A Receptionist also known as an Administrative Assistant is someone who performs various administrative tasks, including answering telephones and giving information to the public and customers. Receptionists are often the first employee that the public or customer has contact with. They are responsible for making a good first impression for the organisation, which can affect the organisation’s success.
What Does A Receptionist Do?
Receptionists are responsible to manage the front desk of an organisation or a company. They handle administrative tasks, including greeting visitors and answering the phone calls. Since a receptionist is often the first person to interact with customers and visitors, they have a responsibility to make a professional and polite first impression. In some organisations, receptionists have a role in security by restricting visitor access or notifying a security team of potential incidents. Receptionists may also manage communications by forwarding calls, maintaining internal calendars and helping visitors reach their destination in the office.
Additional responsibilities include:
- Scheduling appointments and meetings
- Greeting clients and visitors and connecting them with the appropriate party
- To input customer or appointment information into the company database
- Managing documents and records
- To keep a record of paper correspondence and phone calls
- Creating and managing filing systems
- Making travel and accommodation arrangements
Obtaining a position as a receptionist may involve certain requirements depending on the level of jobs for which you’re applying, including:
Entry-level receptionists typically need at least a high school diploma or equivalence in addition to related work experience. Some positions need a minimum of an associate or bachelor’s degree. Those without degrees can also earn certificates at community or vocational colleges that teach the skills needed to be a receptionist, including payroll accounting, business maths, customer service, office management and office software. Online training in the form of tutorials and webinars is also available for office software and other useful skills.
Many receptionists receive the training they need on the job. As an entry-level position, most employers will have an on-boarding process that includes training specific to the company’s procedures and policies. You might also consider volunteering or interning in an office setting to learn office culture and develop communication skills. Volunteers and interns learn to operate standard office equipment, such as multi-line phone systems and printers.
Professional certifications can validate a candidate’s qualifications to current and future employers. Receptionists can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their daily responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career. Here are some of the most common certifications for this profession:
Certified Professional Receptionist: Administered by the National Association of Professional Receptionists, this certification validates a professional’s dedication to remaining proactive in the advancement of their education and skills. The CPR certification recognises professional competence and proficiency and encourages continued professional development. While certification is not mandatory, it can garner extra consideration in the application process.
Certified Administrative Professional: Administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals, this certification demonstrates to current or future employers that your skills and knowledge are up to date, relevant and continually improving. The certifying exam assesses your knowledge and proficiency on skills and concepts used to complete daily tasks.
Receptionists need several hard and soft skills to succeed in this role. Some specific skills include:
- Organisational skills:Receptionists are responsible for many aspects of a business, so being organised is crucial. Receptionists use organisational skills to schedule meetings, book travel arrangements, create and maintain spreadsheets, greet visitors and answer phones.
- Communication skills:As the first point of contact for visitors, receptionists use their communication skills to welcome visitors as they enter, offering refreshments while they wait for the appropriate party to be available. Smiling and presenting a friendly disposition are some of a receptionist’s most valuable skills. Another communication tool is active listening. A receptionist’s active listening skills will help to expedite requests from visitors, callers and executives. Additionally, receptionists write emails, take meeting notes and facilitate communication between colleagues.
- Technical skills:Receptionists often use many different software applicationns social media accounts or bookkeeping or accounting programs. Receptionists find that focusing on remaining familiar with relevant software and technology is helpful in adapting to new programs.
- Time-management skills:Receptionists often handle a variety of different tasks related to the office. In order to ensure they can complete all of their duties throughout the day, they should have good time-management skills to separate and complete tasks effectively. They may also schedule meetings for others, so they should be able to manage other employees’ time as well.
How To Become A Receptionist?
Here are the most common steps to follow in becoming a qualified receptionist:
- Pursue education: Once you graduate from high school or receive the equivalent certification, review local job listings in your intended industry to determine the job requirements. You can easily learn necessary skills in word processing, database and spreadsheet software through online tutorials.
- Gain relevant work experience:Many new receptionists begin their careers right after high school, obtaining entry-level jobs and learning as they work. Volunteering or interning at an office can also provide valuable experience. Receptionists can later build on that experience to advance into more senior-level positions.
- Earn professional certifications: Though not required, you may consider earning certifications in the different types of software used in an office, as well as social media, bookkeeping and even marketing.
- Prepare your resume:Include your date of graduation, relevant certifications and your work history. Highlight specific achievements accomplished using your transferable skills. Keeping it concise, relevant and clear will help your resume stand out among other applicants.
- Apply to entry-level or support roles: Review the current job market for your area and apply to positions that you are qualified for. Creating a compelling cover letter that highlights the specific skills and traits you possess will emphasise your suitability for the role.
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