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What Are the Skills Needed for Receptionist Jobs?

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The receptionist provides support to executives, management and office personnel in a company, while also assisting customers and clients. Over the course of the workday, a receptionist uses many skills that help the company run smoothly and maintain the company's professional image. A receptionist may take courses in office skills, but no formal education is required to become a receptionist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2012, the average pay rate for receptionists was $25,990 annually.


A receptionist spends most of her day in some form of communication with staff members, customers or vendors. In order to communicate effectively, the receptionist must be a good listener so she is able to pass on messages or deliver information without making mistakes. A receptionist uses good phone etiquette by greeting the caller with a polite, friendly, and professional voice and focusing on the caller as he talks. Written communication is also important because the receptionist writes memos and letters on a regular basis. When the receptionist types up letters on behalf of other company personnel, her skills directly reflect the reputation of the person for whom she is providing assistance.

Serving Customers

Companies that deal with customers and clients on a regular basis want to ensure those clients return to do more business. Many times, the receptionist is the face of the company and the only person a customer might come in contact with, whether in person or on the phone. Even when a customer is upset, it's important for the receptionist to remain calm and polite and try his best to help the customer with what she needs. Providing good customer service sometimes means going the extra mile. If the receptionist knows someone else who might be able to help the customer or knows a way to solve the issue, taking the time to make extra calls or do extra research for the customer will go a long way in retaining that customer's business.

Staying Organized

A receptionist spends part of her day filing documents, maintaining records and organizing the office environment. Good organizational skills are important because the receptionist can use them to make others' jobs easier and more efficient. When the receptionist puts things away in an organized manner, whether she's filing or organizing office supplies, she makes it easier for the other staff members to find the things they need. A receptionist with good organizational skills makes the difference between a smoothly functioning office and a disorganized one. Her skills assist others in reducing time spent locating the documents and items they need to complete a task.

Receptionists salary

  • Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $45,150 ($21.71/hour)
  • Median Annual Salary: $31,110 ($14.96/hour)
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $22,030 ($10.59/hour)

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.

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