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Operations clerks are entry-level office workers who straddle the roles of an administrative assistant and an office manager, making sure the business operates smoothly. Their duties typically include everything from interacting with customers to performing tasks that ensure the office environment is functional. Most jobs are full-time, though part-time positions are available as well.
The typical day in the life of an operations clerk involves performing a variety of basic office functions. They answer telephones, create and manage email correspondence and file electronic and physical documents. They also play a supporting role for colleagues, helping them maintain schedules, organizing their travel and purchasing their business supplies. Some of the required duties may be industry specific. For example, an operations clerk in a financial institution might be required to perform basic accounting such as auditing and reconciling simple financial documents.
Operations clerks must have the ability to pay close attention to detail. This minimizes time-consuming and possibly expensive errors when filing or performing data entry. Clerks must also have strong teamwork and communications skills. Because they support various individuals on a daily basis, it is important to be able to take direction, effectively manage expectations and meet deadlines. In addition, operations clerks must be organized and able to easily and efficiently access work-related information.
A high school diploma or its equivalent is usually the only formal education required to obtain employment as an operations clerk. However, you can improve your job prospects by seeking post-secondary education at vocational schools, which offer coursework specific to the skills needed to function in the position. Courses offered include computer software training, typing, basic accounting and business terminology. Those interested in advancing beyond clerical work should consider obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a business field such as finance, accounting or management.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups operations clerks under the broader job category of general office clerks. These workers earned median pay of $13.21 per hour or $27,470 per year as of 2014, according to the BLS. The lowest earners in this job category were paid less than $8.59 per hour, while the highest were paid in excess of $21.21 per hour. The type of industry played a factor in earning potential. The BLS reports that the highest paid general office clerks were found in the government sector, earning a median hourly wage of $15.24. Those in health care and social assistance came in second at $13.23 per hour.
KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.