APVA Member Louise Crockett shares her top tips for applying for associate roles based on her own experience of taking on an associate in her business.
The one thing I keep reading on VA groups at the moment are people feeling disheartened that they’re not getting anywhere when applying for associate positions. I completely understand how you can feel demoralized. There is so much competition for these positions at the moment. In fact, I advertised for an associate position in November and had 4 or 5 responses. Things didn’t work out and I had to advertise exactly the same post again in January and had nearly 40 applications!
I was so overwhelmed with the whole process. I really wanted to spend as much time as I could on reading each application that came through but I didn’t have that luxury. I’m sorry if you were one of the people that applied and received a generic response from me saying “thank you but the position has now been filled”. I’d love to reply to each person and give a detailed explanation as to why you weren’t chosen but I haven’t got that time..
So instead I thought I’d write my thoughts into a blog with some examples of what to do and what not to do!
1. Check your spelling and grammar
I nearly spat my tea out when reading an email from someone asking to ‘support a couch’ (not a coach). Remember first impressions count and you need to present yourself as a kick-ass VA and caring enough to double check what you’ve written!
2. Write a killer first line but make sure it’s genuine
An example of one that sat well with me recently was “I saw your post on xxx and I felt compelled to email you as I think I’d be perfect for the role”. Sounds cheesy now I write it on here but there’s something to be said about oozing confidence and saying that you are not only a good VA/OBM but the perfect one for this specific role. Make the reader take note of you – show you have the X factor (cheesy again but you get my point!).
3. Exude confidence but don’t be so cocky that you think a one-liner will do
I had one email to my very detailed brief saying “I can do everything you’ve asked for” with no more explanation. I’m yet to meet a VA that can tick everything off one of my briefs (especially as this brief had very niche software). If you do happen to be an advanced user of all the software in the brief and have all the experience requested, make sure you explain that in full.
4. Be yourself – don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd
I know there are templates out there which dictate how to reply to an associate role. I have nothing against these templates but imagine if you’re the person reading several emails from VAs and they all have the same subject heading “I’m here to help, let’s talk” – somewhat off putting!
5. Apply for the position however the client/VA has asked
Most people won’t entertain applications via other means, other than what they have asked for. There is an excellent reason for this – they could very well be flooded with responses and if they need you to fill in a Google Form to make the whole process easier for them, then that is what they need. There is one exception to this. If you can’t process a Google Form or struggle with a certain form of communication because you have ADHD, are dyslexic or any other reason – please open your communication explaining that. This will ensure you are accommodated and a reasonable adjustment is made for your needs.
6. Get across how interesting you are/Sell yourself without selling yourself
I know it’s hard and no one hates selling themselves more than me…but…you need to get your personality across and the lead VA/client needs to get an insight into how bloody funny/caring/amazing you are. If you hit it off with them, you’re in. Sometimes it can be as simple as that. You don’t need to tell someone about how you climbed Kilimanjaro or how you like to go cold water swimming but if you click with that person – there’s a good job you’ll get another call.
7. I’ll say it again, have the X Factor – do something different
It might be that you take the opportunity to give the VA/client a call a couple of days after you’ve emailed. Or you might decide to send them a video explaining who you are. Do something that’ll make them remember you.
I know that applying again and again and again can be seriously frustrating and can kill your confidence. You can do this, believe in yourself and make sure you’re putting your best self forward.
I hope you found this article helpful, I’ve put together this handy checklist for how to succeed in applying for posts. Best of luck!
Louise is a Virtual Assistant based in Winchester, Hampshire. She helps entrepreneurs and small businesses with all the tasks sitting at the bottom of their to-do lists that they’ve been putting off – either they don’t enjoy doing it (general admin!) or they simply don’t have the relevant skills (G Suite, Canva, CRMs etc.).