Receptionists are the first point of contact between a business and external parties such as visitors or customers, whether that’s in person, over the phone or by email.
They are hired to perform a variety of administrative tasks for their employer such as taking bookings, arranging meetings, answering customer queries and manning the phones.
This detailed guide features a receptionist job description, as well as everything you need to know about the role of a receptionist, average salaries, required qualifications, career progression and more.
- Receptionist job description
- How much do receptionists earn?
- What does a receptionist do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs receptionists?
- Which junior jobs progress to receptionist roles?
- Which senior jobs do receptionists progress to?
Receptionist job description
Receptionist | E-Learning International
About E-Learning International
We’re one of the UK’s best e-learning providers, offering over 500 accredited training courses across numerous sectors and subjects.
About the role
We’re looking for a professional individual to provide a high standard of front-of-house support and customer service to our visitors, alongside some administration and office management duties, for our busy head office team.
- Covering the reception area at all times, welcoming visitors, processing deliveries and dealing with queries.
- Attending to all emails, posts, telephone messages and faxes in a timely manner, and directing correspondence to the relevant departments.
- Ensuring the visitor book is completed and signed to comply with health and safety rules and regulations.
- Setting up meeting rooms and keeping them looking presentable throughout the day.
- Monitoring, directing and recording meeting room booking requests.
- Maintaining an accurate and organised documentation filing and archiving system.
- Supporting team members with typing of documents and letters and general administrative tasks as needed.
Location & commitments
- Full-time role on a temporary, 12-month contract.
- 8am-4pm Monday-Friday — 35 hours per week.
- Based at our modern Wilmslow office.
- GCSE Maths + English Grade C or above.
- Excellent Microsoft Office skills, including Word and Excel.
- Confident communicator, both verbally and in writing.
- Proven organisational and time management skills.
- 1 year+ experience in a receptionist or admin role.
Contact us to apply
If you’d like to join our friendly and modern office and gain the chance to refine and build upon your office skills, apply today! Send your CV and cover letter to our HR manager, Julie Jackson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much do receptionists earn?
Being a receptionist offers an average salary of around £19,000, but there are many factors that will affect this figure.
Receptionist salaries in the UK
- Low: £17,000
- Average: £19,000
- High: £23,000
Source: Total Jobs
Receptionist salaries will vary depending on the following:
- The industry of the employer – e.g does the receptionist work within retail, pharma, banking, manufacturing etc..
- Company size – Large employers with big office presences will tend to have greater demand for receptionists and pay higher salaries
- General salary factors – Such as the location of the business and amount of previous experience
For example, a London-based receptionist with three years experience who is working for an accounting firm, is likely to earn more than a receptionist who has just left college and has landed there first job at a hair salon in a rural town.
It’s also worth noting that these average figures are taken from a sample of job adverts and don’t take into consideration extra benefits such as overtime, weekend work, healthcare plans and tips.
What does a receptionist do?
Now let’s take a closer look at the ‘responsibilities’ part of a receptionist’s job description. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the typical responsibilities and daily tasks that a receptionist can expect to undertake:
- Greetings – Receptionists are the first point of contact for visitors or customers and must therefore create a welcoming environment and greet guests in a friendly and professional manner
- Front desk security – They may be required to keep track of everyone who comes and goes from the building
- Phone management – Handling all incoming and outgoing calls, screening nuisance calls and directing call traffic
- Distributing mail – Any mail that is delivered to the building will usually be received, sorted and distributed by the receptionist
- Diary management – Taking and scheduling appointments in person, over the phone and via email
- Arranging meetings/appointments – Setting up meetings for colleagues and external parties, including scheduling meeting rooms
- Contact list management – Receptionists may be expected to update and maintain contact lists or databases
- Data entry – Adding data to company records, database maintenance and ensuring contact lists or databases are updated regularly
- Filing – Organising paperwork and electronic documents, whether that’s invoices, emails or contracts
What do receptionists need?
Receptionists will need a range of skills and knowledge to help them do their job successfully, but there is no formal qualification required to get started.
Here’s what’s generally required…
Junior receptionist jobs don’t require prior experience, but employers will often cite previous experience in admin or a customer-facing role as beneficial.
Intermediate to senior receptionist roles will require a few years of experience in a similar receptionist position. Candidates may also be able to go in at an intermediate level, if they’ve completed an apprenticeship that allowed them to work on the job.
As well as some of the industry-specific skills such as diary management and call screening, it is also beneficial for receptionists to have the following transferable skills:
- Communication: Written and verbal communication is important as receptionists will be communicating with visitors in person, over the phone and by email
- Interpersonal skills: Being able to effectively listen, provide help and build rapport with visitors is key
- Organisation: Being able to manage diaries and spreadsheets, set reminders for other employees, coordinate plans and multitask
- Time management: Juggling multiple front-of-house tasks and numerous admin duties simultaneously requires strong time management skills
- Customer service: Being approachable, attentive and able to solve any complaints or issues that customers may be having
Although there is not always a need for any formal qualifications to become a receptionist, having vocational diplomas or certificates could give employees a competitive edge.
There are a number of different qualifications that employers value in a receptionist and these can differ based on the industry.
We’ll look at some of the top qualifications below.
Business and Administration Level 1 (NVQ)
The Business and Administration Award (Level 1) is a nationally recognised qualification from City & Guild, it is well-recognised within the industry, helping participants to perform many of the business admin duties within a receptionist role.
There are two types of qualification available at Level 1:
- NVQ Award in Business and Administration
- NVQ Certificate in Business and Administration
Certificate in Professional Receptionist Training
Awarded by CPD and created by industry experts, professional receptionist training is designed to equip students with the skills needed to be an effective receptionist in any industry.
Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Front of House Reception
This diploma is a nationally recognised qualification that gives learners the skills and competency to operate in a reception environment. Though not industry-specific, this qualification is usually taken by those hoping to join the catering and hospitality industries.
What is expected of a receptionist?
As a general rule, receptionists will be expected to commit to the following:
- Full-time hours – (35 – 40 hours per week) with occasional overtime required during busy periods, although many part-time opportunities are available in the profession
- Possibility of evening or weekend work as some receptionist roles (such as GP or hotel receptionists) require shift work to match opening hours
- Location – Based at employer office, medical surgery, school, hotel etc.
The benefits that receptionists receive will depend on the size of the company and what industry it’s in. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Pension – for well established-companies
- Health insurance
- Training or educational assistance
- Discounts – when using the goods or services of their company, especially in hospitality
Who employs receptionists?
Receptionists have the opportunity to work in a vast range of industries, because many businesses across the UK need front of house staff to greet guests, as well as having a dedicated employee to manage the phones and diaries.
In 2019 it was estimated that there were over 204,000 receptionists in the UK and the top industries hiring for these roles include healthcare, catering and sports/leisure.
Other employers that hire receptionists include companies within:
- Health/social care
- Hospitality – Hotels, restaurants etc
- Sports/leisure – Gyms, health clubs etc.
- Professional offices – Such as accounting firms
Which junior jobs progress to receptionist roles?
While previous experience is not necessary to become a receptionist, there are some roles such as temp jobs or junior office work, that can help to give staff the skills and experience needed to progress into a receptionist role:
Admin support staff are employed to offer general administrative help to larger HR or administration teams. Temps may also be required to help lighten the workload during busier periods, including supporting a busy reception.
Volunteer receptionists may offer time at weekends to assist existing staff or to work alone in greeting visitors, answering the phone, taking bookings and other basic admin tasks.
Which senior jobs do receptionists progress to?
Depending on the nature of the company and industry, there are usually some great opportunities for receptionists to progress to more senior positions, such as:
Senior receptionist / Reception manager
A senior receptionist will manage a team of receptionists within an workplace that has large front of house presence (such as a hotel or large accounting firm). They will be responsible for carrying out receptionist duties alongside supervising and guiding the team they lead.
Personal assistant/executive assistant
Unlike receptionists and administrators who deal with visitors and/or other members of the team, personal assistants and executive assistants carry out support tasks for one individual. This is usually a manager or senior member of staff, but could also be a public figure or politician.
Receptionist job description – conclusion
Receptionists are the first point of contact for customers/visitors to a business and therefore have the very important role of creating a welcoming environment and ensuring a seamless service.
These roles are in high demand across a range of industries, providing plenty of full-time and part-time opportunities across the UK.