Receptionists are the first point of contact for organisations such as hotels, gyms and businesses.

What does a receptionist do?

A receptionist's day-to-day work would include:

  • greeting visitors and directing them to the correct person or department
  • managing the visitors book and giving out security passes
  • answering enquiries in person, by phone and on email
  • providing or sending out information
  • managing a booking system
  • providing refreshments
  • keeping the reception area tidy

As a medical or dental receptionist you would often arrange appointments and take payments for treatments.

In some companies, especially where the reception area is less busy, you could carry out a wider range of tasks, such as:

  • booking transport and travel
  • organising meeting rooms
  • basic clerical work
  • handling cash
  • simple bookkeeping

Some large organisations and office buildings contain several companies. In this type of location you may work as receptionist as well as security officer.

What do I need to do to become a receptionist?

You may not need any formal qualifications to start work as a receptionist, although some employers will prefer you to have GCSEs, particularly in English and maths. IT skills such as word processing, and the ability to use the internet and email may also be helpful.

Good customer care skills and an excellent telephone manner could also give you an advantage. Temporary work (temping) can be a good way of getting experience and can often lead to a permanent job.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Time management

Vocational route

  • Level 1 Award in Salon Reception Duties (beauty and hairdressing)
  • Level 1 Certificate in Business and Administration (office administration)
  • Level 2 Certificate in Front of House Reception (hospitality and catering)
  • Level 2 Diploma in Reception Operation and Services (hospitality and catering)

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You will find job opportunities at a wide range of places, including hotels, factories, hospitals, GP and dentist surgeries, offices, solicitors, schools and hairdressers. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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