Virtual Assistant Contractor Training.

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Virtual Assistant Contractor Training

Virtual assistant training enhances skills and knowledge.

Virtual assistant training enhances skills and knowledge.

Businessman and female assistant working on laptop image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.Com

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Virtual assistants are typically administrative support personnel who contract their services to companies. Using the Internet, these administrative assistants typically working from their homes, working virtually from anywhere in the world. Law firms, real estate agents and small businesses dealing with work overflow but needing to keep overhead low frequently contract for virtual assistants to provide secretarial or bookkeeping services. Training involves providing guidance on general skills as well as specific industry applications. Some programs include certification tests in fields such as Internet marketing and event management.


Virtual assistant training typically covers how to receive assignments (usually through email, phone or instant messaging) and develop skills in word processing, scheduling and telephone support. Specialized topics include legal research, accounting, technical writing and other services. Training sometimes features video-based lectures and software tool demonstrations. Resource guides and templates are often provided as well.


Virtual assistant contractor training prepares virtual assistants to use their skills to support businesses that can't afford full-time staff members. Using their knowledge of the Internet and computer software (basic word processing and spreadsheets, usually), virtual assistants learn to support clients they may never meet in person. Training may include self-assessments which help students learn if they like to work with people, can adapt to rapid change and solve problems independently. Training prepares students to set goals and get motivated to succeed as virtual assistants.


Virtual assistant training covers core skills as well as how to contract for work, including responding to requests for proposals submitted at websites such as the International Virtual Assistants Association's Request for Proposal website. Topics typically also include developing marketing plans (including creating a website to advertise services) and establishing how to get paid.


The International Virtual Assistants Association works to develop and maintain professional standards, providing access to discussion forums, mentoring and certification to supplement training, including an annual summit consisting of a series of webinar events. The VA Directory, also known as "A Clayton's Secretary," provides support and referral services to virtual assistants. Other websites provide job listings and connect virtual assistants to business opportunities and other contacts.

Expert Insight

Typical virtual assistant contractor jobs include creating PowerPoint presentations for conference speakers, designing brochures and mailing out electronic newsletters. Expertise in applications such as Microsoft Office's Word, PowerPoint and Excel can be obtained free from the Microsoft Office website.

References (2)
  • "Virtual Assistant, The Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA"; Diana Ennen and Kelly Poelker; 2004
  • "The 2-Second Commute: Join the Exploding Ranks of Freelance Virtual Assistants";Christine Durst and Michael Haaren; 2005
  • About the Author

    Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.

    Photo Credits
  • Businessman and female assistant working on laptop image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.Com

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