The job of receptionist (or switchboard operator)

Receptionists and switchboard operators greet clients and visitors, in person or on the phone. They then direct the person to the most appropriate person or department for their needs. Often, the job of receptionist is not limited to reception duties. An increasing number of employers want to have a receptionist able to perform basic secretarial tasks. Since receptionists are usually the first person that customers meet, it is important for the first impression to be the right one. 


  • Greet visitors and customers
  • Answer the phone and screen calls
  • Guide callers to the right person or department
  • Take down and forward messages
  • Provide information (e.g. brochures, pamphlets)


  • Secretary/receptionists have the responsibilities of a receptionist and the duties of a secretary. Generally found in small companies, secretary-receptionists can also work for large companies, where their secretarial work is similar to that of an office clerk. In addition to the duties of a receptionist, they also
  • Receive and distribute mail
  • Manage conference rooms
  • Supervise office maintenance
  • Receive payments and make out receipts
  • Update the book of accounts and various databases
  • Assist with billing


Receptionists should have a high school diploma at a minimum. Employers may require a diploma in office administration or a related field for secretary/receptionists. Equivalencies in terms of work experience are allowed depending on the employer.


  • Proficient in office systems software
  • Thoroughly fluent in French and English
  • Knowledge of your sector
  • Good typing skills


  • Nicely turned-out
  • Energetic
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Punctual
  • Organized
  • Thorough


With motivation and internal promotions and/or through internal or external training, receptionists can become secretaries, and eventually, executive secretaries. network