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Clerical Duties and Skills Definition

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Clerical workers act as administrative support staff for a business. Duties vary by position, but typically, a clerical work definition includes answering phones, printing and faxing, filing, data entry, managing mail and more. In addition to performing basic office duties, expect to use your customer service skills as you answer phones and greet visitors. Clerical workers are often the first point of contact for a business, so they must handle interactions with customers, clients and investors with ease. The ideal clerical worker is highly organized and detail-oriented. In this career, you must balance several tasks at once. You will wear many different hats and find that no two days look alike.

Clerical Duties Definition

Clerical duties vary depending on the company and individual position. For example, some positions require basic mathematics and accounting. Other jobs are more focused on data entry, which requires no math whatsoever. Common clerical duties you can expect to perform as a clerical worker include:

  • Answering phones: One of the main duties of clerical work is answering phones. This sounds simple, but it can be demanding during busy calling times. You should be able to answer the phone politely, put callers on hold, transfer calls, take messages and handle multiple calls at the same time.
  • Printing and faxing: Clerical workers are support staff who usually help with printing and faxing. You should be able to make copies and send faxes as a minimum, and being able to change a printer cartridge is a bonus.
  • Filing: As a clerk, you are charged with organizing and maintaining filing systems. If you work at a paper company, for example, you might be responsible for filing customer invoices as they are filled. 
  • Data entry: Many clerical job descriptions list data entry as a primary duty. If you can type and press Enter, you can likely do data entry. Most companies have their own unique data entry systems and train workers how to use it.
  • Managing mail: Clerical workers are often responsible for handling mail. They receive packages, sort through incoming mail and assist with mass mailings.

Clerical Skills Definition

Based on the large range of duties required, clerical workers need to bring specific skills to the table. A list of necessary skills you might see on a clerical job description includes:

  • Communications (writing memos, relaying messages, handling customer inquiries on the phone, managing vendors)
  • Customer service
  • Basic computer literacy (email, word processing, data entry, calendar apps, internet usage)
  • Data entry
  • Filing
  • Operating phone and answering systems
  • Basic mathematics
  • Printing, copying and faxing
  • Taking orders from customers
  • Scheduling and calendar management
  • Booking travel
  • Organization and attention to detail

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Clerical Salary

Recent data from PayScale shows that a clerical worker makes an average of $33,000 per year, with a median wage of $13.33 per hour. Experienced clerks tend to earn a higher salary. Some clerical positions, such as executive assistants, require education and experience. These clerical workers naturally earn more to reflect their expertise.

Clerical Experience and Education Requirements

Most clerical positions are entry level, but some companies have senior clerks on hand as well. For typical entry-level positions, a high school diploma is required, but a college degree is not. Of course, having a college degree, whether an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, increases your earning potential and puts you in a position to be promoted. However, many jobs are available to those with no clerical experience or college degree. The most important thing is that you can demonstrate through your resume and interview that you have the right skills for the job.

About the Author

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.

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