Job Description:

Receptionists are the first point of contact for visitors to organisations.

Job Category:
Professional Services

What you will do:

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on where you work. You could:

  • greet visitors and direct them to the correct person or department
  • manage people signing in and give out security passes
  • answer enquiries in person, by phone and email
  • manage a room booking system and keep rooms tidy
  • deal with incoming and outgoing post and deliveries
  • arrange appointments and update records on databases
  • take payments and handle invoices


You’ll need:

  • the ability to use office equipment like computers, photocopiers and fax machines
  • customer service skills
  • administration skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Receptionist, you typically don’t need specific subjects, but having a good general education and some key skills is important for success in this role. Receptionists are responsible for handling administrative tasks, greeting visitors, and providing excellent customer service. Here are some skills and subjects that can be beneficial for a Receptionist:

  1. English: Strong communication skills are essential for a Receptionist. English can help you develop excellent written and verbal communication skills, which are vital for answering phones, responding to emails, and interacting with visitors.
  2. Mathematics: While advanced math is not typically required, basic math skills are helpful for handling simple calculations, such as processing payments and managing appointments.
  3. Computer Skills: Familiarity with computer applications like word processing, spreadsheets, and email can be very useful.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly


Getting a college qualification may be helpful for reception work. In the UK, for example, relevant courses include:

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


You could get into this job through a hospitality team member intermediate apprenticeship, or a hospitality supervisor advanced apprenticeship.


You could begin as an admin assistant in an organisation, for example by doing temporary work, then apply for a permanent job as a receptionist when a vacancy becomes available.

In a hotel, you could start in housekeeping or admin and do further training on the job.


Volunteering is highly valued if you want to apply for receptionist jobs.

Direct Application

You may not need any formal qualifications to apply directly for work as a receptionist. It will help to have good admin and customer service skills.

Some employers will prefer you to have a good general education, with IT skills to work with computerised booking or payment systems.

Career tips

For hotel reception work it may be useful if you can speak a second language to serve visitors from outside of your country.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 38-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays.

You could work in a reception area, in a public or private hospital, at a fitness centre, in an office or in a hotel. You may need to wear a uniform.

Career Path & Progression:

With training and experience, you could move into a senior receptionist or personal assistant (PA) role.

In a GP surgery or health centre, you could train to become a medical secretary or a practice manager.