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Guide: Receptionist

04 December 2019
Zara Woodcock
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A receptionist is often the first point of contact people have with an organisation or company. The main role is to welcome members of the public and assist them. They could be customers, clients or visitors or even over the telephone.

If you’re looking to become a receptionist, have a look at our guide to find out what you should be earning and what you will be required to do.

What does the job entail?

Receptionists are expected to partake in administrative roles and office tasks which include answering phone calls and emails, providing information about the company to customers and the public as well as other critical tasks. When entering an office, a receptionist is usually the first person a visitor meets. Receptionists are usually near the front entrance of an office or medical facility where they greet visitors and direct them to the correct department.

Skills required:

  • Multitasking with errands
  • Organisational skills
  • Accuracy
  • Quick and efficient

Experience in the role may lead to advancement in other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as becoming secretaries or administrative assistants. Advancement depends on work experience, habits, and the person’s computer skills.

What about hours and pay?

In order to become a successful receptionist, applicants are expected to develop an excellent knowledge of their organisation’s structure and personnel. Large organisations sometimes have more than one receptionist e.g. one in each department.

Most receptionists usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week, from 9 am to 5/5: 30 pm, Monday to Friday. Some organisations may ask applicants to cover weekends and evenings.

The role is office-based. It may involve long periods of sitting and working at a desk. Smart-casual or business dress is usually expected.

Starting salaries are usually between £10,000 and £12,000 a year but with experience, salaries can be more than £30,000.

What are the requirements?

There are no specific qualifications needed when applying to become a receptionist, but employers may ask for specific skills. Some organisations will ask for five GCSE’s (A-C), including English and maths. The more office experience, the better.

It may be better to attend training courses or various colleges in reception work to ensure a higher chance of getting hired. An Apprenticeship in Business Administration is also available.

As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week.

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