Education
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How Do I Become a Temporary Receptionist?

Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
Wanda Marie Thibodeaux

To become a temporary receptionist, an individual must acquire formal education up to the high-school level, ideally obtaining undergraduate-level training related to reception, followed by searching, applying and interviewing for temporary receptionist jobs. Although the education path to this career is fairly straightforward and does not require a huge time commitment, companies who need temporary receptionists do look for experienced candidates in order to keep operations as smooth as possible. If a person cannot find a temporary receptionist position on her own, using a temp placement agency sometimes is a solution.

The majority of businesses accept a high school diploma or graduate equivalency degree (GED) for receptionist positions, including temporary jobs. At the student level, a person can prepare for temporary receptionist work by taking computer, speech, English and writing, and business courses. These classes are good because receptionists must use technology to access and maintain records and communicate and interact verbally and in writing with vendors and clients.

A temporary receptionist at a medical clinic may be required to know medical terminology.
A temporary receptionist at a medical clinic may be required to know medical terminology.

Even though many employers will take a high school diploma or GED for a temporary worker, depending on the size and clientele of the business, some companies might require some additional training to become a temporary receptionist. For instance, they might want candidates who have had typing classes or who have completed a formal certificate program in reception. Sometimes previous experience in reception is an adequate substitute for additional coursework, but this depends on the employer.

Temporary receptionists in an office may schedule appointments for clients.
Temporary receptionists in an office may schedule appointments for clients.

One reason why businesses sometimes want additional education or experience from a temporary receptionist is that a temporary receptionist does not necessarily have the luxury of extended on-the-job training. Employers want someone who can step into the receptionist job and learn the business' policies and procedures very quickly without sacrificing the quality or speed of service. Those with less education or experience often are less capable of doing this.

Receptionists need good typing skills to be successful.
Receptionists need good typing skills to be successful.

Once a person has the proper education and experience, she may continue her path to become a temporary receptionist by scouring job postings for temporary receptionists. She must be mindful of the hours offered — temporary receptionists sometimes are required full-time until the company finds a replacement for a previous receptionist. In other companies, a temporary receptionist might need to work only part time, such as if the company's usual receptionist has to take her child for medical treatment one day a week for a few months. In either case, the temporary receptionist has to know what her time commitment and income will be so she can arrange her schedule and take other temporary work to meet expenses.

Receptionists must be able to multitask smoothly.
Receptionists must be able to multitask smoothly.

With some available positions at hand, an individual who wants to become a temporary receptionist next should tweak her resume to reflect both her education and experience. If the receptionist has any certifications that relate to office administration support or reception, she should list them on the resume. She also must contact former employers and gather permissions for including them within a reference list. At this point, the only tasks left to become a temporary receptionist are to submit formal applications and go to interviews if companies offer them.

If a person has trouble obtaining temporary reception work, one route to explore is going through a formal temp agency. These agencies match candidates with job openings. They take a percentage of the receptionist's pay in return for finding the work, but many people find that the percentage is reasonable given that the agency can prevent periods of unemployment.

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    • A temporary receptionist at a medical clinic may be required to know medical terminology.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      A temporary receptionist at a medical clinic may be required to know medical terminology.
    • Temporary receptionists in an office may schedule appointments for clients.
      By: JohnKwan
      Temporary receptionists in an office may schedule appointments for clients.
    • Receptionists need good typing skills to be successful.
      By: pressmaster
      Receptionists need good typing skills to be successful.
    • Receptionists must be able to multitask smoothly.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Receptionists must be able to multitask smoothly.