Change careers to a Receptionist job

Change careers to a Receptionist job

Would you like a job where you can talk to people? Do you like variety in your work, with no two days quite the same? Making a career change from a Warehouse Operative job to a Receptionist job could be just the move for you.

Of course, being a Receptionist is not only about talking to people, there is a lot more to it, but as the first contact with the business or organisation, a friendly persona is definitely an asset. One of the enticing things about considering a career change to becoming a Receptionist is the choice of sectors you could work in. Think about all the places you go to where you are greeted at the front desk – the doctors, the dentist, a hotel, the gym, your kid’s school, even the hairdressers. Then there are all the businesses and offices that have someone on reception to welcome visitors and field calls – it could be a solicitors office, a financial institution, an employment agency, pretty much any business sector is likely to have a Receptionist job position. 

It can be daunting to think about how to change careers, but moving from a Warehouse Operative job to a Receptionist job may not be as big a challenge as you think. 

What are the basic requirements for a Receptionist?

People skills

  • Good verbal and written communication
  • Customer Service skills
  • Ability to handle complaints and difficult customers
  • Patience
  • Problem solving skills
  • Team player

As the Receptionist you create the first impression of the business you work for, whether in person or on the phone. It is your responsibility to be welcoming, friendly and smartly dressed. No matter how you feel, being friendly, happy and helpful can make all the difference in someone’s day and will make you an asset to your employer as well as giving a boost to your own confidence. 

Technical skills

  • Ability to use a telephone system, including holding and transferring calls
  • Basic computer skills – Word, Excel, email such as Outlook or Gmail

A Receptionist job will involve the use of a computer and telephone, so you need to be comfortable with using this equipment and the relevant software. 

Administrative skills

  • Time management
  • Organisation
  • Attention to detail

Working on a busy reception desk will require you to have good admin skills to manage your time, stay organised and remain calm under pressure. 

You can find out more about the responsibilities for this role on our Receptionist job description page.

What transferable skills are there for a Warehouse Operative to become a Receptionist?

You may now have the option to sign in via a computer at your local doctor’s surgery, but a real person is still needed when it comes to discussing appointments and prescriptions. As we saw in our Future of Work blog, job roles are changing as more tasks become automated, but positions where people skills are considered a key element remain ideal options for a future proof career.

As you look at how to change careers from a Warehouse Operative job, consider some of the skills you have acquired in that role and how they can be applied to a Receptionist job.

  • Team player – in a warehouse environment you work together with others to ensure a safe and efficient working environment
  • Good communication skills – you communicate with your co-workers daily to get the job done
  • Problem solving – whether a system, a colleague or management, you sometimes have to deal with tricky tasks and situations
  • Computer skills – you have data entry and potentially emailing experience from your warehouse job
  • Ability to work under pressure – coming from a warehouse background you will be used to coping with busy workloads
  • Time management and organisation – prioritising your work in the warehouse will have honed your ability to organise your time and manage your workload

How can you overcome any experience gaps with this job change?

Despite having some transferable skills, there may still be some gaps in your knowledge and experience that you feel could hold you back in your career change. 

While most Receptionist job roles don’t require a formal qualification, most employers prefer you to have your GCSE's or equivalent, especially in English and Maths. If you need to study for these, you can find a course through the National Careers Service or enquire at your local college. Gaining your Maths or English GCSE is often free or at low cost. 

If you need to improve your IT skills before applying for a Receptionist job, you can check your local library for basic courses in word processing, Microsoft Office, internet and email. You will also find courses at your local college. 

Some skills and knowledge will be specific to the industry where you work as a Receptionist. For example, if you work on a hotel reception desk you will be required to learn the booking system and how to handle guest accounts. Often this is taught on the job, but there is a City & Guilds qualification for reception services in the hospitality industry which covers all aspects of hotel reception work.

How do you land a job as a Receptionist?

With so many different sectors having Receptionist positions there are a variety of jobs available. A good way to start would be with a temporary Receptionist job to see if it is a role you enjoy. You might even want to continue in different temporary positions across various sectors to widen your knowledge and increase your experience as a Receptionist. Here at Blue Arrow we recruit and offer opportunities across various sectors.

Many Receptionist jobs will be advertised on job listing sites that you can apply for directly or you could find a suitable apprenticeship.

Before you go for your interview, think about the transferable skills mentioned above and any other relevant experience you have from previous jobs or even personal experience. Have some examples ready when the interviewer asks you questions. Read Caree’s blog post for more tips and advice on how to succeed in an interview.

How do you overcome challenges and progress in your new career as a Receptionist?

All jobs come with challenges and when you are new to the role it can seem especially difficult. Here is some advice we received from a few experienced Receptionists:

“Never hesitate to ask advice from others, especially if you are training, after all there may come a time when a trainee will ask you for your advice In the future”.

“Know your stuff and keep learning; most if not all industries are continually evolving”.

“Should you have to deal with someone that is angry, stay calm and reassure them that you are listening and will do your best to get the problem resolved”.

“Be transparent; people are more likely to relate to you if they feel you are being genuine”.

What are the future career prospects for a Receptionist?

If you enjoy working in reception but want to progress your career, you could move up into a team leader or supervisor role. In a medical environment you could work towards becoming a Practice Manager or in the hospitality industry you could become part of the Front of House Management. 

If you have your sights set on a particular industry, then starting out in a Receptionist job position can be stepping-stone to other roles within the sector. Working on reception in a hospital could lead to becoming a Hospital Administrator or a Medical Secretary. You could be a Receptionist in a solicitor’s office with the aim of becoming a Legal Secretary. A Receptionist job is interesting and varied and has lots of possibility for an exciting new career. 

To learn more about your career change, read our article on how to become a receptionist