With the VA market growing and more businesses realising the potential benefits that come from using the services of a virtual assistant, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. In her guest blog, VIP VA graduate and member talks us through her experiences and top tips for applying for that sought-after freelance opportunity…
“You’ve seen a post online from someone reaching out for support from a VA and you’re desperate for the work. You quickly message the person to tell them you’re interested in the gig. But it’s so easy to get it wrong. Whether it’s for associate work with another VA or direct work with a client, here are my top tips on how to successfully apply for freelance work.
Spelling and Grammar
This is my biggest pet peeve when reviewing applications. Your application, message, email; whatever form of communication, it needs to come across as being professional and give confidence in your abilities.
At college my tutor always told me that my CV was an example of my capabilities. If I had typos, grammatical errors or inconsistencies, it would reflect badly on my attention to detail and communication skills. I still use this advice today whenever I’m contacting a potential client or applying for work. I always thoroughly read through to check for any spelling mistakes, that I’ve used the correct text case and that I am consistent with things like full stops.
I have very recently reviewed a batch of applications for an associate VA and there was one that stood out to me as I knew straight away that this applicant was lying about their knowledge.
Every time you sign up a new client, you are putting your reputation on the line. If you do a good job, not only will they want to continue working with you, but they will be happy to write you a testimonial and also recommend you to others. If you do a bad job, they will be quick to terminate the contract and it’s likely you will lose out on any recommendation from them in the future. Lying or stretching the truth on your capabilities won’t get you very far and there will always be someone there ready to call your bluff.
My advice, if you are asked to do something you have never done before, be honest with the client. If you are happy to learn it then tell them. Leave it down to them to decide whether they want to work with you and allow you to learn on the job or whether they are better suited to find someone already experienced in that area or system. In my experience, people want to work with me and are more than happy for me to get myself up to speed.
Scenarios and role-play questions
This is your opportunity to stand out and show how you would handle a situation. It’s an opportunity to show how you would proactively deal with a situation if it arose. Answering that you would refer back to the client/lead VA to discuss how to handle is not want they want to hear. Yes, they will still want to be involved in the various scenarios, but they also want you to demonstrate that you can handle anything thrown at you and take the lead in resolving any problems that arise.
Don’t be afraid to show your personality
In this type of industry, it is all about working with the right people. When you have a good mix, the working relationship between both parties will flourish so it’s important to show who you really are for the recruiting client/lead VA to see whether you would be a good fit to work with.
Let them know why you would be a good fit
Don’t just tell them that you’re interested and give them nothing more. It doesn’t matter whether it’s for another VA or a potential client, tell them why you would be a good fit, why they should choose you, what makes you special. Tell them about your background, what you can bring to their business, ultimately why should they be picking you over every other VA that’s put their name forward.
Don’t apply for anything and everything
It’s very easy, especially at the beginning of your journey, to just apply for anything and everything going. I did it myself. Back, in the beginning, I started providing support to a client making marketing calls. Firstly, I absolutely hate cold calling people but secondly, I started my business to work flexibly around my daughter. Having to make phone calls restricted me to what times of day I could and couldn’t work for this client. On the odd days where my daughter wouldn’t go down for her nap as planned or woke up too early, it would send me into a mad panic. This isn’t what I wanted when I started my business.
In the end, we all have tasks that we love and those that we hate or would rather not be doing. Read through the description carefully and before applying think realistically – is this really the right role for you? If not, then it may be best avoided. Good luck!”
Do you have your own tips for how to successfully apply for work?