How to perfect your receptionist CV

Receptionists are the first point of contact in any company, so they must represent and promote their employer's brand exceptionally well. There's no better way to get your customer service and reception skills across than by crafting a winning receptionist CV.

All frontline staff are considered to be the 'face' of an organisation. So, as a receptionist, you want to demonstrate that you're not only professional, but you care about people too.

Today people want to know that the companies they support are ethical and have heart. The days of cold, uncaring transacting are over, and receptionists are where everything starts.

If you're keen on getting an interview, your passion for service must shine through your receptionist CV.

This article shows you how best to highlight your skills and strengths with warmth and enthusiasm.  We also give you receptionist CV examples to see how it's done.

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Receptionist CV example

Receptionist CV example

Download this Receptionist cv example as a PDF

Looking at this receptionist CV template, you can see how Ava highlights her experience with years of experience in the summary. She also tells the reader that she's from the manufacturing industry and can work under pressure. Notably, Ava mentions customer care and service twice, indicating that that is where her focus lies. She chose the professional Stanford template in corporate blue, which can be used with or without a photo, to stand out. 

Compiling a winning receptionist duties CV requires upfront planning, so set some uninterrupted time aside.

Approach it as a project that gets what you have to offer on paper as accurately as possible, so the reader gets to know you by just scanning through it.

At the heart of every good tailored CV is a master CV, a comprehensive document covering all your education, skills, and working history.

The document must -

  • Flow, be logical and reader-friendly
  • Be plain black font on a white background
  • Be error-free with no spelling mistakes or bad formatting
  • Be well presented, uncluttered, well-spaced, organised and professional
  • Start with your most recent or current job and work backwards to your first job
  • List education and qualifications in the same way
  • Include both soft and hard skills
  • Include accurate reference details with each job or role

Take time and ensure that nothing gets left out because this CV forms the foundation of all future job applications. It can be as long as is necessary, so be detailed.

Include every job title, all responsibilities and any achievements in each role. Obviously, this will be time-consuming, but it's essential for future success.

While you're writing your master, make copies of all relevant qualifications, awards, letters of reference and anything else that matters. Save it all together in a secure file with your CV and keep it where you can access it easily.

Always proofread and edit your master carefully, so it's error-free. If possible, ask someone else to check it for errors as well. You don't want basic grammar errors putting readers off.

Include your receptionist skills

Skills for receptionist roles will vary from one industry to another, but core skills are required across the board.

Don't overlook anything when compiling your receptionist skills CV. List all your skills, soft and hard, even if you only used them for a short while or moved between industries. Soft skills may not be so apparent to you because you use them daily.

So for each role, take time to figure out what you do and which skills are necessary to do your job to the best of your abilities.

Here are some crucial soft skills needed by receptionists –

  • Adaptability: coping in varied and often rapidly changing situations
  • Empathy: understanding someone's emotions and point of view
  • Self-control: remaining calm and level-headed in the face of change and challenge
  • Patience: knowing when to wait, when to respond and when to take action
  • Effective listening: listening to understand and letting the speaker know they're heard
  • Positive language: using upbeat and reassuring talk to calm negativity and win customer confidence
  • Clear communication: relaying information in a straightforward and easy to understand manner
  • Taking responsibility: ensuring that problems get resolved, irrespective of who is at fault

Technical or hard skills will vary depending on the industry, but you will need –

  • Experience working with specific software programs
  • Knowledge of the company products and services
  • Knowledge of all employees and what department they work in
  • Awareness of who is in and out of office
  • Basic details on marketing promotions and offers

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Personal statement versus a profile summary

You don't need a personal statement for a receptionist CV, but you want to write a profile summary at the start of each tailored CV. Although you can write one summary and tweak it for several similar applications, it's best to rewrite the summary each time if there's any time-lapse.

Here are examples of summary statements at different levels of skills and competency. The bold text indicates pertinent info that immediately lets the reader know vital details before reading the rest of the CV.

Receptionist - profile summary example  - senior

Highly professional Senior Receptionist with over ten years of experience in corporate manufacturing. Proven ability to maintain operational efficiency while delivering an excellent customer experience in a fast-paced, high-volume environment. Resourceful, friendly and energetic, I work well under pressure and continually update my skills to remain at the cutting edge of customer service.

Receptionist - profile summary example - experienced

Competent and supportive Receptionist with five years of experience in a busy medical centre. Able to handle all aspects of patient administration and service with care and empathy. I thrive under pressure, and I am keen to grow my career in the medical sector.

Receptionist - profile summary example 3 – limited experience

Entry-level Junior Receptionist with ten months of experience in a busy hair and beauty salon. Experienced in making client appointments, recording cancellations, meeting, greeting and seating clients and printing invoices. I am an outgoing, professional, quick learner who is keen to progress my career.

What's the difference between a profile and a personal statement?

A profile summary is a brief statement included at the beginning of your CV, whereas a personal statement is a longer, separate motivation.

A profile summary is usually less than 100 words; a personal statement ranges from 500 to 1000 words.

Profile summaries can also be called – 'overview', 'professional summary', 'skills/qualification summary' or 'professional bio'.

Which one should I use?

Professional, management, executive and specialist roles benefit from a personal statement. They can be used for entry into graduate training programs and internships as well.

On the other hand, every CV benefits from a brief profile summary because it allows the reader insight into who you are before reading your CV.

That's why it's essential to take your time when you write both statements and that you write them specifically for each job. It's your opportunity to stand out from other receptionist CVs since all applicants have similar qualifications and work experience.

An optimistic, honest and informative profile summary or personal statement is your key to winning the first interview.

What must I say?

Even though a profile summary is short, it must still be relevant to the reader. Working from the job post and using your experience, include hard and soft skills, years of experience and any keywords you can identify. You want to match your summary with the employer's requirements as much as possible.

Keep these points in mind –

  • The job title
  • Highlight your knowledge
  • Include years of experience
  • Cover vital soft and hard skills
  • Match it to the employer's requirements

personal statement must contain the exact details as your profile summary but expanded to give broader information about your skills and experience. It also allows you to express vital info like why you’re in a specific career, would like to go into it, or why you’re thinking of changing careers.

Take the time to match your personal statement with the employer's requirements as much as possible too.

Whatever info you decide to include, keep both statements friendly, conversational and upbeat; it's the first impression prospective employers have of you.

How to use your master CV

Once your master CV is complete, you can apply for jobs quickly and be sure you won't omit any important details.

When you see a job you'd like to apply for, read through it very carefully, noting the main requirements. Often employers use keywords in the job description to parse applications.

Parsing is a way of sorting suitable applicants from the rest using keywords and scoring. If your CV for receptionist jobs ends up with the 'rest', you won't hear a word again other than a polite standard message of regret.

The best way to identify keywords in a job post is to sift through the job responsibilities for directly relating words. For example, you're a hotel receptionist, look for related job titles, such as guest house, bed and breakfast, holiday park or luxury lodge receptionist.

Keep in mind that companies might have different titles for receptionist jobs. Also, consider titles like front desk officer, information executive, and front desk attendant.

Your next step is to condense your master into a slick receptionist CV that gets through parsing software and immediately draws the reader's attention. You achieve this by extracting relevant and crucial info from your master and transferring it to a receptionist skills CV tailored for the specific job.

It's vital to know that recruiters and employers spend only seconds on each application before moving on because they're looking for exact information. If they don't see it, they don't read further.

Placing pertinent keywords in your application from the start keeps them reading. It also tells them that you read the job ad thoroughly and you're not a time-waster.

There are a few rules for tailored receptionist CVs –

  • Keep the same clear, concise black and white format of the master
  • Length matters, so don't exceed 2 to 3 pages
  • Make it relevant to the job only
  • Keep the language positive, proactive and easy to read
  • Check spelling, dates and sequence carefully
  • Don't include contact details of references; instead, say 'available on request'
  • Also, include the note – 'a detailed CV is available on request'

To sum it up

Getting your dream receptionist job is in your hands because, in life, we get out what we put in. Spending time upfront planning and compiling a master receptionist CV is investing in your future.

Here are the key points to writing a perfect receptionist skills CV –

  • Spend time crafting a comprehensive master CV
  • Save your master and all relevant documents in a secure file that's easily accessible
  • Read job posts carefully and pick up keywords
  • Compile a summary CV from your master using only info that's relevant to the job
  • Write an upbeat personal summary into the CV focusing on the job requirements

When you send your application –

  • Always send your tailored CV and covering letter in pdf format
  • Don't send any other documents unless  specified as essential
  • Check that your contact details are easy to find on the CV
  • Don't include references with an initial application

Receptionist CV FAQs

Are you're interested in a career as a receptionist or thinking of a career change in that direction?

We answer some of your most pressing concerns -

What is a master receptionist CV, and how do I use it?

A master CV for receptionists is a compilation of your highest level of schooling, further education and on to your first job through to your current, or most recent, employment.

Why do a master receptionist skills CV?

Ultimately, to save time and present yourself in the best way possible every time. Once you have all the info accurately in one place from start to end, you don't ever have to do it again. And all that's required is to update it annually.

When must I include reference details?

Only once the recruiter or employer has made contact with you and requested reference details. Don't ever include reference details when you initially respond to a job post.

If the recruiter gets back to you for a screening interview, they may ask for references, but if they don't, just leave it. Your application might be unsuccessful at this stage, or the interviewer can prefer to take references in the final hiring stages.

Including reference details upfront puts both you and the referee at risk.

Firstly, you're sharing someone's personal details with people you know nothing about. This leaves the referee at risk if their details get into the wrong hands.

Secondly, unscrupulous recruiters may contact the referee first before they contact you. Although this is an unfair practice, if you gave them the details, you can do little.

Finally, if a referee is surprised by a call they're not expecting, they might not take it or not recall all your details and give a weak sounding reference.

When you're job hunting, it's always best to contact your referees beforehand and remind them that they'd agree to provide employment references for you. When a few years have passed, it can be difficult to remember dates, job responsibilities and other crucial details.

Giving a past employer a heads up ensures that they're still willing and available to provide a reference. It helps ensure that all your references are confirmed and promotes your skills and abilities accurately too.

Should I include hobbies and interests on my CV?

If including hobbies and interests in a CV or personal statement, only mention those relevant to the job. Avoid irrelevant memberships and personal achievements as well.

Remember that recruiters and employers are pressed for time and won't read anything immaterial. Hobbies and interests are excellent for our health and well-being but don't include them unless they relate to the job.

A great example of a relevant interest if you're applying for a receptionist job would be debating and public speaking as a member of Toastmasters International.

What education do I need?

You need a high school certificate for all receptionist roles and potentially a higher level of study, depending on the employer.

Do I need additional skills?

High school education is enough for most entry-level receptionist roles, and many companies are willing to train receptionists on the job.

However, some computer literacy is required, and a willingness to improve your computer and communication skills.

There are various receptionist training courses available that offer different levels of skills and training. Many can get completed online.

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Are there different fields of speciality?

Every business with customers' needs a friendly voice to greet customers over the phone and a welcoming personality to meet them when they visit.

Different industries need certain kinds of personalities, though.

For example, a medical receptionist CV needs to be caring and have plenty of empathy. While for hotel CV receptionists must be professionally friendly. The beauty, music and entertainment industries, on the other hand, want vibey and proficient receptionists.

Specialising in an industry means that you have greater product knowledge and understand your customers' needs better. Also, you might be more productive in an industry that aligns with your personality and interests. It's not, however, necessary to specialise if you're adaptable.

If you want to become a top-earning receptionist, focus on your customer service skills, communication, professionalism and efficiency.

Is there career progression?

Receptionist roles start with entry-level support positions that progress to receptionists who handle the reception area independently.

Depending on the industry and whether you have, or are willing to, gain additional skills and qualifications, you could progress to a secretary, personal assistant or public relations officer.

How do I get started?

Before you do anything, compile a receptionist CV master so that you waste no time applying for jobs when you see relevant posts.

If you've just completed school or are thinking of a career change, approach larger businesses directly because they're more inclined to offer training, or else apply to job posts.

Although a personal statement isn't usually a requirement for this kind of role, it can be a good idea to motivate your career choice when you have little or no experience.

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