When you think about working in reception, do you imagine something like this?

Switchboard operators plugging in cables

Being a receptionist is more than answering and transferring phone calls. To be a successful receptionist, you'll need to possess several key skills that will help you showcase your work.

Receptionist looking up at camera

As the first face and voice that guests encounter, you play a very important role in the organization!

Reception Overview

What does a receptionist do?

Woman paying at counter, another woman is operating point of sale device Yes, receptionists do answer and transfer phone calls, but you can expect to do a lot more than that! Receptionists may find themselves:

  • Welcoming guests, customers, and colleagues

  • Scheduling people and resources (meeting rooms, equipment, etc.)

  • Organizing and maintaining records and documents

  • Assisting with other departments, such as marketing, shipping, or purchasing

  • Maintaining client or vendor databases

  • Planning organization events, such as holiday parties, luncheons, or all-staff meetings

Where does a receptionist work?


Receptionists work in offices, hospitals and clinics, warehouses, government facilities, and from home. Receptionists work in nearly every industry: military, schools/universities, healthcare, manufacturing, government, and technology. There's no limit to where you may find your next receptionist position!

Man sitting in front of laptop while using mobile device

Did You Know? Flaticon Icon

There are nearly 1 million receptionists in the United States.

Woman exclaiming

What Are The Requirements?

Skills to pay the bills!

There is a number of skills and qualities that you'll need to be a successful receptionist:

  • Good written and oral communication

  • Detail-oriented

  • Outgoing/friendly

  • Tech-savvy

  • Organized

  • Professional behavior

A receptionist greeting a dog at an office.

Do I need a degree?

Most entry-level receptionist positions require a high-school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the job duties, you may be required to hold a minimum of an associate or bachelor's degree.


Steph just graduated from high school and is interviewing for a part-time reception job. During his interview, should he talk about how he wrote for and edited his high school's newspaper?

Career Pathways

Office workers giving each other an air high five

Your career does not end with reception. There are several positions that you can move up to:

  • Administrative assistant

  • Executive assistant

  • Department manager

  • Customer service manager

  • Office manager

Did You Know? Flaticon Icon

Both Rosa Parks (civil rights activist) and Carly Fiorina (former HP CEO) started out as receptionists!

Take Action

Ready to be a receptionist? Here are a few things you can do now to get the job:

Woman smiling


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte