How to Write a Receptionist Resume
Updated 17 December 2020
You’ve had plenty of temporary receptionist jobs, but you’ve not quite landed the role that makes you want to turn up early on a Monday.
So, how do you make your receptionist resume pop from the page when vying for that all-important job?
It helps if you can place yourself in the role of the hiring manager.
This could be a general office manager at a large organization, or it may be a company director at a smaller firm.
Either way, the employer will be looking for key attributes on your receptionist resume.
What Is a Receptionist Resume?
In its basic form, a front desk receptionist resume is a written overview of your professional self.
Usually, it’s no more than two pages of carefully formatted typed text.
It is a summary of you and why you’re a good fit for a particular role.
Your receptionist resume needs to have purpose. This means that it must demonstrate an intentional journey, rather than a random selection of courses and roles.
Your future employer needs to feel as if you are directing your own career before inviting you for interview.
That is why your receptionist resume should follow a clear format and highlight relevant achievements, experiences, qualities, qualifications, volunteer work and interests.
Remember, your future employer will form an impression of you within seconds of looking at your receptionist resume.
They will want to see that you’re an expert multitasker who can handle any office-based task and knows exactly how to meet and greet. After all, first impressions count, which means there is quite a responsibility on you as a receptionist.
Having a polished resume is a nod to your attention to detail and understanding of the role.
What Will an Employer Be Looking for in Your Receptionist Resume?
It is not always easy to write about yourself. Even the most confident of people can find it hard to put pen to paper.
If you’re not quite sure where to start, a useful tip is to use WikiJob’s Job search function to look for receptionist jobs. Each role will list the attributes the employer is looking for.
You can use some of these core skills for inspiration on how to describe yourself.
Just remember not to over-embellish. Your receptionist resume must accurately reflect your capabilities.
For certain receptionist roles, it is even more important to be specific about your skill set, knowledge and experience.
Take medical receptionists as an example.
In addition to answering and directing calls, greeting patients, booking appointments and managing office supplies, you will have other responsibilities as a medical receptionist.
You will be expected to know whether a patient would be best seen by a doctor or a nurse and how to identify and respond to a medical emergency.
Most importantly, you will need a lot of tact and diplomacy as you will be liaising with people who may be upset or vulnerable.
Don’t assume the employer will automatically understand you have these skills. You will need to mention them within your medical receptionist resume and be prepared to answer any questions on these if you are selected for interview.
Balancing Hard and Soft Skills Within Your Receptionist Resume
When writing a receptionist resume, it is important to remember that not all skills are given equal weight.
Whether it is your second or third job or you are just starting out, you’ll almost certainly have a significant list of attributes you can use to sell yourself. The tricky part is knowing the key competencies an employer really wants to see.
The best resumes have a blend of soft and hard skills.
Hard skills are specific abilities (technical skills) that enable people to perform the job. They are learned, which means you can develop them through training.
Examples of receptionist hard skills would be:
- Computer skills – especially MS Office
- Specific software knowledge – for example, VOIP
- Medical filing (for a medical receptionist resume)
- Knowledge of certain visitor management systems
- Relevant training and professional memberships
Soft skills, on the other hand, are more about your character, social skills and professional capability, such as:
Hard skills are, in many ways, much easier to articulate on your receptionist resume. As facts, they are difficult to dispute or misinterpret.
Soft skills are a little more difficult to evidence. That is why it is a good idea to use short descriptors or practical examples in your resume.
For example, how much more powerful would the following sentence within your medical receptionist resume be than saying you have great organizational skills?
Managed appointments for eight doctors and three nurses, prioritized triage bookings and line-managed two other members of staff.
Remember, employers will want to know you are not only capable of undertaking the tasks required of the role, but they will also want to know you are a good fit for the team.
How to Write Your Receptionist Resume
The first thing you will want to do is find a template that will work well for your receptionist resume. Thankfully, MS Office has many resume templates to choose from to save you having to format your resume from scratch. You can even browse MS 365 resume templates by profession and search for ‘receptionist resume’.
All resumes tend to follow a similar format. They are clearly laid out, with plenty of white space and use an easy-to-read font type and size (usually Times New Roman size 12 or Arial size 11).
Just make sure that when you choose a font you use the same one throughout and that your headings are in bold.
There’s certain information that all employers will expect to see on your receptionist resume.
It’s helpful to think of the information in ‘blocks’ – that way, it’ll be easier to build your resume.
Your Personal Statement
The first block is the easiest. It is your full name, followed by your address, email and telephone number.
The personal statement is the first thing an employer will read on your receptionist resume and if you don’t make the right impression, it could be the last.
You will really want to pull out those key soft and hard skills and be clear about the things that make you a stand-out candidate for the role.
Here are a couple of examples. Notice how each one includes an equal balance of skills.
Example medical receptionist personal statement:
Patient-focused, computer-savvy, medical receptionist with over 10 years’ experience running fast-paced triage front desks. Highly efficient at patient scheduling, monitoring patient status, verifying insurances, claims filing and bringing a sense of calm to the chaos.
Example front desk receptionist personal statement:
An extremely capable and dedicated multilingual receptionist with exceptional organizational skills. Over 15 years’ front desk experience welcoming and attending to the needs of clients, customers and employees in busy and highly regulated financial institutions.
Depending on your level and amount of experience, you may choose to have a slightly longer personal statement. However, aim for no more than about 70 words and keep each sentence to under 20 words.
Always check to make sure that your personal statement contains the attributes you know the employer is looking for within their job posting.
After all, on average an employer will receive upwards of 50 resumes.
If you tailor your personal statement each time, you are more likely to be added to the ‘must-see’ pile.
Next, you will need to list your relevant work experience, starting with your current or latest role.
You will need to provide the name of the organization, the date you started (month/year) and when you finished work.
You must also list the main duties you undertook in each role as well as your strengths (in bullet-point format).
If there is anything you are particularly proud of, you will want to include it here.
Here is an example for a medical receptionist resume:
- Supervised two other medical receptionists
- Scheduled patient diagnostic appointments and surgeries
- Delicately handled communications with patients
- Compiled medical reports
- Ensured the timely sending of laboratory results
- Interviewed patients to gather information for insurance forms
- Verified insurances and used core computer skills to prepare letters, case histories, medical reports and invoices
If you have a keen eye for detail, which you should have as a receptionist, you will want to make a list of the keywords the employer mentions in their job ad. The words they use to describe the ideal applicant.
So that you can delicately weave these into your receptionist resume. Although you should avoid paraphrasing.
Education and Qualifications
Your next step is to include a block on your education and qualifications.
Although you don’t have to be registered or certified to become a receptionist, your education and qualifications are still important.
After all, you need to have strong written and verbal communication skills and be proficient in MS Office and other systems.
Your education and training will need to demonstrate this.
As an entry-level applicant, employers will expect to see a high school diploma or GED on your receptionist resume, and evidence of strong English language skills.
Beyond this, there are a few receptionist certification programs that you can enroll onto and complete in your own time.
To have taken the initiative to complete these programs serves as a good indicator that you are self-motivated.
There are also several colleges and schools in the US where you can major as a receptionist – 43 to be precise.
Joining a professional membership body can also show that you are committed to your chosen career as a receptionist.
For example, the National Association of Professional Receptionists (NAPR) offers members the opportunity to become a Certified Professional Receptionist.
Gaining such qualifications and documenting them on your receptionist resume will position you as a career professional.
Don’t forget to include any languages you are fluent in too. There is a strong demand for bilingual skills, especially on a medical receptionist resume.
Hobbies and Interests
Another, more personal, aspect of your resume is the inclusion of hobbies and interests. Many people miss these off their resume, but they are important because they give the employer a flavor for who you are.
Think about the things you love doing, make a list and then select those that are transferrable to the role of receptionist.
For example, it could be that you volunteer at an animal rescue center, you are a keen blogger, you love team sports or perhaps you are learning a language.
Most employers value perseverance, teamwork and a caring nature when hiring a receptionist.
If you are like this in your personal as well as your professional life, the employer will get a good indication of this through your hobbies and interests.
What if It Is Your First Receptionist Job?
If you’re looking to land your first receptionist job, you won’t have the same experience to draw from. However, if the job you are applying for is an entry-level receptionist role, the employer will not expect you to have heaps of experience.
What they will expect, though, is for you to demonstrate how you have transferrable skills that have either been gained through education or other paid and voluntary roles you’ve held.
As a receptionist, you will be expected to have strong computer skills and so it is important to demonstrate your level of skill in data entry, word processing and using the internet.
Don’t forget, if you have experience in other software packages such as PowerPoint, Access and Excel, make sure you include these on your receptionist resume.
Don’t forget, there may be skills that you have that perhaps others may not.
If you are great on social media and confident with monitoring and responding to customer comments on behalf of the business, mention this.
Remember, it is not just the hard skills that you will want to include. You’ll need to find a way of evidencing the things that make you a stand-out candidate.
If you have been a vice president at your school, mention why you were selected and the attributes you needed for the role. If you volunteered at a local charity answering calls, mention the care, diplomacy and sensitivity you used.
Whilst you’re in the process of applying, you can continue to sharpen your receptionist resume. Take that online course on data compliance, evidence your touch-typing skills, learn shorthand and volunteer, if you can afford to.
Just remember to make sure that whatever you choose to do is linked to your ideal receptionist job.
Common Mistakes to Avoid on a Receptionist Resume
Writing in the first person. It may feel unnatural to write about yourself in the third person but using ‘I’ or ‘my’ will come across as unprofessional. Never use first person.
Making your resume too long. Try to avoid including every little detail. You want to leave the employer wanting to find out more about you. Aim to intrigue and keep your receptionist resume to two pages of A4. Remember that you will expand on your suitability for the role in your receptionist cover letter.
Not explaining gaps in employment or education. Make sure you explain any significant gaps (of two months or more) between receptionist jobs. If you completed a course in that time or went traveling, say so.
Poor grammar. Having excellent written English skills is vitally important on a receptionist resume. However, even the most diligent writer can make a grammatical error if they are too close to the content. Ask a friend or family member to give your receptionist resume a proofread.
Adding the wrong contact details. This may seem like an obvious one but double-check the spelling of your email address and telephone number. You would be surprised at how many people make this simple error on their resume.
Overly ambitious formatting. It’s tempting to play around with templates and colors to try and make your resume stand out. An employer, however, wants to quickly discover if you have the right skills and experience. Keep your layout clean and crisp with plenty of white space.
Using an unprofessional email address. Many of us create our first email address long before we think about what job we would like to do. That 'email@example.com' email address from when you were a teen might put some employers off. Set up a new email address if you need to. It will be easier to filter any communications from employers too.
The most important thing is to be in the right frame of mind when you are writing your receptionist resume.
If you are passionate about what you’ve achieved to date and know where you want to be, your resume will grab the employer’s attention.
Remember, there is a reason why you love being a receptionist. It is because you thrive in a busy environment and have that selfless determination to help others.
If you follow the tips above and inject the elements that make you special, you’ll get that all important offer from your future employer in no time.