Receptionists officially greet customers and visitors and direct them where to go. Duties vary greatly depending on the work situation. The receptionist is usually the first person in a company the client sees or speaks to, therefore it is important that they create a good impression on the client.

The general duties of receptionists, besides greeting and directing visitors, include: answering telephone calls; making appointments; handling correspondence; answering enquiries; filing and completing of documents.

Three different types of receptionist can be distinguished:

Dental and medical receptionists arrange appointments and keep patients’ records. They may handle the payment of accounts. They may also see to the sterilisation of medical instruments and keep them ready for use.

Hotel receptionists welcome visitors to the hotel; allocate rooms; enter particulars such as names and periods of stay in the register and are also responsible for room keys and the payment of accounts.

General business receptionists are the link between the firm and customers or clients and usually refer clients to appropriate members of staff.


  • municipalities and provincial administrations

  • doctors, dentists and lawyers

  • nursing homes, hospitals and other health-care facilities

  • insurance companies and banks

  • factories

  • government departments

  • firms providing business and personal services

  • hotels

Getting Started

  • practise your typing, shorthand and other clerical skills

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work in a hospital, nursing home or clinic, or clerical work with a business firm

  • speak to a receptionist about this career


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