Before I started my own business as a Virtual Assistant, I was an Executive Assistant for a book publisher in London supporting two board-level directors. One of my many responsibilities was to collate quarterly board reports from various sources and compile them into one master report. As it was to be viewed and discussed by the CEO, it needed to be formatted correctly and easy to read. For some reason, my eyes were immediately drawn towards any formatting errors; misalignment, lack of font consistency, bullet points, headers/footers. These needed fixing.
Being a Virtual Assistant, there are a number of services I offer; however, formatting documents is one of my favourites. There’s nothing I love more than being given a document and asked to ‘make it look pretty’.
I worked with a recruitment agency for almost 18 months and during this time, my main responsibility was to format CVs from candidates into the company template. As you can imagine, I saw many CVs in all shapes and sizes; different fonts, spaces instead of tabs, American English instead of UK English. Being tasked with ‘making them look pretty’, I was in my element. Your CV is the first thing the company will see about you, it needs to be formatted well.
One of my earliest tasks was to format a company handbook. It was a large document with 192 pages (it was over 200 pages when I received it) and needed the full works; logo, table of contents, style formatting, page breaks, hyperlinks, organisational structure, headers, sub headers, consistent numbering, you name it, it was needed. It was the largest document I had ever worked on and I loved every minute of it.
Recently, a client asked me to work on a document she had collated. Her client had tasked her to look into options for accommodation, schools and locations abroad. It looked like her client was planning to move abroad but she wasn’t in a position to where she would send it to her client, she asked me to give it a ‘professional look’. Challenge accepted.
I inserted a cover page, table of contents, page numbers, styles and made sure the images matched up to the text along with headers and footers. The document had various fonts so I made sure they were uniformed too.
The document I sent back was a completely different document to the one that came to me.
A recently qualified business coach, who I’ve known for a while, asked me if I would format her worksheets for her coaching business. She told me her worksheets were ‘all over the place’ and could I ‘Raakhee them’, I’d never heard anyone say that before and I liked it. The worksheets were in PDF format and wanted the revised worksheets in Word. She sent over her worksheets via Dropbox. I was familiar with her branding but I wanted to ensure I used the correct colours, once I got these, full steam ahead!
As each section in her course covered different aspects of her coaching, this was reflected in the worksheets. There needed to be ample space for her client to write in each section together with checklists and lists.
I created a cover sheet for each one, keeping in-line with her branding, and inserted uniformed tables, checklists, page breaks together with header and footers.
I did the first one and sent it over to to see if she was happy with it. She had no complaints nor did she want to change anything. I formatted the remaining 11 worksheets and sent them back to her.
The result was a very happy client.
All documents I have formatted are in Microsoft Word as I’ve found this is the best program. I really enjoy making things consistent and aligned correctly, I don’t know why my eyes are drawn to formatting errors but I use this to my advantage.
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