A first-class receptionist recognises the importance of creating a good first impression, and that is precisely what your Curriculum Vitae (CV) has to do if you have no experience, but know you have what it takes for the job. Writing a resume specifically tailored to the job for which you are applying turbo-charges your chances of convincing your potential employer that you are a perfect fit for that front-line chair in the company foyer. Showcasing transferable skills by introducing sections for skills and accomplishments in your resume will help you to achieve this.
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Qualities of a good receptionist
Friendliness, flexibility, the ability to cope under pressure, sensitivity towards customers’ needs, good organisational skills, and a flair for dealing with difficult situations with tact and diplomacy are just some of the qualities employers look for when hiring a receptionist. The key to getting your resume past the slush pile is to demonstrate that you possess these desirable skills, even if you don’t have relevant work experience. You can do this by giving examples of ways in which you put the same skills into action in your life and career, and by listing achievements that demonstrate you possess these skills in abundance.
Transferable skills are valued by employers across a range of job sectors. Before beginning your resume, make a list of skills garnered through your life, career, educational background and any voluntary work you participated in, then select the ones that best match those needed to work as a receptionist. If, for example, you have a customer service background, which enabled you to hone transferable communication and problem solving skills, accentuate this in the resume section listing your skills or previous work duties by, for example, stating that you regularly handled customer complaints in a sensitive and efficient manner. Someone who gains an insight into the needs of people facing physical and mental challenges through voluntary work, should emphasise this, because working as a receptionist will bring you into contact with people who have special needs.
Making words matter
Action verbs and mirroring keywords used by your prospective employer gets your resume noticed. If, for example, the company asks for a team player in the job advertisement, you should state that you are a team player and back it up with an example, such as helping to organise out of hours social activities. Begin sentences describing your skills and achievements with action verbs, such as liaised and negotiated, that suggest flexibility and the ability to work as part of a team.
Doing your homework
Conducting research on the company that advertised your dream job gives you an insight into its overall ethos, past achievements and the image it wants to present, and you can tailor your resume towards that. If, for example, you are applying for a job as a receptionist for a dynamic up-and-coming graphic design company, use dynamic action words and highlight arts-related study or work experience, because understanding your company’s ethos, its clients’ needs, and the services it provides is one of the hallmarks of an excellent receptionist.
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