How to Become a Receptionist

When you become a receptionist, you become the warm and welcoming face that represents an organization.

The receptionist is the first point of contact for clients, and also the person that both staff and customers turn to for assistance.

To succeed as a receptionist, you will need excellent interpersonal skills.

You will need to stay a step ahead of your colleagues and clients, so as to anticipate their needs.

You’ll also need to have a very pleasant manner and good presentation skills.

Receptionists also perform a range of administrative duties.

While some may simply answer the phone and take inquiries, others may have complex roles in administration, data entry, or accounting for example.

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Education Requirements to Become a Receptionist

Most that hold this position have a high school diploma, a few have some higher education although this is not essential.

When you become a receptionist, it’s likely that most of your training will occur on the job.

You’ll be able to learn as you work all of the necessary skills required as you go along.

Often, a new receptionist is paired up with someone more experienced for a week or two to show them the ropes.

Other than a high school diploma or GED, employers look for receptionists with great interpersonal skills.

Having had some work experience in customer service will be of great benefit, since receptionists need to be able to listen well and respond quickly and concisely.

Having good written and verbal communication skills is also essential.

Another quality that an employer will look for in a receptionist is computer literacy.

If you are at high school you may like to take some classes in this area.

Good typing speed and accuracy will help you get a role, as well as office related software.

Receptionist Job Description

A receptionist is the first person at a company that many clients and customers meet.

It may be a polite voice on the phone or a pleasant face meeting someone in an office.

Receptionists take incoming calls, direct visitors, take messages, and confirm appointments.

When you become a receptionist you may also take on a more complex role.

Many help with scheduling and booking appointments for senior staff, while also performing administration duties, for instance typing correspondence or sorting mail.

Filing and faxing are also common duties.

In smaller companies, receptionists may help with accounting duties.

They may prepare invoices or enter received bills into a computer, or follow up on unpaid accounts or even compile end of month reports.

Here are some of the duties of a receptionist:

  • Answering phones
  • Directing calls
  • Taking messages
  • Confirming appointments
  • Greeting visitors
  • Scheduling
  • Word processing
  • Filing
  • Faxing

Receptionist Salary and Career Path

When you first become a receptionist, an entry level role would usually require you to answer phones and direct customers.

As you gain more skills, there is usually opportunity in an organization to take on more responsibilities, such as administration.

Many receptionists are promoted to become administration assistants, or accounts assistants.

Some may become personal assistants to directors or other managers within the organizations, while others may be promoted to positions that are specialist to the industry they are employed in.

The current median wage for a receptionist is $11.80 an hour.

Working full-time, this equates to about $24,000 a year.

The demand for receptionists is expected to increase by 15% in the coming years, which is very good growth.

There is also a demand as many people do not stay in this role for long.

After a year or two many are promoted to more challenging roles, or leave the industry to pursue other interests.

Some jobs similar to that of receptionist you might be interested include:

  • Customer service representative
  • Administrative assistant
  • Payroll officer
  • Accounts assistant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Secretary

If you’re looking for a role that doesn’t need any formal education qualification then you might like to become a receptionist.

There are plenty of opportunities in this field, and also good job security.

Many who work as receptionists go on to more complex roles and make a career out of this occupation.

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