The receptionist is responsible for managing the front desk by greeting all persons that come through the front door and acting as an operator directing incoming calls during open office hours. The person occupying this position must be professional, organized, and knowledgeable of the inner workings of the company. Throughout this article, every part of the receptionist job description will be explained. Some of the points that will be covered include daily duties, education and experience requirements, skills and abilities needed, working hours, and career prospects.

Receptionists awaiting guests at the lobby.

What Does a Receptionist Do?

As a receptionist, daily duties are broken into three main categories: security, operator, and administrative tasks. These are the specific tasks that are part of the receptionist job description:

  • Monitoring everyone who enters and exits the building.
  • Answering and directing phone calls.
  • Sorting incoming memos such as mail, email, and faxes.
  • Calendar management for the company and/or employees.
  • Managing client accounts and appointments.
  • Administrative duties such as filling out paperwork, copying, and filing.

The median salary for a receptionist is $13.12 per hour, with most positions offering full-time hours. Only 3 out of 10 receptionists work part time. The majority of receptionists work in physician offices, but there are many positions available in corporate offices and factories.

Receptionist Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities

  • Greet all incoming visitors, direct them to the appropriate person or department, and issue visitor badges.
  • Manage the telephone switchboard by answering all incoming calls and directing them to the correct person. This also includes placing calls on hold, transferring calls, and answering any questions about the company.
  • Maintain the company calendar. This includes schedule, confirm, and cancel appointments for clients, patients, or office employees.
  • Perform administrative duties such as making copies, sorting and filing paper documents.
  • Answer all inquiries received through phone, email, or in person.
  • Manage all mail that is received and sent. Incoming mail is sorted and delivered to the appropriate party and outgoing mail is packaged, stamped, and prepared for pickup by the courier.

Receptionist Job Required Skills

  • Professionalism. The receptionist is the face of the company and is a direct representation of the company’s reputation. This reflects in the receptionist’s behavior, dress, and interpersonal relations.
  • Communication. Receptionist duties require an immense level of communication through phone calls, correspondence, and face to face visits. The prospective receptionist should speak clearly and listen comprehensively.
  • Organization. Time management, calendars, and administrative duties such as copying, sorting, and filing documents all require a substantial amount of organization skills.
  • Customer Service. The receptionist is one of the first contacts a client reaches and the way customers are received reflects highly on the company. The receptionist may need to manage upset customers, uninformed callers, and new clients.

How to Become a Receptionist

Most receptionist jobs are entry level positions and require little as far as education and experience. It’s the perfect place to start for anyone interested in an administrative position.

Although there is little requirement for education and experience, most companies will have a preference to an applicant with previous work as a receptionist, a background in clerical duties, or previous experience in customer service. Often the company is looking for someone professional who will fit in with them and represent the brand positively.

Education & Training Requirements

The expected qualifications of a receptionist are not reliant on past education, but most companies will look for a minimum of a High School Diploma. Capability of doing the job is determined during the application and interview process based on the applicant’s resume and behavior during the interview.

When a receptionist is hired, the employer looks for a specific set of skills and abilities that every receptionist should possess. The skills required include, but are not limited to, active listening, speaking, critical thinking, and reading comprehension.

Some of the abilities required are oral comprehension and expression, speech recognition and clarity, and written comprehension. The receptionist should also have the ability to quickly learn all job duties, continuously learn new information, and adapt to new procedures seamlessly.

Training is short term and typically on the job. It can last for a few days and up to one week. Training covers all the necessary duties and procedures included in the receptionist job description. If the receptionist has no previous experience in customer service and clerical duties, the learning curve is usually steeper.

Work Experience

As the receptionist job description outlines, most employers will prefer candidates with past experience over those with no experience. But, receptionist positions are typically entry level, therefore many offices will hire someone with little to no experience for the job. All duties that are part of the receptionist job description can be taught to anyone with the basic skills and abilities outlined in the previous section.

The best way to acquire experience without working as a receptionist is finding work, internships, or volunteer opportunities that include clerical work or customer service. Anyone looking to become a receptionist should look for odd jobs in offices such as afternoon filing or taking incoming calls for customer service to help build their resume.

Work Schedules

Receptionists have a set office schedule which covers the hours that the office is open to the public. Monday thru Friday from 9:00-5:00 is the usual schedule worked by receptionists. Schedules can vary depending on when the office is open or closed and the manpower needed for the front desk. The receptionist will work those set hours and days.

Working extra hours can happen, but are unusual to the receptionist’s schedule. Ask about the schedule opportunities available during interviews to determine if the company has odd hours for receptionists or if they stick to the usual office schedule.

Career Prospects

Receptionists make a moderate salary, but there is not very much room for growth. The median income is based on an hourly rate of $13.12, but it varies based on the company and type of office the receptionist is working with. While there is little growth opportunity, receptionists gain more visibility to other departments; seeing what they do and others see how the receptionist works. This is one of the best ‘foot-in-the door’ opportunities.

By showcasing skills and using down time to contribute to other departments, the receptionist is able to get inside information on what specific individuals do and what they are looking for when hiring for positions in their department.

Some common places receptionists advance to include personal assistants and office administrators. It is not uncommon for a receptionist to move into departments like marketing, accounting, and client relations because he/she works closely with these departments.


Receptionists are the face of the company through managing all incoming general inquiries and directing them to the appropriate place. This requires professionals with great communication skills. Between answering calls, helping visitors, and administrative duties, the receptionist absorbs information. This correlates to the receptionist becoming the most knowledgeable person possible when helping customers and representing the company.