What the job involves
As a receptionist your daily jobs could include greeting and directing visitors to the correct person or department, maintaining the visitors’ book and giving out security passes. Answering enquires in person, by phone or email, and managing any booking/appointment systems. Sometimes you may have to handle cash and organise meeting rooms. If you enjoy talking and meeting new people, being a receptionist could be the job for you.
As a receptionist you will need to be friendly, approachable and confident whilst having the ability to stay calm under pressure. You will need to have good spoken and written communication skills, and the ability to be polite but firm when dealing with impatient or upset people. You need to be able to deal with technical office equipment such as computers, fax machines, and photocopiers and keep the workplace organised and tidy.
Working hours are usually between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. However in some organisations, such as hotels and hospitals, you may need to cover weekend and evening shifts.
Part-time work is often available.
Qualifications and training
You may not need formal qualifications; however some employers will prefer you to have GCSEs in English and maths. A good working knowledge of Microsoft programmes would be helpful. Undertaking a full-time college course or apprenticeship in reception work or administration (such as the Intermediate Apprenticeship in Business Administration) will be looked on favourably by employers.
Getting into the profession
Receptionist jobs and apprenticeship vacancies could be found in a variety of places, i.e.:
- Apprenticeship Vacancy Service website (Apprenticeships)
- Local Newspapers
- Online jobs boards
- Local Further Education Colleges (Apprenticeships)
- NHS Jobs – search for reception jobs in the NHS
Salary and benefits
Receptionist can earn between £11,500 and £19,000 a year.
Opportunities exist to progress into a role such as reception team leader. Additional qualifications undertaken can also allow you to move into other related areas, for example qualifications in administration could lead you into a more administrative role or work as a personal assistant.