In many cases, receptionists are what holds an office together.
Depending on the employer, the receptionist can have a variety of tasks from working with the public to dealing with the staff.
They are responsible for greeting visitors, redirecting the calls, and managing office supplies.
They also organize mail, internal memos, and participate in meetings.
Therefore, there are many skills and qualifications a receptionist needs to do their job.
Article Table of Contents
In the following article, we will explore the education and training, skills, and qualifications needed to become a receptionist.
What Does a Receptionist Do
Usually, the receptionist is the first person to be seen or heard when contacting a company.
So the receptionist has to be a good representation of the company.
Receptionists need a positive personality, should be organized and neat, and have a friendly phone attitude.
Mostly, receptionists work behind the desk in public or private organizations.
The working hours of a receptionist are usually scheduled during the standard business hours.
Common responsibilities of a receptionist include the following:
- Welcome and guide visitors on the phone and in-person.
- Reply to the requests from the public and redirect calls to the right staff.
- Maintain calendars, schedule appointments, and meetings for the staff.
- Receive, sort, organize and distribute mail and packages.
- Monitor and maintain office equipment
- Keep an inventory of the office supply for the office.
- Order and arrange food and beverages for meetings and take notes in the course of them.
- Be aware when staff is moving in and out of the office, notify the right departments or parties when employees call in sick.
Since receptionists are the first ones communicating with the public, they need to have positive, friendly, and effective communication skills.
That means they should be able to manage multiple conversations, work in a fast-paced environment and with various personalities.
They have to keep it up through the telephone, email, and personal conversations.
Receptionists should ensure a smooth operation of the office.
They should stay on top of the office events, update schedules, and keep up the stock of office supplies.
Receptionists should stay in good relations with all employees.
It is essential for them to handle office politics, various types of personalities, and maintain communication with the staff.
Since receptionists are responsible for handling the organizational work of the office, mistakes can affect the entire office.
Foreseeing issues and being able to take initiative to resolve problems is essential to the elimination of internal issues.
Receptionists should be able to handle office technology.
Fast typing skills, knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, multi-line phone systems, internet research, and emails are vital for the successful operation of the office.
Dependability is a crucial skill for receptionists since they deal with the majority of client-facing communication and inter-office maintenance.
How to Become a Receptionist
To become a receptionist, one needs the right skills, training, and experience.
Typically, it involves people-oriented personal qualities, formal education, and on-the-job training.
Training and Qualifications
Although it’s not always a requirement, having a college degree can help greatly.
There are also recommended courses for receptionists, but they are not mandatory either.
The right experience and technical certifications are far more important for this job.
In companies of various sizes, several years of experience are a major requirement to get the job or advance in the position.
With years of experience in a large organization, candidates can demonstrate the ability to handle multiple employees and visitors.
Employers prefer candidates with technical certifications such as Microsoft Office 2013 apps, Salesforce, or other CRM systems.
With these certifications, receptionists can also advance to higher-paying positions.
Advancing receptionists should also be good at events planning, email management, and continuously learn new technologies.
Work experience is one of the most vital factors for receptionists.
Often, employers pay more attention to the experience than to education.
Students can gain experience through internships, spreadsheeting events on campus, or volunteer work.
Those who don’t have an undergraduate degree can gain valuable experience through volunteer work at non-profit organizations such as religious institutions or shelters.
This is also a great way to network and obtain the necessary skills for the receptionist position.
The employment rate for the receptionist position is predicted to grow by 10% through 2024.
Based on the type of organization and geographical location, they can earn up to $35,000 per year.
With more experience and skills in a specific industry, they can advance their careers and earn a higher salary.
On the entry-level, the industry can be highly competitive.
However, with more experience and skills, the competition decreases and the industry becomes more secure.
After gaining more experience and obtaining training and certifications, receptionists can advance to the position of administrative assistants, HR assistants, executive secretary or assistant.
The healthcare industry is the fastest growing area for receptionists due to the increasing aging population and the digitalization of medical records.
The slowest growth of employment is expected to be in private companies because the duties of receptionists can be automated or outsourced.
However, in the healthcare area, interaction with patients is a significant factor, so it’s not that easy to automate or outsource the duties of the receptionist.
Inventing time and funds into obtaining a narrower specialization as a receptionist is worthy despite the type of organization.
Key aspects of the receptionist job are experience, technical skills, and personality.
Since receptionists are the first line of communication between the public and the company, they need excellent communication skills.
Communication through email, networking, phone, or in-person is a significant part of the receptionist’s job.
With specialized certifications, they can advance to other positions in the company and increase their income.