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How to Become a Receptionist

Doris Benitez
Reading time: 3 min

A receptionist, also known as an administrative assistant, is the first point of contact people have with a company. Their main role is to perform administrative tasks including welcoming members of the public to the organisation, answering phone calls, and assisting employers among others.

If you’re thinking of starting a career as a receptionist, this may be the best time to kick off your career. This is because employment of receptionists is expected to grow at 9% from 2016 to 2026, which translates to about 95,700 new jobs.

In this guide, we’ll look at what it takes to become a receptionist, the job duties, and average salaries.

Job Basics

Receptionists salaries may vary depending on the industry, company, and city.

Entry-level salary: £12,000 to £15,000 a year
Experienced: £16,000 to £18,000 a year
Highly experienced: £21,000 a year
Working hours: If you’re based in an office environment, you’ll usually work from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. If you get a job in a hospital, sports centre, hotel or restaurant, you can expect to work a shift that includes weekends.

Job Responsibilities

The day-to-day tasks of a receptionist include:
• Welcoming and directing visitors to the right person or department
• Answering, screening, and forwarding incoming phone calls
• Managing the visitor’s book and giving out security passes
• Handling incoming and outgoing mail, faxes, and couriers
• Arranging appointments
• Updating records on databases
• Ensuring the reception area is well maintained

While these tasks are common to most receptionists, their specific responsibilities vary depending on the work setting. For instance, in companies where the reception area is less busy, the receptionist may perform a wider range of tasks including simple bookkeeping, arranging travel plans for staff, and organising meeting rooms.

Qualities of a Receptionist

A receptionist is often responsible for creating a good first impression of your business. Consequently, you must dress to impress, have a positive attitude, excellent interpersonal skills, be friendly, organized and courteous.

Other skills needed for the job include:
• Top-notch organisational skills
• Ability to work fast under pressure
• Ability to multi-task and work independently
• Strong attention to detail
• Ability to use office equipment like computers, fax machines, and photocopiers

Entry Requirements

There are no set requirements to become a receptionist. However, most employers look for job seekers with a high-school diploma or some form of post-secondary education. It’s worth mentioning employers value experience so you may consider volunteering or getting a temporary job. You can also join a clerical training program to obtain necessary skills.

The best thing about being a receptionist is that you receive on-the-job training.

Career Path and Progression

With training and experience, a receptionist can advance to a higher position such as a secretary, personal assistant or customer service representative.

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