How Do I Become a Receptionist with No Experience?

Emily Pate
Emily Pate
Good typing skills can help a person get a job as a receptionist.
Good typing skills can help a person get a job as a receptionist.

Becoming a receptionist with no experience involves illustrating similar skills in past volunteer, extracurricular, or work experience; using contacts to get a referral; and registering with temp agencies, as well as pursuing any employment opportunities extended to high school or college students. While past jobs may not have involved receptionist duties, skills like effective communication, organization, and telephone experience can be highlighted. Going through a supervisor, family member, or acquaintance can also present opportunities that may be otherwise inaccessible. If persistent, a sharp candidate may be able to gain experience through short-term assignments at a temp agency, or as a student employee in a high school referral or college work-study program, among other options.

Extracurricular or volunteer activities may help someone become a receptionist.
Extracurricular or volunteer activities may help someone become a receptionist.

You can use your past volunteer, extracurricular, and work experience to illustrate receptionist-related skills, even if you've never held that particular position. For instance, volunteering at a pet shelter may involve answering phones, or perhaps you manned the phone at your school’s band office at one point. Any student government or extracurricular activities, especially those where you demonstrated communication, leadership, and telephone or organizational skills, can help. If you don't have any of these experiences, volunteering at an organization that you care about or working at an internship can give you a starting point.

An employer may be willing to hire a receptionist with no experience based on a positive referral.
An employer may be willing to hire a receptionist with no experience based on a positive referral.

Not all positions are filled using job postings, and an employer may be willing to hire a receptionist with no experience based on a positive referral by a trusted colleague or acquaintance. Contacting family, friends, and teachers as well as volunteer supervisors may prove fruitful. This works especially well when the person referring you knows your work ethic and personality.

Demonstrating effective communication skills can help someone be hired as a receptionist.
Demonstrating effective communication skills can help someone be hired as a receptionist.

Employment agencies who staff companies with temporary employees may sometimes hire a receptionist with no experience and give him or her to a short-term "test" assignment to evaluate performance. Access to these opportunities requires registering with the agency, taking any skills assessment tests, and completing an interview. You can notify staff of your intent to gain receptionist experience and willingness to accept short-term or entry-level positions to do so. If assigned to a short-term opportunity, arriving on time, following all agency instructions, and being friendly and professional can help you to earn another assignment, adding to your experience.

Basic knowledge such as how to use photocopiers is important for a receptionist.
Basic knowledge such as how to use photocopiers is important for a receptionist.

A school hiring a student employee will often extend an opportunity to a receptionist with no experience. A high school may offer opportunities for part-time entry level jobs in the community through a partnership or recruiting program, and most universities hire a plethora of students for work-study and student employment positions. School departments may be more likely to accept candidates with little or no experience, focusing on volunteering experience, class schedule, and people skills in hiring decisions. These opportunities usually require applying through the student employment office, and hours may be limited due to polices and funding.

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    • Good typing skills can help a person get a job as a receptionist.
      Good typing skills can help a person get a job as a receptionist.
    • Extracurricular or volunteer activities may help someone become a receptionist.
      Extracurricular or volunteer activities may help someone become a receptionist.
    • An employer may be willing to hire a receptionist with no experience based on a positive referral.
      An employer may be willing to hire a receptionist with no experience based on a positive referral.
    • Demonstrating effective communication skills can help someone be hired as a receptionist.
      Demonstrating effective communication skills can help someone be hired as a receptionist.
    • Basic knowledge such as how to use photocopiers is important for a receptionist.
      Basic knowledge such as how to use photocopiers is important for a receptionist.
    • Skills that a person gains through volunteer work can help gain new employment.
      Skills that a person gains through volunteer work can help gain new employment.