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A Career Guide to Being a Receptionist 

Published: Friday 27th March 2020

The receptionist is generally the first point of contact when someone needs to get in touch with an organisation. Depending on where you work, it can be a highly varied and interesting role. One of the best things about receptionist jobs is that you could be working in any number of industries, or even the public sector, so if there’s a particular niche you’re interested in then, with some experience, you should be able to find a role there. Regardless, if you can work on your own initiative, have good communication skills and enjoy dealing with people, then a receptionist job might be the ideal role for someone like you. 

The first point of contact 

Working as a receptionist is about much more than just answering the phone or welcoming people to the office. It’s likely you’ll be working in a more general role, handling various office assistant dutiessuch as dealing with mail, filing, photocopying and ordering office supplies.  

But as you will be the ‘front’ for the company, your main role will be at the reception desk. This may involve acting as a ‘gatekeeper’ for senior members of staff. This means you’ll need to be presentable and professional with good telephone manner and excellent people skills. In addition, you’ll be well organised and able to prioritise a busy workload.  

Depending on the role, you may be required to have basic secretarial skillsan understanding of office equipment such as photocopiers/printers and a familiarity with word processing/spreadsheets applications.  

People in corridor of office with reception counter and meeting room with glass doors. Concept of comfortable workspace.

Qualifications to take you further 

While only basic qualifications such as GCSE Maths and English are typically required for receptionist jobs, there are more specialised courses that will greatly enhance your chances when it comes to getting your first receptionist job. Training in MS Office, for instance, will be useful for many roles. When it comes to getting a dream job in a specific sectorsuch as fashion or advertising, previous experience is usually more important than qualifications. 

There are always plenty of receptionist jobs up for grabs for those with the right skills. And while being a receptionist is often perceived as a quite a junior role within a company, it is often a gateway into another more important role within the organisation. With professional training in business administrationyou could become a secretary or personal assistant (PA). 

Businessman using computer with hands typing on a keyboard.

Receptionist jobs near me 

When starting out, the salary can be low and often at minimum wage. The average salary for a receptionist in the UK is around £20,000. However, this should increase with experience. Joining a professional body such as the Institute of Administrative Management not only demonstrates that you’re committed to your chosen career path, it can also lead to some further training and development opportunities. Some receptionists go on to specialise, perhaps as a legal secretary, in a bilingual role or as a PA. A legal secretary in London, for example, could earn in excess of £35k.  

Looking to find local receptionist roles? Start with a search on Zoek UK. 

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