If you are wondering how to become a receptionist, below are tips and advice on training for and beginning careers in this area of administration and job prospects in the UK.

    The Job Description
    Receptionists are often the first contact person for an employer, either face to face or by telephone.

    Typical responsibilities:

    * greeting visitors, directing them to appropriate contacts or departments
    * allocating security passes and managing visitor books
    * dealing with visitor problems or enquiries
    * responding to telephone calls and passing on messages
    * making visitors feel welcome and comfortable

    Person Specification
    The key personal attributes of a good receptionist include:
    * outgoing, confident and pleasant
    * enthusiasm for dealing with people
    * well presented
    * strong verbal communication skills
    * calm when under pressure during
    * patient and professional in dealing with difficult people
    * well organised and efficient
    * able to work on initiative
    * good computer skills
    * interest in the work of the business or organisation

    How to become a receptionist
    You dont need formal qualifications for receptionist work, but employers may prefer GCSE (A-C)/S grades (1-3), especially English and mathematics. Some secretarial, office or IT experience would be an advantage.

    Temporary work may enable you to gain valuable experience and could lead to permanent employment.

    Training and Development
    Most receptionists receive on-the-job practical training, but are often asked to attend courses in reception work and / or certain technical requirements of the role, such as specialist switchboards or computer systems.

    A receptionist can studt for relevant qualifications including:

    * NVQ/SVQ Business Administration levels 1 to 4
    * NVQ/SVQ Customer Service levels 2 and 3
    * NVQ/SVQ Reception Security / Providing Security Services

    OCR (RSA) examiners offer qualifications including customer service and administration skills.

    Health care receptionists can study for qualifications from AMSPAR – Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists – which include:

    * General Practice Reception Certificate
    * Diploma in Medical Reception
    * Certificate in Hospital Reception

    Qualifications for a career as a hotel receptionist include a BTEC in Front Office Operations (Level 3).

    The Pay
    Starting salaries are typically £10k to £12k per annum.
    Experienced receptionists may earn £17k to £24k.

    Job Prospects
    A receptionist can find work at hotels, hospitals, doctors, dentists, factories, schools, hairdressers, solicitors or any other business.

    Experienced and accomplished receptionists can progress to leadership positions, especially with larger organisations.

    Useful resources:
    Council for Administration (CfA)
    6 Graphite Square
    Vauxhall Walk
    London SE11 5EE
    Tel: 0207 091 9620

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