So you want to be a receptionist?

woman on phone

Businesses always need receptionists on a temporary or permanent basis. Here, we explore the receptionist job in more detail.

A popular role

Receptionists are always in demand both on a contract and permanent basis. You may need to be available at very short notice for these jobs. Most roles are a mixture of front line ‘meet and greet’ duties, along with other administrative and secretarial tasks.

How much competition is there for these jobs?

It’s very competitive – if you don’t answer a call first time around, you will normally miss out on the job.

How can I get ahead of the competition?

To give yourself a competitive edge, you’ll need be able to communicate well and present yourself in a corporate manner during the interview and, then, on the job. Receptionists are seen as the “face” of the organisation and so both presentation and communication skills are very important.

What experience/backgrounds are typical?

If you have experience of working on a reception desk and you can draw on this during an interview, you will definitely impress. But if you have a background in customer service or any other client-facing role you are also certainly suitable. Short-term contracts can be a good way to get a variety of experience quickly and make yourself more attractive to employers for permanent roles.

Receptionists are seen as the “face” of the organisation and so both presentation and communication skills are very important.

With many positions also including secretarial/admin duties, previous experience in this area is also essential. Additionally, working knowledge of MS Office (including Word, Excel, Outlook etc.) is beneficial.

What personal qualities and qualifications will I need?

Receptionists need to be strong communicators, proactive and have the ability to trouble shoot. No formal qualifications are required, although many employers consider systems knowledge to be advantageous.

What will I do on a day-to-day basis?

Receptionists are expected to carry out a number of tasks including: extensive telephone coverage; meeting and greeting clients; booking meeting rooms for both internal and external meetings; ordering catering for meetings; ordering couriers and taxis; distributing post; signing in parcels; issuing security passes for visitors; ordering stationery for the office when required; operating a switchboard (this would depend on the set up of the business); and facilities management.

Receptionists may also be required to provide general administrative support which may include reconciling expenses and assisting with data entry. Some receptionists with secretarial responsibilities may also have to manage diaries and arrange national and/or international travel.

Looking for your next secretarial or business support role? View the latest opportunities from Robert Walters here.

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