responsibilities. Project managers are usually held accountable for meeting deadlines and are expected to manage timelines.
Virtual Sales Assistant
Companies expect sales assistants to help boost sales of the company either by tapping into new leads or by providing valuable market research and product research. If you can collect relevant data for products offered by a company and help sales teams make informed decisions, this profile is right for you.
Virtual Research Assistant
Attention to detail, ability to use the internet as a tool for research and data entry are viewed as valuable skill sets in a research assistant. Jobs in this field tend to be hard to find as a freelance worker, which is why it is imperative for someone seeking a remote job to find a suitable and reliable platform to find appropriate employers.
Virtual Travel Assistant
Small businesses and travel bloggers have at recent times been increasingly relying on travel assistants to get things done. Be it booking flights, exchanging currency or arranging travel insurance, a virtual travel assistant is expected to fulfill these responsibilities and ensure that those traveling do not face any difficulties with hotel bookings, or other itinerary issues. If you are good at ensuring a smooth trip, this profession may be a good idea. It’s important to note that most people hire travel assistants on an as per need basis which makes it all the more important to stay connected to a suitable platform to regularly find employers.
Virtual Email Assistant
Despite significant advances in communication technologies, emails remain the most popular mode of business communications. The average individual in the United States spends over 4 hours every day just going through their emails. An email assistant is expected to help sort through important business communications, and help prioritize between various emails. An email assistant’s primary objective is to help their employer save time sifting through various emails.
Virtual Customer Support Assistant
Top companies such as Convergys, American Express and WorkSol are all actively on the lookout for remote customer support assistants. This is another growing opportunity with a number of companies exploring the possibility of recruiting people to work from a remote location. Communication skills and possessing the ability to speak fluently in the required language are an absolute minimum for anyone looking to be a customer support assistant. Soft skills come in handy, with many instances often requiring patience when dealing with customers. Each company has its own set of quality guidelines that are expected to be followed by their customer support assistants.
Virtual Hiring Assistant
Virtual hiring assistants emulate the role typically performed by the human resource management of a company, in that of recruiting and selecting potential candidates suitable for roles that the company seeks to fill. A candidate who has successfully completed a course in human resource management may stand above other candidates as he or she may be familiar with the process of recruitment and selection. Hiring assistants are expected to understand the roles for which they are hiring. They must have an in-depth understanding of the requirements of the company and help fulfil those needs by hiring appropriate candidates to carry out the roles.
If you are currently a full-time employee, or someone with professional experience looking to resume their career, you have some really good reasons to look at the possibility of becoming a virtual assistant.
Save time on commuting
Anyone who has ever worked as a full-time employee and has had to commute for long hours knows the troubles that come with it. If you are tired of spending over half your day commuting, becoming a virtual assistant is a great option. It allows you to work from home, maintain a routine that is uninterrupted by erratic traffic, and spend more time with loved ones.
For parents, in particular, who must look after their kids apart from working, working as a virtual assistant is the way to work around a busy schedule. You can choose a job that also allows you to work on a flexible schedule or part-time basis according to your needs.
Good source of income
A remote job is a great option if you are a full-time mother looking to monetize time on your hands. The average employee working a remote or virtual assistant job is reported to earn between $15-$25 per hour on average. Of course, this is subject to vary across profiles. If you are a work-at-home partner and are looking for a way to contribute financially, this is the perfect opportunity.
Easy to get started
Although it is tricky finding the right employer, choosing a reputed virtual assistant platform such as Wishup can land you the right role. You can easily register on Wishup and connect to potential employers looking for virtual assistants. Once you’ve received your training, you can start working with clients directly!
Before you begin sorting through different profiles, start by creating a list of skills you already possess. Once you sort through the profiles, you’ll get an idea of the skillsets required for the profile. You can then look to bridge any gap in skillsets. It goes without saying - like any profession, your likelihood of getting and succeeding at a virtual or remote job will be significantly improved if you are able to put yourselves in the shoes of your employer and understand what they need.
How Can I Get a Virtual Assistant Job?
New remote and virtual assistant jobs are emerging on a regular basis. There are clearly several benefits on offer if you want to work from a remote location. As important as it is to maintain a LinkedIn profile to connect to potential employers, it is equally important if not more in today’s world to get yourself on a reliable and established platform such as Upwork, Wishup, Freelancer, TaskRabbit. Etc. to open yourself to the possibility of finding remote jobs.
As a freelancer
Upwork is the world’s largest marketplace for freelancers. Given the size of the platform, you are bound to have a lot of competitors in any given field. The speed with which you are able to reach out to a client after they put out a request is often imperative to beating competition. Another option you can explore as a freelancer is Craig’s List.
As an employee
Wishup hires virtual employees and trains them for different profiles. This is a great option for those looking for a steady source of income instead of relying on projects. You can also set up a website or a blog on platforms such as MySpace, WordPress or Blogger to list out the skillsets you have to offer to potential employers. There is evidence to suggest that this works extremely well especially with highly niche professions.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re looking for virtual assistant jobs.
Know Your Skills
Identify if you are great on the phone, good at editing videos or simply effective at communicating. Soft skills that hold you in good stead in a professional working environment remain the same for a remote job. The best virtual assistants are professional, manage time well, are adaptable and have a great work ethic.
Learn to Sell your Skills
It’s one thing honing your skills and a different ballgame selling them. It is not enough to know what you know, but you also need to know how to show it. You can best do this by understanding what companies are looking for and present them in the right fashion.
- Remember to list out the most important and relevant skills for the job first.
- Highlight your best works and projects on your resume. Employers want to know the opinions of those you may have previously worked with.
- Take a balanced approach when filling out your resume – don’t be overly generous when describing your own skills.
- Be professional, do not use text language or other slang whilst communicating.
Remember, the most niche industries require the most complex skills, but they also offer the highest pay. If you are a jack of all trades and master of none, you might want to look at ways you can change that, simply because it pays better. Look at the most relevant skills you have and work on perfecting the ones that you require most.
While the average income earned by virtual assistants is between $15-$25 an hour, there is nothing stopping you from going out and making ten times that amount.
Interested in working as a virtual assistant? Sign up at Wishup and meet your career goals while working from anywhere in the world!
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