ReceptionistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
A receptionist manages the front desk of an organization. They are typically the first point of contact for customers. They must have a friendly personality and excellent communication skills as they greet customers and direct them to the appropriate locations. Keeping a clean, presentable reception area is important, and outstanding customer service skills are a must. They also answer phones and screen and forward incoming calls. They must have excellent phone etiquette. Receptionists also typically perform a number of other administrative tasks such as receiving and sorting mail, directing incoming emails, scheduling meetings and travel, and making sure the front office has the necessary materials and supplies.
Receptionists may be required to issue visitor badges, log all incoming and outgoing customers, and follow all safety procedures per company guidelines. Clerical duties, including filing, photocopying, transcribing, and faxing are typical tasks for receptionists. They should be proficient with computers and be able to work with office equipment, like fax machines and printers. Receptionists need to be organized, able to prioritize tasks, and have good multitasking skills.
Sample job description
As a receptionist, you’ll be the first person many of our [clients/customers] meet. Representing the face and voice of the firm is important to [Your Company Name], which is why we need a receptionist who is organized, professional, and enjoys talking to people. As the first contact of our company, you may be responsible for scheduling appointments, preparing meeting rooms, welcoming visitors, directing calls, creating calendars and schedules, and more. You should be a self starter who is used to managing others.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Greet and direct visitors in office
Answer and forward incoming phone calls
Provide information in person and over the phone
Maintain office safety and security by following relevant procedures (visitor badges, logbooks, etc.)
Coordinate meetings and update calendars
Arrange travel and accommodations
Perform clerical duties including photocopying, faxing, filing and more
Education and experience
High school diploma or equivalent
Three years of related experience
Associates degree preferred
Required skills and qualifications
Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
Impeccable attention to detail
Professional customer service skills
Proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite
Ability to greet and assist visitors
Excellent multitasking, stress management, and organization skills
Experience answering and directing phone calls
Ability to quickly learn new software programs and applications
Experience staying calm when dealing with upset visitors and being able to problem solve for a wide variety of office situations
Experience with Google Calendar
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a receptionist is $35,142 per year in the United States. Salary may depend on the level of experience, education, and geographical location.
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Receptionists will often work at the front of the office at a desk so they can greet anyone who comes into the office. They often handle sensitive client and patient information, so they must be trustworthy and protect that data. Having the ability to speak and write clearly is important so that the people they interact with can easily understand them. While many receptionists are full-time employees in a company, there are some who will work part-time.
Receptionists usually keep regular office hours. Many retail centers will also have a receptionist, and this may require hours outside of the typical workday. Receptionists should expect to sit in front of a computer and telephone for extended periods of time, and also be available and accessible to any incoming visitors unless they’re on a lunch break.
For most receptionists, the typical work hours will be in an office setting and are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Part-time receptionists hours may vary based on the needs of the office or the hours of operation of the company.
Receptionists are not required to have any certifications, but an associate’s or bachelor’s degree could be preferred depending on the company, and further education will most likely lead to better career growth in the future. There aren’t too many certifications that can assist with a future career as a receptionist, but there are a few that will set you apart from the crowd:
International Association of Administrative Professionals Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification requires passing the CAP exam, which covers a combination of education and professional experience. Keeping CAP certification current can show prospective employers you are up to date on knowledge and skills needed to be a successful receptionist.
The journey to becoming a receptionist begins by having clerical and administrative experience. Students who aspire to be a Receptionist are encouraged to pursue coursework and/or a degree that could be relevant. You will need a high school diploma or equivalent, but it can also be helpful to further your education.
Receptionists need to develop strong interpersonal skills to ensure they are able to effectively and efficiently help visitors and clients. Their duties will range and vary by office and by the professional you are working for (law, dental, business, etc.).
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 43-4171
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Technology adaptability is an important skill for receptionists. Because there will be an increase in this position over the next 10 years, we can assume that the duties will also change significantly thanks to the introduction of technology. Receptionists use dozens of software applications. With so many different computer applications being used, it can be hard to know which program you will be using, so it is better to focus on familiarizing yourself with technology in general. Being able to quickly learn new software and programs will be crucial to landing a role as a Receptionist.
Sample interview questions
What interests you about being a receptionist in our office?
Do you enjoy working with people?
On a daily basis, how many people did you interact with at your last position?
What software tools do you use on a daily basis?
Tell me about your computer skills.
What additional responsibilities did you take on in your role as a receptionist?
What makes you a great fit for this position?
What type of schedule are you looking to work?
What type of security protocol do you follow?
Describe a time you received constructive criticism from your supervisor. Why was it helpful?
What are the characteristics of a quality receptionist?
What are your greatest strengths pertaining to office work?
How do you keep up with trends in this industry?
Why are you interested in this role?
What skills do you possess that would make you an exceptional receptionist?
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