A receptionist’s main duty is to deal with members of the public, who could be clients, visitors or patients. They provide them with information, answer queries, and direct them to the person they need to see. Medical or dental receptionists also organise appointments and take bookings. They may need to keep the reception area tidy, organise reading material and provide refreshments. They should also be aware of the organisation's safety and security procedures, ensuring they are followed at all times.
In smaller companies, or where the reception area is less busy, it may be necessary to perform a wider range of tasks. They might need to answer the switchboard, take messages and deal with telephone enquiries, or do some basic clerical work. They might also be required to handle cash and do simple bookkeeping.
Some large organisations, and office buildings that house several companies, employ people to receive visitors and direct them to the right place. These posts often combine the duties of receptionist and security officer.
Receptionists work standard office hours, usually 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. In some jobs, they might work Saturday mornings or shifts. Part-time work is often available.
Most of the time is spent sitting at a desk or workstation in a comfortable reception area. Usually, a receptionist works alone.
To be a receptionist you should:
All types of organisations employ receptionists, for example, hotels, factories, hospitals, doctors, dentists, solicitors, schools and hairdressers. Competition for vacancies may be keen.
A good receptionist who is willing to acquire more qualifications and higher level skills may be promoted to a supervisory role. In practice there are few opportunities for promotion, although chances are better within larger organisations.
Many receptionists move into other areas of work in order to advance their careers.
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