As the initial point of contacts for all visitors to a company, receptionists play a major role in making the first impression right. While being a gracious host, a receptionist should be tactful, intelligent and well-informed. She should have this ability to kill with kindness, stay calm under pressure situations, prioritize tasks and deal with individual egos. Bringing so many contrasting qualities together is no easy feat. That is exactly why finding a good receptionist is often a difficult task. In fact, receptionists are the 9th most difficult job positions to fill in the UK, according to the latest Talent Shortage Survey conducted by the ManpowerGroup. If you want to become a receptionist, but not sure whether this career option is right for you, read on to know about the specific of the profession.
Job DescriptionRoles and responsibilities of a receptionist may vary from company to company. As a receptionist, you could be responsible for providing administrative support, greeting customers, making and receiving phone calls, responding to emails, directing visitors to the appropriate department and establishing and/or maintaining liaison with customers, clients and internal employees. Duties of a receptionist may vary, but usually include;
Welcoming visitorsManning main phone lines and the reception deskResponding to queries of direct visitors, customers and clientsMaintaining the visitors bookIssuing visitor badgesReceiving and sorting out letters, couriers and other deliveriesScheduling meetings and appointmentsPerforming clerical tasks, such as, typing, faxing and photocopyingKeeping the reception area clean and tidyHandling petty cashYou may also need to perform some additional, industry-specific tasks. For instance, medical receptionists often need to book appointments and collect fees for treatment from the patients. Some companies may have multiple receptionists for offices in different location. There could be a head receptionist responsible for providing guidance, training and direction to junior receptionists. Your job as a head receptionist may involve delegating tasks, organizing shifts, monitoring and recruiting new receptionists.
Entry RequirementsEven though receptionists do not require any formal qualification, most employers prefer candidates with at least a high school diploma. Some companies may even ask for a bachelor’s degree in communication or business. Candidates with GCSEs in English and Mathematics often get a competitive edge during job search. You can also consider doing some related courses, such as, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) in;
Business and Administration levels 1 to 4Front of House Reception (hospitality and catering) level 2Reception Operation and Services (hospitality and catering) level 2Customer Service levels 2 and 3Reception Security levels 2 and 3If you want to build your career as a medical receptionist, it would be a good idea to earn a certificate in hospital reception or a diploma in medical reception from The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR).
Skills RequiredA receptionist often needs to wear many hats. The job requires a diverse range of skills and personal qualities, including administrative skills, IT and computer skills, and a pleasant persona. To excel in this profession, you should have;
Excellent verbal communication skillsProficiency with Microsoft Office SuiteOrganizational skills and multitasking abilityBasic IT skillsAbility to handle pressure situationsA polite and confident personalityA professional appearance
Career Opportunity and SalaryReceptionists are employed across all industries and in companies of almost all sizes. You can find a job in hotels, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, dental clinics, schools, salons, shopping malls and corporate offices. Your starting salary as a receptionist could be anywhere between £10,000 and £13,000 per year. With experience, you may be promoted to higher positions, such as, administrative assistant, office supervisor, secretary and head receptionist; and your annual salary will increase accordingly. Senior receptionists usually earn anywhere between £16,000 and £25,000 per annum.
A good receptionist sets the tone of an office and helps foster a happy work environment. If you love people and have a pleasant personality, this could be the right career option for you