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Obtaining a Career as a Receptionist

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The job of a receptionist requires attending visitors coming to the office and dealing with customer's queries on the telephone and even personally. The receptionist is also responsible for providing information about the company to clients, the general public, and customers.

Increasingly, receptionists make use of multi line phone systems, facsimile machines, and personal computers. Regardless of the extensive use of automation answering techniques or voice mail techniques, many candidates still engage in taking messages and report on other companies on the arrival of visitors or cancellation of some appointment. After completing all telephone calling duties, most receptionists are also expected to carry out a wide range of duties including sorting and opening mail, distributing and collecting parcels, altering appointment calendars, delivering and transmitting facsimiles, word processing, filing, preparing for travel vouchers, and carrying out some basic bookkeeping.

There are no fixed set of entry requirements and academic standards for being a good candidate for the occupation of a receptionist. However, this job includes performing different tasks like taking messages, e-mailing, greeting visitors, answering questions, answering phone calls, and filing and arranging appointments.


  • Collecting and passing messages
  • Answering telephone, direct and screen calls
  • Providing information to telesales
  • Greeting individual entering the organization
  • Heading visitors to the correct section
  • Dealing with the queries from customers and public
  • Ensuring acquaintance with staff movements out and in for the company
  • General clerical and administrative support
  • Prepares documents and letters
  • Sorting and receiving deliveries and mails
  • Organizing meetings
  • Maintaining the record of all appointments either electronically or manually
  • Maintaining and organizing the entire reception area
  • Organizing meetings
  • Scheduling appointments
A diploma in high school is required for the job of a receptionist in most organizations. Moreover, one should also be completely familiar with all clerical and administrative procedures along with basic computer knowledge and pertinent software applications. A receptionist is also required to have knowledge regarding customer service practices and principals. Typing skills are also considered essential in this occupation.

As a receptionist may have to interact with a number of visitors, one should have a dynamic personality so that one can communicate with all types of customers as well as visitors efficiently. Some other skills that a receptionist should have include:
  • Written as well as verbal communication skills
  • Personal professional presentation
  • Customer support orientation
  • Attention to detailed information
  • Stress tolerance
  • Reliability
  • Initiative
  • Planning and organizing different events in the organization like meetings with clients and interviews or appointments
  • Information management
A receptionist may have to work under stressful conditions sometimes, so the person should be forbearing with the capability to handle aggressive customers or clients. They should be able to handle complaints or queries in a calm and professional manner. The capacity of multitasking and language skills is the most important one.

Bilingualism is considered as an essential asset in any industry for the occupation of a receptionist. Therefore, one should learn any foreign language that will prove helpful in interacting with foreign visitors or customers.

For receptionists, on the job training sessions are made available by the companies. However, well qualified and experienced candidates have high stipulations among the employers.

As aforementioned, experience counts for getting a receptionist's job in some reputed organizations. Most people prefer to gain experience by working in some smaller organizations and then decide to apply for the occupation in a bigger organization.

The employment opportunities for information clerks and receptionists are estimated to grow more slowly than average for almost all occupations till the year 2014. This tremendous decrease will affect rapid development in service providing organizations including law firms, doctor's clinics, and different consulting firms.

The median hourly wages for receptionists during the year 2004 was around $10.50. The middle fifty percent earned between 8.62 dollars and 12.88 dollars while the lower ten percent earned around seven dollars and highest ten percent made more than fifteen dollars. During the year 2005, the Federal government paid wages from $22,937 to $27,818 per year to new candidates with six months experience.
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