Tips and tricks to getting a job as a Receptionist
A receptionist helps perform a variety of administrative tasks such as answering phones, scheduling, and providing service to customers.
In many cases, the receptionist is the first person an employee or customer sees or speaks to when calling or visiting the company’s location. In addition to day-to-day admin activities, a receptionist must have the skills and qualities to be a first impression for the organization.
Being a receptionist takes professionalism and skill to ensure each interaction with visitors, customers and employees is a positive one. They often play a role in security of a building or location, must manage communications effectively, and be efficient in their work. Here’s information about what a receptionist does, how to become one, qualities and skills you’ll need, and other information about the job in general.
A receptionist’s specific responsibilities can depend on where they work and the specific organization they work for. For example, a receptionist working for a doctor’s office or hospital may have quite different responsibilities than those who work in a company’s corporate headquarters, which are different from those who work at a factory or government office.
However, in general, receptionists work to take care of the employees and customers they interact with to help gather and provide information, answer questions, organize files and documentation, and help the organization operate effectively.
Forward and screen calls.
Take and distribute messages.
Greet customers and visitors, provide information or answer questions.
Monitor visitor access.
Gather or send information or documents via fax, mail or computer.
Manage a customer database.
Schedule meetings and travel.
Keep appointment calendars.
Copy, file and organize documents and records.
Collect, sort, distribute and prepare mail and deliveries.
Process and prepare documents.
Other office tasks.
There are primarily two steps to take to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful receptionist:
Education. For an entry-level receptionist position, you’ll likely need a high school diploma or GED. However, some positions require an associate or bachelor’s degree (at minimum) to ensure you have the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective in the role.
If you don’t have a degree, there are also opportunities to earn certificates at local community colleges or vocational schools, such as accounting, customer service, office management, and office software training. There are also certifications, training, and webinars you can access online for free.
Experience. Much of the training you’ll need to have a successful career as a receptionist is learned on the job. This includes onboarding to your specific employer’s policies, procedures, and processes, documents, and software.
You may want to volunteer or intern in an office to learn about office etiquette, grow communication
There are several qualities and skills a good receptionist will have to be successful including:
Computer skills. Knowing how to operate a computer, fax machine, copier, printer, and other related technology will help ensure you can complete many of your day-to-day tasks. You should also be familiar with some of the standard software or programs you’ll use, such as email and scheduling programs, social media platforms, and other industry-specific software.
Phone skills. It may be helpful for you to be familiar with or have experience in phone switchboards, accepting calls, transferring callers, placing callers on hold, etc. Phone etiquette is key in ensuring positive interactions with callers.
Customer service. As the first person many callers or visitors speak with, you should have exceptional customer service skills. Be able to listen to the needs of the client and know how to best answer questions, direct, or assist them.
Professionalism is also a part of customer service skills that helps ensure everyone who interacts with you has a positive interaction. You should not only act and complete your tasks professionally but also look professional and polished and have a professional attitude.
Communication. Written and verbal communication skills are critical for success as a receptionist. You should be able to listen well and communicate effectively, either in person, over the phone, or through email or other technology. You should be able to speak clearly and effectively, communicate issues or resolutions, take and relay messages, and more.
Additionally, you may be asked to write emails, take meeting notes, facilitate communication between colleagues, create presentations, and complete other tasks that require strong communication skills.
Attention to detail. Because you’ll be working with a variety of people and handling multiple projects and tasks at once, having strong attention to detail can prevent mistakes from being made and help ensure you’re able to have a productive day.
You also will be dealing with a variety of technologies, files, processes, and procedures, so strong attention to detail will allow you to work and operate effectively.
Organization. Completing tasks, directing callers and visitors appropriately, and maintaining schedules, directories, and other files all take excellent organizational skills. You’re responsible for many aspects of a business, so exceptional organizational skills are key.
Multitasking. Juggling the many responsibilities of a receptionist, often at the same time, requires strong multitasking and time management skills. For example, you may be taking calls, screening calls, transferring callers, and greeting customers in a reception area at the same time. The more you can multitask and prioritize your work, the more successful you may be. Being organized and detail-oriented will also help with this.
Most receptionists work regular business hours, typically between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
However, depending on your particular workplace, you may be asked to work earlier, later, or even overnight. For example, you may have odd hours if you work for a hospital or factory facility.
Career advancement for receptionists
If desired, receptionists can advance to other career opportunities within the administration, such as secretaries and administrative assistants. While a receptionist serves more as the face of the company, administrative assistants work closely with managers and employees and provide more support for internal operations.
Because of the experience working in fast-paced environments and closely with customers, some receptionists can go on to work in sales or customer service roles.
Another career advancement opportunity comes in the form of office manager positions since receptionists often are intimately familiar with office policies, schedules, and the front desk.
In addition to the skills listed above, many of which are desirable for a variety of jobs, there are other transferable skills you gain from being a receptionist such as:
Software or technology knowledge.