How to Become a Receptionist
Receptionists provide the first impression for companies and businesses and they are very often the first point of contact that customers and clients interact with upon entering the establishment.
This article will provide an informative guide on everything that you need to know about how to become a receptionist, from the relevant skill set to career progression in many industries, including business and hospitality.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Receptionist?
Let’s talk about the formal qualifications you need here. In pursuing a career as a receptionist, most businesses will require you to have a series of formal high school qualifications or GCSEs in subjects such as business administration and English.
Courses in administration, bookkeeping, and PA courses can be particularly useful as they demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary digital skills and the ability to use computer applications such as Microsoft Office programmes and Excel.
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start?
Seeking career advice from employers and career services can help you to decipher the necessary experience that you will need to have to become a receptionist.
As a beginner wanting to become a receptionist, it is important to seek work experience, particularly in working with the public, as excellent customer service skills are paramount to the role of a receptionist.
Taking an entry-level job in retail, for example, is a good starting place to build up experience working with the public.
Volunteering within an office or enrolling in an administrative internship could also be advantageous as not only do such opportunities allow you to gain work experience in the field, but you also build up a body of contacts that can be instrumental in helping you to secure a permanent position.
This approach will also help you understand the day-to-day tasks of a receptionist. That will allow you to decide if you like the career path.
Skill Set Required for a Receptionist
So, what does it take to be a good receptionist? In our current, technology-heavy world, receptionists need to have a diverse skill set that includes knowledge of computers as well as many other skills, namely:
Excellent customer service skills
Good communication skills
Office skills (e.g. using photocopiers)
Basic word processing using Microsoft Office
Switchboard and phone systems knowledge
Integrity and confidentiality
Sound IT skills
Social media understanding (optional)
What Does a Receptionist Do?
A receptionist job involves sitting at the front desk of an organisation and greeting visitors. You will need to use all of your best receptionist skills to get the job done. On a daily basis, you will be charged with a variety of tasks. These may include booking meeting rooms, dealing with callers, managing complaints, and reporting to the wider team.
Each receptionist position is unique to the company. The specific responsibilities of a receptionist will, however, depend upon the particular place of work. For example, working as a dental receptionist or medical receptionist will require you to perform administrative tasks such as gathering patients’ medical records, whereas if you work as a beauty salon receptionist, you will be responsible for scheduling appointments.
Typical Duties for a Receptionist
Popular Career Pathways for Receptionists
Receptionists are required in most businesses and organisations, ranging from hotels and factories to solicitors and schools. A career as a receptionist incorporates skills such as the ability to multi-task and develop an excellent telephone manner; therefore, these skills are transferable to other secretarial roles such as an administrative assistant or a personal assistant.