What Does a Secretary/Receptionist Do?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2019
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A secretary/receptionist is a skilled professional whose jobs duties include both administrative and customer service tasks. Many secretary/receptionist jobs are listed simply under one or the other job title, even if they include the job responsibilities from both categories. A professional in this field usually has a variety of skills, including computer literacy, customer management abilities, and organizational skills.

The secretarial portion of a secretary/receptionist job is often focused on organization and office management. Secretaries often maintain a business's files, and may be in charge of data entry and archival maintenance. Secretaries are also frequently responsible for all normal daily paperwork in a company, and may spend a lot of time managing reports, shipping paperwork, and inter-office memos. Depending on the type of industry, a secretary may also be in charge of customer billing and some accounting duties.

Receptionist duties required in a secretary/receptionist job generally involve working with the clients and customers of the business. Receptionists usually serve as greeters, and may be the first person clients meet when they come in the door. Serving in this capacity, excellent communication and customer service skills are necessary, as a receptionist can set the tone for a client's interaction with the business. Receptionist skills may also include phone duties, scheduling, and caring for office or client VIPs.


A secretary/receptionist job may include all of the above tasks, plus many more specific to each individual job. In many companies, secretary/receptionists will need to learn specialized software used for handling billing, office paperwork, and data storage for the company. Many professionals in this type of job are expected to learn the terminology of the industry, so they can better assist customers and explain issues to other personnel. Since the serve as a central conduit for nearly all business operations, secretary/receptionists are frequently put in charge of employee services and morale campaigns, and may be in charge of creating office events and supervising company newsletters.

There are several basic skills that can be of great assistance to anyone in a secretary/receptionist job. Computer literacy, including knowledge of all common operating systems, basic graphics and spreadsheet programs, and Internet research, is almost universally required in these jobs. High typing speed and readable penmanship are also important skills. Good organizational skills can be key to optimal performance in this capacity, as they can reduce the chance for confusion and miscommunication in the workplace. Finally, a pleasant attitude and professional demeanor can help a secretary/receptionist stay on good terms with fellow employees and help the company build an excellent reputation.


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Post 3

My sister is a secretary receptionist at a hospital. The patients basically check in with her and she's the one making appointments, and entering patient information like reason for the visit, insurance information and billing.

She actually had to get a certificate as a medical unit secretary because her job does require being familiar with terms used in health care.

Post 2

@candyquilt-- Well, if the title was something like an office assistant or a project assistant, then it would include tasks like the ones you mentioned. But a receptionist is someone who is at the front desk, who greets people, answers phones and carries out office related tasks like dealing with mail, sending faxes, keeping a schedule, etc.

The specific tasks may vary a little bit depending on the office and the industry. But a secretary receptionist's main job is to be at the reception.

Post 1

Do all secretary receptionists just answer phones, deal with paperwork and schedule meetings? Or are there secretarial positions that require more demanding work such as research, taking notes at meetings and events and writing summaries? I'd really like to work in a job that belongs to the latter category.

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