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Become a receptionist: job guide

Receptionists are the first point of contact for a company’s customers and clients and are a crucial hire to ensure a business’ professional reputation maintains intact. With positions available on both a permanent and contract basis, a people-focus, initiative to solve problems and strong organisational skills comprise the tool set you need to succeed in the role.

While receptionist are always in demand by corporate businesses, competition is equally high for these roles so it’s important to do act fast during the recruitment process. We give you the lowdown on how to secure a receptionist role and what’s expected of you once you get there…

The skill set you need

Carefully craft your CV to showcase the typical skills and experience that business support employers will be looking for. If you have experience of working on a reception desk, highlight this in both your personal statement and work experience sections of your CV. Don’t be put off applying for roles if you don’t have specific experience as a receptionist - if you have a background in customer service, secretarial/admin duties or any other client-facing role you are also certainly in the running.

What skills do you need to highlight? A working knowledge of MS Office (including Word, Excel, Outlook etc) is key. But beyond technical skills, 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 of data craft, Meridian and/or Ericson (switchboard systems) to be advantageous.

Thriving at interview

Great news – you’ve secured an interview! But what can you do next to get ahead of the competition? First things first, answer our call first time around – competition is rife, so a fast response is absolutely essential to avoid missing out on the job. To give yourself a competitive edge, you’ll need to 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 presentation and communication skills are what you need to focus on the most during both telephone and face-to-face interview.

Take a look at our full guide to prepare for your job interview.

Receptionists are seen as the “face” of the organisation and so presentation and communication skills are what you need to focus on the most during both telephone and face-to-face interview.

The demands of the role

Although you have the skills to succeed, does the receptionist role sound like you? Role can be varied, but there are core tasks which you’ll see mirrored across all jobs. 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 the 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 client); and facilities management.

You may also be required to provide general administration 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.

Think you need more experience?

If you think you need to work up to securing a permanent receptionist role, short-term contracts and temporary administration and business support work can be a good way to get a variety of experience quickly and make yourself more attractive to employers for permanent roles.

 

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