Switchboard operators work for a variety of businesses. The job involves relaying outgoing, incoming and interoffice calls. Operators may also assist customers and complete clerical tasks as needed by the company. Switchboard operators may also function as the central office operator or as directory assistance operator. The tasks that were once performed manually by switchboard operators are now automated. Incoming callers are often offered transfer options before being connected with an operator or directly to the person they are searching for. The skills required to work as a switch board operator have evolved from being focused on phone etiquette to being able to multi-task and complete a variety of tasks.
Advance in the Telecommunications Field
After gaining several years of experience, a switchboard operator may be promoted to a junior service assistant. A junior service assistant supports the supervisor by monitoring customer service conversation. Switchboard operators may also advance to other clerical positions or to telephone technical jobs such as phone installation and repair services.
Explore Other Options in the Company
Working as a switchboard operator results in exposure to the many functions of a business. Those looking to advance may choose to remain employed with the company, but seek a different job function altogether. Transitioning to work in an administrative or clerical capacity could be the next step in employment advancement. Additional training or education may be required to advance within a company. Those interested in seeking out other opportunities should make management aware of the desire to advance. There may be additional tasks that management could assign to the current job description that could help in preparing for the next role.
Move to the Technological Side
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of switchboard and telephone operators is expected to decline. Advances in technology will continue to reduce the need for operators. Current switchboard operators could align themselves with the transition that is happening in the industry and advance to the technological side of communication operations. The modern computer has taken the place of switchboards and automation has reduced the need for manual operation of phone systems. Obtaining training in information technology or computer operations may be required to be qualified for telephone technology positions.
Seek Advancement in a Different Industry
Jobs in health care and technology continue to increase while opportunities in service industries and construction have declined steadily. Those currently working as a switchboard operator may consider leaving the telephone support industry and moving to an industry where the outlook for growth is more favorable.