How to Write a Receptionist CV

There is a huge difference between a good receptionist and a great receptionist. When it comes to writing a Receptionist CV, you need to ensure that the employer knows for certain that you're the second of these. What it comes down to is conveying your personality, so they know that you're someone they really should include on their interview shortlist.

A great receptionist has great self-presentation and great people skills. By conveying your personality, you can assure the employer of this. In writing your professional CV, it's a way to truly make yourself stand out from the crowd, in a profession where there can often be little to differentiate between one candidate and the next.

Receptionist CV Profile

You need to create maximum impact with a profile high on the first page of your Receptionist CV. This is where you extract the most important information from your CV to present a snapshot for the employer. You need to grab the employer's attention with your most relevant experience, abilities and - importantly - personal qualities.

You can start by mentioning the main industries or kinds of employer you've worked for. Focus on the aspect that's similar to the employer you're applying to, whether you've had relevant experience in a similar company or organisation, the same industry, or the same size of organisation. Also state how many years' experience you have overall.

It's important to tailor the profile to each vacancy in a Receptionist CV. The job description will tell you what is most important to the employer - while certain skills are common to all receptionist jobs, there may be other duties associated with the role, such as administrative tasks for the quieter times during the day.

Therefore you need to highlight the most important skills you have for the job, such as providing a switchboard service (name the switchboard systems you've used), receiving visitors to the organisation, and providing excellent customer service. Include your typing wpm score if this is good.

Next, you need to really emphasise your strengths as an individual in this role. This means focusing on the personal qualities that shine through in your work: a friendly, courteous manner, being approachable and helpful with queries, and being calm under pressure in a fast moving environment.

Transferable skills are those that can be used in any job. These overlap with your personal strengths, but it's still worth highlighting those that are vital on a Receptionist CV: being a hardworking member of an administrative team, being highly organised, and being an excellent communicator.

Don't avoid mentioning strengths just because they seem obvious - if you have an excellent telephone manner, emphasise this. Likewise, you can state that you maintain an efficiently operated reception desk. Don't assume that the employer will know this - if you point it out, this big positive will remain in their minds as they read on.

Achievements on a Receptionist CV

Even though you may assume that reception work is predictable and possibly routine, you can still include an achievements section on a Receptionist CV.

This is where you include details of how you made a difference through your personal contribution to your work.

This section includes 4 to 6 bullet that provide evidence of how you applied your personal strengths and skills to produce results.

If you can include accomplishments that can be quantified - i.e. measured numerically - so much the better, although this isn't essential.

An achievement can be a time when you created greater efficiency through a change you initiated to procedures or services. An improved office system or an alteration to an administrative process might be an achievement, providing you can state how it improved things.

For example, you may have initiated a change to the employer's filing system or undertaken a major tidying of database records, which speeded up retrieval times.

It can also be a time when you had to respond to a particular challenge, such as software migration or changes in staffing structure due to take-over or redundancies. If you've been given regular staff appraisals, think about areas of your work that you were particularly commended on.

As a CV service, when we create an achievements section, we feel that it's important to include the situation, the action you took, and the outcome - you must do the same when you write your own Receptionist CV. Always start your sentence with the action, as this creates more impact. Mention the strengths and skills you used in addressing or instigating change to the situation.

The more specific you can be, the better, so always try to provide numerical measurements where possible - how many visitors you might greet in a typical day, the size of the team you worked in, the number of the employees in the company, etc.

Career History on Your Receptionist CV

When listing previous employment on a Receptionist CV, use a reverse chronological format - this means listing your most recent work first. Write your job title, the employer's name and your inclusive dates of employment on one line. Beneath this, list 5 or 6 key responsibilities in the job. Include only jobs from the last 10 years - if you do want to include jobs from before then, just include the first line, but without the responsibilities.

You should avoid writing this section like a series of job descriptions. Instead, write each sentence as if it's an achievement. This will do more to impress the reader as it makes for a far more interesting read. Never start your sentences 'responsible for ...', but begin each one with a verb (action word).

You should reiterate your personal strengths and skills throughout the career history on your Receptionist CV. Define your duties by stating not just what you did but how you did them. Each should sound like a personal contribution.

Make sure that all your technical skills are mentioned throughout this section. While your Profile should have included those that are highly relevant to the vacancy you're applying for - i.e. the same switchboard technology - you can demonstrate your versatility here.

Your flexibility and ability to respond to the unexpected should come through in every position. This may mean stating that you responded to requests to help others in the organisation at times when you were available, or that you were able to work longer hours on occasions when it was needed.

Receptionist CV Qualifications and Training

If you have Higher National Certificate or Diploma in office and reception skills, list this first on your Receptionist CV.

Include the name of the institution where you gained the qualification, your completion date and grade (if applicable).

Next, list your reception and any other administrative qualifications awarded by Pitman Training, Reed or City & Guilds. Follow this with any further details of your typing, short hand and audio transcribing skills.

Continue with your education, starting with the highest level - university or college - first. If you left education at 18 or 16 years of age, include only your last school or college attended, along with any examinations you passed, and the grades you achieved.

Other pages a receptionist can view:

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