Competition for virtual assistant jobs is fierce. And I mean FIERCE! Virtual assistants and online business managers are hungry for business and are in constant marketing mode. You never know when a client will go AWOL or decide to downsize because business is slow. Facebook groups are busy with business owners keeping their eagle eyes open for the perfect client.
Okay, so you’re in one of your favorite Facebook groups and BOOM! You come across what sounds like absolute perfection in the client world. You’ve got the skills the job is asking for and in the back of your mind you’re telling yourself, “I’ve got this!” You sit down and craft a bomb proposal if you do say so yourself. You hit SEND and sit back, waiting on that return email asking for an interview. Then…
Crickets. Nothing. Nada.
Days go by. Weeks. It becomes obvious that the email asking for an interview is not coming. You ask yourself, “What went wrong? I thought I had this one!”
Well, sometimes the reason you don’t get that email is simply because the business owner found someone who fits the bill just a bit more than you. It’s nothing personal. It’s business. So, dry your eyes and gear up for the next one, ok?
But if you find this scenario happening a bit more than you’d like, it might be time to take a look at what you’re sending. Maybe your proposal could use a little polishing, a bit of sprucing up. Maybe it needs a total revamp. Well, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work, shall we?
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why your proposal may be getting ignored and figure out how to fix it.
Bad grammar/misspelled words
Okay, I don't even know why I have to say this but it needs to be said. Please, please, please proofread your proposal before hitting SEND. You're a virtual assistant, an online business manager, for goodness sakes! You want to become a team member that prides yourself on perfection. If your proposal has misspelled words and poor grammar, guess what? A business owner is certainly not going to trust you with any type of communication on their behalf. There are lots of tools to avoid this type of error. I use Grammarly. I compare Grammarly to having your high school English teacher over your shoulder, correcting your mistakes. This little nifty tool catches spelling errors and, as the name suggests, grammatical errors. Use spell check, use something. Just don’t rely on your abilities. We all make mistakes so use a tool to be your grammar buddy backup. Your proposal needs to be perfect. You’ve only got one shot at this.
That leads me to the next point.
Not following directions.
When a business owner posts a job, I can bet that they are going to receive a slew of proposals. There has to be a way to whittle down the applicants to the candidates they want to interview. Some ask potential team members to type something in the email subject line, like, “I really, really want this job!” Anyone who doesn’t type this in the subject line won’t get an interview. Why? Because you didn’t follow directions. Whether you rushed to be first and fired off your proposal without completely reading the directions (I can speak on this because I’ve done it!) or you said, “Really? It can’t be that important for me to do that. I’ll put what I always put in the subject line. What can it hurt?”, guess what?
Yep. You guessed it. No interview.
Listen - you are a virtual worker. The business owner you are pitching your glorious skills to don’t know you from a hole in the ground. There has to be trust established. Not following directions means you either don’t care about details or you want to do your own thing. Both reasons are enough to get you totally ignored.
Let’s piggyback off of that to another big no-no:
Not customizing your proposal.
If a business owner takes the time to spell out exactly what they’re looking for in a virtual assistant, you really need to take the time to customize your proposal. I’m not saying don’t make use of a template. As a matter of fact, I recommend you use one. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t be sending out the same proposal over and over again. Does the business owner need someone with Canva skills? Cool! Make sure to spell out what you’ve done in Canva, how your mad Canva skills will help XYZ business and go so far as to share a sample. We’ll get into samples in a bit. Bullet point your skills, again showing how you can truly add value. Add a first name to your proposal: “Dear, Emily” sounds a lot better than “Dear Sir or Madam,” don’t you think?
Getting too personal
Folks, a business owner doesn’t want to know that you really need this job because you’ve got a family emergency or your spouse left you. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that the proposal is not about what the business owner can do for you. It’s what you can do for the business owner. So, forget about yourself for a minute, forget about the things you might be going through that make this job super important to you. A proposal is not a time for a sob story. It’s the time to put your best foot forward and showcase what really matters - your bomb diggity skills!
And speaking of those awesome skills:
Include a sample or portfolio.
One of my grandmother’s favorite phrases was, “I can show you better than I can tell you.” Did she have a crystal ball to see into the future? In the virtual world, you have to be able to show folks what you can do. Lip service isn’t going to cut it. Include a link to your website portfolio. No website? That’s okay. Link to a profile. For example, if you write social media content for a client, link (with permission) to the social media page. If you create pins to be used on Pinterest, create a Portfolio board and link to that. Don’t have any samples? Make some! Write some creative tweets and save in an Excel spreadsheet to show off your content curation skills. Create sample logos, ebook covers, you get the point. If you have samples from actual work, make sure the client is okay with your using it. Most clients don’t have an issue with that. Or even consider bartering services with someone and then use the completed work as a sample. The point is, there’s no excuse to not have samples. Folks want and need to see what you can do so show them.
Well, that’s it! I’ve included a sample email proposal below. Feel free to use it. Make sure to personalize for your needs and good luck!
Sample Email Proposal:
This email is in response to your opportunity posted in the XYZ community.
My name is Regina, the creative behind Live and Work by Faith. Thank you for taking the time to consider my proposal for your virtual assistant position. It's always exciting to expand a business and I'd love to be a part of your team.
I’ve carefully reviewed your needs and I have outlined below how my skills can benefit [insert business name]:
- Address each skill posted in the job description. Make sure you have all the required skills and outline how your skills can help. For example, “My experience creating unique social media content has resulted in a 40% increase in email subscribers, as well as increased engagement.”
My portfolio can be found here: https://www.pinterest.com/liveworkbyfaith/portfolio/ and I’ve added a spreadsheet with sample tweets based on your business.
Thank you and I wish you all the best in finding the right candidate. Please let me know if you have additional questions.
So, there you have it. Now start applying with confidence. I know you can do it! Let me know if this was helpful to you.