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If you are interested in clerical work, you may wonder what type of experience is needed to apply. The good news is that many clerical jobs are entry-level positions and don’t require any significant previous clerical experience. If you have the right skills, you’re already well on your way to finding clerical work.
Clerical Work Description
Clerical workers earn an average of $33,000 per year with a median pay of $13.33 per hour. They perform basic administrative and office tasks to support the rest of the staff and keep everybody in the workplace organized. As a clerical worker, you will find yourself responsible for a host of clerical duties including answering phones, scheduling appointments, printing and copying, doing data entry, faxing and filing.
In this line of work, you might find yourself juggling multiple tasks at once. For example, it’s common for clerks to work on data entry and answer phone calls at the same time. You should be highly organized and detail oriented to be a good clerk. Because you will be answering phones and greeting clients, you should have solid customer service skills.
Clerical Work Skills
If you like to keep things orderly and have good people and computer skills, you will likely make an ideal clerk. Highlight clerical skills that are common to many clerical positions on your resume. They include:
- Customer service and communications: Good communications skills go a long way toward getting you clerical work. Ideally, you should be able to politely and efficiently answer phones, transfer people, answer questions, take messages and put people on hold. Don't worry if you don’t have any professional phone experience. You can be trained on the job. The most important thing is that you communicate well.
- Computers and data entry: In most cases, having basic computer skills is a requirement if you want to be a clerk. You should be able to use email, the internet, a calendar, and basic applications such as word processor such as Microsoft Word. It’s also a good idea to have some familiarity with data entry. Data entry is something most employers train employees for, so knowing the basics should be enough for most entry-level positions.
- Filing: Filing might seem old-fashioned, but many employers still use physical filing systems. If you know how to sort in alphabetical and numerical order, you are good to go on this front.
- Printing, copying and faxing: As a clerical worker, you are responsible for printing, copying and faxing. You might be in charge of changing printer cartridges and performing minor maintenance on the machines. Knowing how to use these machines is a definite boost to your resume. However, this is another area where employers usually are willing to train new hires.
- Organization: A good clerk is organized and detail oriented. Highlight these skills on your resume and don’t be shy about using a few examples to illustrate them.
How to Get an Entry Level Clerical Job
Clerical work job listings can be found on most major job sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn. As you apply for jobs, remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to each specific job you apply for. Yes, this is time-consuming, but it shows that you care enough to put in the requisite effort. Personalizing your application goes a long way with employers, and it’s especially important if you are applying with little or no experience. Your resume and cover letter are your opportunity to illustrate why you are the right person for this specific job. If you don’t have all of the exact skills the employer is looking for, demonstrate that you have accomplished similar tasks.
Don’t forget to highlight any additional computer skills you have such as HTML, video editing, blogging, Excel, Quickbooks or writing web copy. This experience adds value to your resume and helps you stand out in the crowd of applicants.
Further Clerical Training
If you lack some of the basic skills needed for entry-level clerical work, consider a training program. Free and low-cost programs are available online. Other educational programs are more extensive and offer certificates upon completion. In most cases, a college degree is unnecessary to get an entry-level clerical position, although a high school diploma is often required.
Chelsea Levinson earned her B.S. in Business from Fordham University and her J.D. from Cardozo. She specializes in labor and workplace issues, and has created content for Vox, Levo, AOL and more.