Flexibility is key to being a good Virtual Assistant #consideryourclientsneeds

One of the most important aspects of being a Virtual Assistant is flexibility. And…. keeping an open mind regarding what your client wants.  As a Virtual Assistant Services company, we regularly carry out marketing, market research, administration services, etc however, I was recently approached by a client who wanted me to carry out all of these services but for an entirely different reason than to grow his business. It made me look at the services I provided and could see that these could be adapted and applied to his situation!

My client, having looked at the services I provide asked me to provide a job search service!. Yes, that’s right, a job search service.  Working in a job role which entailed long hours and shift work in a position he no longer enjoyed, was not conducive to job hunting.  He needed someone to research the job market for jobs he was potentially interested in, he also needed someone to apply for these jobs on his behalf and from a dedicated email address. Having worked in recruitment for many years, I was happy to transfer my skills as a VA to providing a personal Job Search service for him, once I had broken down the service offerings I provide I confirmed I could help him

Get to know your client .. As with all my contracts, the first stage was to get to know my client. I needed to understand what he wanted from a job, hours, pay, benefits and more importantly, what he did not want to consider. Areas he wanted to work and those he was not prepared to travel to. I got to know about his hobbies, his likes and dislikes and anything that would help me in my job search for him. When undertaking any contract it is important to understand your clients’ business, this was no different!

Administration  – As a VA, I provide admin support, I proof read, I assist with upload of blogs and all the general VA services, so, the first thing I was able to do for my client was review and revise his CV. An up to date well written and well formatted CV is critical in any job hunt. If your CV is too long, prospective employers will get bored and move on the next applicant, too short, your prospective employer will feel you have nothing to offer, so, to ensure my client had the best possible chance with employers, I revised his CV, updated his personal profile, and bulleted his skill set to reflect the type of job he was searching for.  All of this required standard admin skills used by any VA and with my added advantage of having owned my own recruitment consultancy, I was able to do this easily and effectively.

There are hundreds of Job sites available online and the next stage was to register my client on all of the reputable job sites. In order to do this, I set up a specific email address for my client, which was used for his job searches only, and used as the contact email address for all the job site registrations. I gave him users names and passwords so he had access to all of what was being done for him so he could monitor if necessary. Once the registrations were set up, job search began. It is important to understand that job hunting whilst holding down a full time job is not always easy, and simply registering with an agency doesn’t always yield the results you want. A Virtual Assistant on the other hand will work around you, around your hours and often outside of normal working hours!

Alerts Much like a VA would set up Google Alerts for a client, job alerts as part of Marketing services,  were set up to notify of the positions available in the selected job areas and locations. And, on a twice daily basis, these were checked, jobs applied . It was important to my client that a clear and concise email account was kept so, folders were set up to ensure good housekeeping of the email account was maintained.

Follow ups Often where job sites are concerned, the email is passed on from the job site to an agency who are working on behalf of a client, wherever possible it is always important to follow up with the agency or client.  I found that more success was had when I applied through a job site but was given an agency email address, I then emailed the agency confirming I had applied via the job site. It was important to me to cover all bases for my client. A follow up to the agency a week later is always a good idea, it allows the agency or prospective employer to see you are interested and conscientious, and often gives you a competitive edge!   It is important to know at this stage, that all emails and job applications were applied for by my company but using my clients name and dedicated email address, however, stipulated in my Terms & Conditions was the fact that no telephone contact would be made by my company and any telephone contact must come directly from my client. This proved very successful when three phone calls to my client offering job interviews came in over a 48-hour period!

Rejections – When a rejection came through on email, it was important for me to understand what the reason for that was, so it was always followed up with a simple email Thank you for letting me know, would you be kind enough to give me some feedback on why the application was unsuccessful please”. This enabled me to feedback to my client, perhaps revise the CV, maybe expand on other skill sets which were not prominent enough in the covering letter, simply, anything which could help future job searches. I advised my client not to look up job rejections as a negative. They are like choosing a pair of shoes, you see a pair of shoes you like but they are not in your size, so find a pair similar that are!!

Throughout the entire process of the job hunt, I have simply used all the skills and provided all the same level services I do for business clients, however, this time it was for a private client, and equally as rewarding.  So, if you are approached to provide a service to a client, and it is a service you have never provided before, look at the services you provide and adapt them to the situation.

As a little anecdote, many years ago when I decided to return to work after having a family, I was unsure where my skill set lay. Prior to having a family I worked as a PA, no computers, electric typewriters and Tipp-ex … When I applied for a position at a local IT company I said to the general manager a female, “I know what I was capable of 8 years ago but things have moved on” her reply…. “you, are a single parent, you own your own home… let’s look at this… you can prioritise, you can budget, you can man manage, you can handle cashflow, you can organise, you can work under pressure and to deadlines…. Take that out of the home, into an office environment, you are perfect for the job”  her words never left me.

If you want to know more about the services we can provide for you visit our web site www.beedvirtual.co.uk


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