Don’t be fooled by the corporate image of a career as a receptionist – this can be an exciting career choice that will lead you on to bigger and better things! There’s so much more to being a receptionist than phone calls and emails. Consider the following;
A receptionist – the face of the company
As the receptionist, you are going to be the first point of call for any company; you will be the face of the company, the first employee that the customer has contact with at your company. If people-watching is a hobby of yours, then look no further. You get to meet and greet everyone that steps into the office, and learn a little something about them. Every staff member will know your name and you’ll know them as well, because they all pass by you on their way to their desk, so you can be sure to be in the loop in whatever company you join. Nothing happens in that office without you knowing about it and without you, the place would probably fall apart. A good first impression really makes the difference in an organisation, and a stellar receptionist will create a welcoming, warm, professional image – a welcoming and helpful attitude is extremely important in this role.
No two days are the same!
In your job, no two days are the same. Your role will vary depending on the type of company you are employed in, though typically your workday will consist of administrative tasks, answering phone calls, greeting customers, providing information, responding to emails and creating and coordinating calendars. However, at any point you may be needed to handle detailed information regarding your company, staff and procedures. Your duties at the front desk may sometimes be high-pressure, and so you will need to be able to demonstrate the ability to multi-task and solve immediate problems. You’ll, of course, possess strong communication skills, the ability to work neatly and accurately, and the ability to work without supervision.
Endless career options and the potential to advance
The fact is, most workplaces need a receptionist and so your career options are endless. Receptionists are vital to keep the workplace running smoothly. Consider the industry you are most passionate about working in and, yes, they too will require a receptionist. You could work as a medical receptionist, a hotel receptionist, a business receptionist or even a legal receptionist. Starting your career as a receptionist in the company of your dreams can also give you a foothold into that company, allowing you to make valuable connections within the company and giving you the potential to work your way up in the company.
What do employers look for in a receptionist?
So, what do employers look for in a receptionist and how can you optimise your employment chances? Employers may prefer applicants who have some formal office education or training, and most are looking for applicants who know how to use spreadsheets, word processing software, or other industry-specific software applications. A good receptionist will demonstrate strong organisational skills, a mind for project management, along with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and bookkeeping skills. Valuable personal skills include those such as negotiation, persuasion, decision making, confidentiality, customer management and service.
As a receptionist, communication is key
The skills required of a receptionist are transferable to any workplace, and indeed any career. One of the most useful skills you will acquire and hone, while working as a receptionist, is communication. As a receptionist, your key function in the organisation will be communicating with customers and staff every day, so the ability to communicate well with other people is very important. A receptionist is accustomed to dealing with people on the telephone and face-to-face, and these skills are transferable into any roles involving people management and customer service. In fact, communications skills are essential in all job roles that involve other people.
Hone your interpersonal skills as a receptionist
Interpersonal skills are also vital to a receptionist job and a skill that will take you anywhere in any workplace. Good people skills are important because receptionists deal primarily with the public. Receptionists are expected to be professional and polite at all times, ensuring they are helpful towards their customers. They should be able to put customers at ease and remain calm, even when faced with stressful situations. They need to maintain good relationships with all their employees while also having the interpersonal skills to deliver top quality face-to-face contact with customers and visitors.
Receptionists need exceptional time management and organisational skills
Time management and organisation are also highly transferable skills of a receptionist. On any day, a receptionist will be faced with a variety of tasks that could include the standard office administration work or more complex tasks requested by staff. A good receptionist will have the uncanny ability to take messages, schedule appointments, maintain files, make appointments, and keep the office in order. This calls for a high level of multi-tasking, organisation, the ability to prioritise and time management. The ability to multi-task is a valuable skill to have, especially if you go on to work in high-pressured environments.
Work independently and with integrity
Working as a receptionist will give you a great ability to work independently. Receptionists often work alone at the front desk so the ability to work independently is among the top receptionist skills that employers look for. As such, receptionists develop the ability to think fast and come up with innovative solutions to different challenges. This ability to problem-solve and show initiative is a much-admired skill. Receptionists are also often responsible for sensitive information in the form of their customer’s personal information. With this in mind, receptionists must be trusted to protect the privacy of their clients.
Receptionists require technical hardware and software skills
Finally, there are many technical skills learned in a receptionist role that are transferable into any workplace – making it a good steppingstone to your next role. Receptionists need to be able to work with hardware systems including phones, computers, printers, and software and social media platforms. The use of such hardware and software are technical skills that are required in most roles, and will be considered highly desirable by any employer.
So, if you’re thinking this may be the career for you, get the skills and training you need by studying Certificate III in Business Administration. Contact Industry Skills Training on 1300 757 296 to discuss your training needs.